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Wild Places and Greenspaces of Gosport

Wild Flowers and Wildlife in Gosport Hampshire, UK

Alver Wood    Alver Valley    Browndown Common    Browndown SSSI (Ranges)    Carter's Copse    Gilkicker Point    Rowner Copse    Wildgrounds

Much of the accessible greenspace (or open space) in Gosport is situated along the valley of the River Alver and many of the sites and areas mentioned here have boundaries along or near to the river. These areas, together with the reedbed associated with the River Alver, form a more or less continuous belt of natural and semi-natural habitats. Hopefully, the value of these remaining areas are more appreciated now than they have been in the past, and they will remain as havens for flora, fauna and people for many years to come.

Alver Wood

This is a small linear area of woodland running beside the River Alver and situated between Lee-on-the-Solent golf course and Rowner just southwest of the B3334 (Rowner Road).

Alver Valley

image link: Alver Valley
Alver Valley view with Broom (Cytisus scoparius) in flower, 24-Apr-2014

image link: River Alver. Link to Alver Valley page
Reed beds along the River Alver, Gosport, 31-May-2009

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Browndown Common

Browndown Common is a military training area and access may be restricted during excercises.

Browndown Common is a SINC, and a Heritage Site with large areas of heathland, grassland and scrub with some fen-carr, woodland and reedbeds.

image: Browndown Common. Link to Browndown Common web page
Browndown Common, view along track on west side.
Gosport, Hampshire, UK, 03-Dec-2009
image: Browndown Common
▶ Browndown Common
heathland view
Gosport, 19-Sep-2014
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Browndown SSSI

The SSSI is a military training area and, when the red flags are flying, access is restricted.

image: Browndown Ranges. Link to Browndown SSSI web page
View of Browndown SSSI (Ranges), coastal heathland,
Gosport, Hampshire, UK, 12-Aug-2007.
image: Browndown Ranges
View of coastal heathland and shingle,
Browndown Ranges, 12-Aug-2007.

Browndown SSSI, aka Browndown Ranges, is situated just east of Lee-on-the-Solent, on the north shore of the Solent (opposite the Isle of Wight) south of the B3333. I have enjoyed many happy hours either just walking or recording the varied flora and fauna on the site. There are car parks at both the west and eastern ends of the SSSI, giving reasonably easy access to the site.

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Carter's Copse

A small area of woodland with ponds and Alder carr in the damper areas, and more typical woodland and clearings in the drier parts.
In the summer and autumn, the ferns and sedges Carex will provide some greenery, and there are plenty of fungi to find if you care to look for them.


Gosport's Coastline

A walk around the coastline of Gosport will reveal hidden flora and fauna. To the south the vegetated shingle shores along The Solent, particularly at Gilkicker (see Gilkicker Point below), Stokes Bay, Browndown and Lee-on-the-Solent have improved enormously in the last decade since beach replenishment was carried out. Prior to the replenishment most of the beaches had eroded and had little or no vegetation. Gilkicker, Stokes Bay and Browndown also have open green spaces and/or wildlife sites adjacent or close by.

image: Stokes Bay view
Stokes Bay vegetated shingle shore
Gosport, Hampshire, UK, 04-Jun-2016.

image: Lee-on-the-Solent-view
Lee-on-the-Solent vegetated shingle shore
Gosport, Hampshire, UK, 22-Jul-2011.

The creeks (or Lakes as Ordnance Survey calls them) adjoining Portsmouth Harbour on the east side of Gosport also have some interest to the nature lover. The shores of Stoke Lake have areas of saltmarsh, particularly the upper reaches and the area adjacent to Gosport Park. The areas around Workhouse Lake and Haslar Lake are fairly urbanised but can reveal surprises. The eastern shoreline from the Millenium Bridge over Forton Lake, past Priddy's Hard, to Monk's Walk in Elson has a quiet promenade walk which reveals some mudflats at low tide, and at Monk's Walk there is the added interest of a small woodland area and some saltmarsh.

Adjacent to the north shore of Forton Lake there are several open greenspaces, and a surfaced walk/cycleway from Grove Road Recreation Area to Priddy's Hard passes a conservation area with grazed saltmarsh and a second area of recreational grassland before joining the promenade walk, mentioned above, at Priddy's Hard.

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Gilkicker Point

Just to the east of the popular Stokes Bay beach area and a mile or so east of Browndown Ranges, is Gilkicker Point, a Countryside Heritage Site with a Scheduled Ancient Monument, Fort Gilkicker, and Gilkicker Lagoon which is a SSSI site. There are also some very interesting brackish hollows, small amounts of native coastal grassland, and a brackish meadow area. The flora and fauna of these areas, coupled with the known interesting flora and fauna of the shingle beach make this area worthy of proper recognition and protection of its value as a nature conservation area. Gilkicker is where the rare Gilkicker Weevil (Pachytychius haematocephalus) can be found, as well as Slender Hare's-ear (Bupleurum tenuissimum) - a very small member of the Carrot (Apiaceae) family - seen recently (2007) in good numbers in two new spots.

image: Gilkicker Lagoon
Gilkicker Lagoon from Fort Gilkicker
Gosport, Hampshire, UK, 21-Sep-2007.

image: Gilkicker Point
Gilkicker from Fort Gilkicker showing acid grassland, scrub and shore
Gosport, Hampshire, UK, 21-Sep-2007.


Rowner Copse

image: Rowner Copse. Link to Rowner Copse page image: Rowner Copse. Link to Rowner Copse web page image: Rowner Copse. Link to Rowner Copse web page image: Rowner Copse. Link to Rowner Copse web page
Rowner Copse in Feb (2009); Mar (2007); Apr (2008); & Nov (2011).

A genuine 'bluebell wood', part of which was recently lost to housing. April-May is a good time to visit this little treasure, when the bluebellls are at the height of their splendour. You can also find Wood Anemone aka Windflower (white, and pink-flowered forms), King-cup and Stitchwort.
In the autumn and winter, the ferns and Butcher's-broom will provide some greenery, and there are plenty of fungi to find if you keep your eyes open.


Wildgrounds

We do not have a great deal of woodland in Gosport but the Wildgrounds (SSSI) is an area of ancient woodland which slopes down toward the reedbed along the Alver Valley, there is also Carter's Copse, which has an area of alder carr in it, and always has something of interest. With the former gravel pit area now open to the public, along with the fishing lake there is new ground to be explored within the Alver Valley.

The Wildgrounds SSSI is situated in the Alver Valley (see below), and is 'wildwood' or 'Ancient Woodland'. It is the biggest area of woodland in Gosport, and has a great variety of flora, many of which are typically associated with ancient woodland: Bluebell, Butcher's-Broom, Dog-rose, Red- and Black- currant, as well as plenty of oak, birch, sedges and ferns. Unfortunately you have to pay for a ticket to access this area.

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