Old Winchester Hill National Nature Reserve
Old Winchester Hill NNR is a hot spot for the chalk hill blue butterfly, with many hundreds, if not thousands, visible on peak days at the beginning of August. In all, 37 species of butterfly have been recorded on the site. Less common examples include the silver spotted skipper, dark green fritillary and Duke of Burgundy. A wide range of classic chalk grassland plants such as wild thyme, squinancy wort, clustered bellflower, salad burnet, horseshoe vetch and restharrow, can be found throughout the spring and summer. Less common species include round-headed rampion and field fleawort. The reserve is a good place to encounter many declining farmland birds such as linnet, yellowhammer and corn bunting. Raptors such as the red kite, buzzard and kestrel can also be seen, as well as summer migrants like whitethroats, willow warblers and blackcaps. Passing visitors including the wheatear and the ring ouzel. The site is also important for archaeology, with prominent Bronze Age burial mounds and the ramparts of a well-preserved Iron Age hillfort.
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About The area
Hampshire’s varied landscape of hills and heaths, downlands and forests, valleys and coast is without rival in southern England. Combine these varied landscapes and terrains with secluded and idyllic villages, complete with thatched and timber-framed cottages and Norman churches, elegant Georgian market towns, historic ports and cities, restored canals and ancient abbeys, forts and castles, and you have a county that is paradise for lovers of the great outdoors.
If you’re a walker, stride out across the high, rolling, chalk downland of the north Hampshire ‘highlands’ with far-reaching views, walk through steep, beech-clad ‘hangers’ close to the Sussex border. Or perhaps take a gentler stroll and meander along peaceful paths through unspoilt river valleys, etched by the sparkling trout streams of the Test, Itchen, Avon and Meon. Alternatively, wander across lonely salt marshes and beside fascinating coastal inlets or, perhaps, explore the beautiful medieval forest and heathland of the New Forest, the jewel in Hampshire’s crown.
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