by Cliff Oakley
Oakley, together with wife Jill, started the Petersfield
Wildlife Group several years ago, and it is flourishing.
If you wish to join, please ring 01730 266392 or just
turn up at one of their walks. Membership is a fiver
a year, there is an artistically produced newsletter,
and you may borrow books, tapes, a moth trap, bat
detector etc. You are not required to live in Petersfield,
passports are rarely checked, and most walks are conducted
at sites in Hampshire and West Sussex according to
the seasons, and what is likely to be seen. They also
organise annual trips for up to a week to birdwatching
hotspots, such as Cornwall, Yorkshire or Norfolk.
As with all of these organisations, you do not need
to be an expert, just love the natural world.
has the most varied habitat and geology for its size,
than anywhere in the UK. It is rich in flora, fauna,
landscape and scenery.
(For those interested, here from Jill, is the geology
solid strata of East Hampshire consists mainly of
Upper Greensand and Gault Clay, Lower Greensand and
Chalk. The main Landscape Character Areas
are the Hampshire Downs, South Hampshire Downs, Western
Weald Lowland and Heath, and South Hampshire Lowland
landscape types of East Hampshire include
Chalk and Clay; Clay Plateau; Pasture (Hangers Associated);
Scarps (called Hangers); Heath Associated Pasture
and Woodland; Heathland and Forest; Mixed Farmland
and Woodland; Downland Scarps; Horticulture and Smallholdings;
Urban Areas; Open Arable on Greensand and Hangers
following parishes make up the district of East Hampshire:
Castle, Horndean, Clanfield, Buriton, East Meon, Langrish,
Stroud, Petersfield, Steep, Froxfield, Liss, Hawkley,
Colemore and Priors Dean, Greatham. Whitehill, Lindford,
Bramshott and Liphook, Lindford, Headley, West Tisted,
East Tisted, Ropley, Four Marks, Newton Valence, Selborne,
Farringdon, Medstead, Chawton, Worldham, Kingsley,
Beech, Wield, Bentworth, Alton, Binstead, Bentley,
Froyle, Shalden and Lasham.
its area, East Hampshire has the most diverse and
varied habitats in the country, this is due to the
following website contains some useful information.
Allen's soil and water pages www.soilandwater.co.uk/index.php?id=2&click=0
are a few walks from Cliff that you may wish to try.
Noar Hill alone is renowned for its orchids, 100,000
Cowslips, Duke of Burgundy Butterflies, its historic
chalk pits, and the association with Gilbert White,
of Selbourne, considered as being second only to Darwin
in historical influence in observing and noting wildlife.
Walk 1: Foley Manor and Folly Pond - Explorer
map 133, Haslemere & Petersfield is recommended.
is a varied and easy walk, that will lead you through
a range of habitats and, given good weather conditions,
will produce many plant, bird, butterfly and dragonfly
species, depending on the season. There are no stiles
and no steep hills, but there may be one or two wet
patches following heavy rain.
on the verge just past the Deer’s Hut at SU
the path that goes through the woods at Holly Hills,
and continue through the heathland, roughly following
the overhead electric cables. There are Stonechats
and Dartford Warblers on the heathland during spring
and summer and Cuckoos frequently sit on the electricity
cables. Take a path on the left that passes between
Reedy Copse and Forest Mere - this area has Marsh
Tits all year and Redstarts in summer. (If this path
is very wet, return to the heathland and take the
path which runs west of Forest Mere until you come
to a main junction, then turn left and follow the
path along the south of Folly pond past Heath Patch
until you rejoin the planned route). After Reedy Copse,
turn left when you reach the Forest Mere road, checking
Folly Pond where Tufted Ducks nest and Herons and
Grebes are common. Next, take the path on the right
just after leaving the pond until just before you
reach the entrance to Home Farm. Turn left and keep
left until you join the Forest Mere road after about
This section of woodland often has Great Spotted and
Green Woodpeckers. Just before the road crosses the
railway line, take the path on the left and follow
it close to the edge of Liphook Golf Course. The scrubby
woodland here is excellent for Whitethroats and other
small summer migrants. When you come to a tarmac road,
turn left again and follow the road past Folly Manor.
The ponds here are worth checking for nesting Mandarins
and Little Grebes, and abounds with Dragonflies in
Follow the signposted path through
the buildings of Folly Manor and continue until you
reach Holly Hills woods again. The path on the right
will then take you back to the Deer’s Hut.
places in the area you may like to explore are:
Common: Park in the car park at SU 853220
and explore the Common. Dartford warblers, Nightjars
and woodcock are plentiful, together with a good range
of other heathland birds. A warm sunny day in June
will bring out thousands of Silver Studded Blue Butterflies
whilst Adders are common, but secretive.
Hill: Park by the verge at SU 737322 and
walk up the track next to Charity Farm; take the footpath
on the left then explore the area, which is a reserve
of Hampshire Wildlife Trust. Specialities include
Duke of Burgundy and Brown Hairstreak Butterflies
plus several orchid species. Birds include Turtle
Common: Park alongside the rough road at
SU 813285 and explore the Common. The various habitats
support many small birds, butterflies and flowers
and there are numerous dragonflies near the pond.
An early morning visit in autumn may produce several
Station Meadow: Park in the railway station
car park at SU 793431. Cross the railway line and
follow the path for about 50 yards, then enter the
reserve through the gate on the right. This is a reserve
of Butterfly Conservation and the many butterfly species
include Purple Emperor, Purple Hairstreak and White
then are just a few of the many scenic walks in this
rich corner of Hampshire.