At just four hectares (ten acres), this oasis of green sits nestled between housing on two sides of its boundary, and Cressex Industrial Estate. It truly is a haven for wildlife and is used by many local people to walk their dogs, take a leisurely stroll, listen and watch wildlife or to simply enjoy the tranquillity of the reserve.
Best time to visit
This site is interesting all through the year. Spring starts with the treat of lesser celandines, sweet woodruff, wood anemones and bluebells in the hawthorn woodland and other wooded areas of the site. The blackthorn is full of blossom and the promise of sloes later in the year.
At the same time, and perhaps even earlier, violets of which there are four species here: common-dog, early-dog, sweet and hairy can be found. As can primroses and cowslips which emerge in the chalk grassland glades and rides.
In the summer, the site is alive with birds including the seasonal visitors from Africa – chiffchaff, blackcap, swallow, house martin and swift which can all be seen and heard.
Invertebrates such as bees and butterflies including the brown argus and gatekeeper are found in abundance, taking nectar from the many flowers. Common rock-rose, pyramidal orchid and the vetches knapweed bloom in the chalk grassland.
In winter, the site is different yet again, and an early morning visit following overnight rain or after snowfall can reveal the tracks and scents of some of the creatures that either live on or pass through the reserve. The red stemmed dogwood provides a welcome splash of colour at this time of year.
Wildlife in the area
Bullfinches amongst many other birds can be heard and seen year round and ring-necked parakeets have even been known to visit the site. Red kites can often be seen passing overhead, sometimes accompanied by a buzzard or two. Muntjac deer, foxes and badgers may occasionally be spotted, or smelt, so keep your eyes peeled for their tracks on the footpaths. An abundance of mini-beasts can be found under logs, hopping though the grass or at rest on leaves, grass and bark. Slow-worms and common lizards can often be seen basking in the heat of the midday sun on bare ground or on the tops of ant hills amongst the chalk grassland.
This really is a lovely place to visit so why not come along to one of our events or even join us at one of our work parties. Note that the main entrance to the LNR is by the five-bar gate off McLellan Place, Chairborough, HP12 3UL (Grid Ref: SU847924).