Location:Magdalen Hill Down, Near Winchester, SO21 1HD. OS Explorer 132 Grid Ref SU505292
When: Saturday 21st July
Where: Magdalen Hill Down, Near Winchester, SO21 1HD. OS Explorer 132 Grid Ref SU505292
Task: Ragwort clearance
Client: Butterfly Conservation
Leader: Karen Minett
Formerly the site of Winchester’s ancient fair, this steep, south facing chalk hillside was open Downland fifty years ago. When Butterfly Conservation took over in 1989 more than half the site had been heavily invaded by scrub.
Much scrub clearance has now taken place, and grazing has been reintroduced. The surviving Downland plants such as common rock-rose, chalk milkwort, clustered bellflower and horse-shoe and kidney vetch have benefited greatly. Butterfly numbers have also improved with notable species such as green hairstreak, marbled white and chalkhill blue increasing in numbers. Some scrub has been retained for shelter and as a valuable nectar source.
An adjacent area to the east was acquired in 1995 and sown with native grasses and wild flowers in 1997. The area is becoming well established and is a real haven for butterflies. In 2003 the first self-sown orchids were found.
This weekend we will be carrying out a variety of tasks to help maintain and mange the site for its butterflies. The majority of the work though will be cutting and burning.
Meet at 10am at the field gate next to the masonic lodge opposite St Swithun's school on the B3404 Alresford Road. This is about one and half a mile west of the Percy Hobbs roundabout on the A31.