'With more woodlands and commons than anywhere else inHampshire ....'
‘With woodland and common areas like these, you cannot do anything else but enjoy every moment you spend exploring their beautiful surroundings and having magical times spent playing with the children’.
Hightown / West End
Netley Common - Parking: Opposite Netley Firs Close, Kanes Hill.
Open heathland and woodland on the outskirts of Southampton. A small remnant of a habitat now rare in this part of Hampshire.
Telegraph Woods - Parking: Lay-bys on Telegraph Road or Moorhill Road.
This beautiful area of woodland features Douglas firs and sweet chestnut coppice as well as patches of heathland, a variety of habitats and a rich diversity of plants and animals. Roe deer which inhabit the wood can sometimes be seen feeding in the surrounding fields. Near the Telegraph Road entrance to the wood, the remains of an Armada beacon can still be seen, marked by a perfectly circular bank. Further west is the site of an Iron Age Fort dating back to 600BC. With its waymarked paths, picnic tables and spectacular views, Telegraph Woods is a lovely place to spend time.
Westwood Woodland Park - Parking: Weston Shore, Southampton.
To the west of Hound at the boarder with Southampton, there is the ancient woodland known as Westwood. These 150 acres of woodland have streamside walks, rolling grassland slopes and extensive views. There are two way marked trails for walkers and one cycle route. A number of benches provide excellent vantage points and a small picnic site is located at the base of the Mound. From here you may see some unusual animals high up in the trees. The site is ideal for quiet recreational activities such as walking, cycling, bird watching, painting, kite flying, picnicking horse riding etc. This expanse of woodland follows the Southampton Water and boarders onto the ruins of Netley Abbey. The site includes historic water conduits which were once used by the monks of Netley as fishponds.
Spear Pond Wood – Parking: Hound Road and Victoria Road at The Hard.
Small area of woodland which once formed part of the entrance to the original Royal Victoria Military Hospital, now the Royal Victoria Country Park. (N) Access from Hound Road, by the entrance next to Hound Lodge. (S) Past Sophie’s Pond and Southampton Lodge, at the entrance on Victoria Road, and turn left. Well worth a visit.
St Mary’s Wood - Parking: St Mary’s Road.
St Mary’s Wood is situated between Hound Way and St Mary’s Road, opposite The Bunney and is owned by Hampshire County Council. Towards the end of the 19th century the site was worked as a clay quarry. When digging stopped, the site became a tip for the old hospital and the village. The abundance of cow wheat under the trees highlights that the site was originally an old established woodland. More recently, silver birch, a coloniser of new woodlands has dominated the site. There is evidence today of the workings carried out there. Walks throughout the woodland will show shards of broken glass and pottery, which have now risen to the surface. Some paths are along ridges, either side of which has been dug away. The ups and downs make for a marvellous walk or bike ride.
Hound Corner Ecology Park - Parking: Hound Cemetery lay-by on Hound Road.
This park was developed with the help of local volunteers from what was derelict land. The site contains an established wildflower meadow, a pond which is home to smooth newts and a butterfly garden. During the spring, migrating nightingales have been heard singing from deep within the scrub along with the many common birds which visit the site.
The Bunney – Parking: St Mary’s Road.
Is a narrow, long strip of historic woodland in the valley separating Netley from Butlocks Heath. The southern part of the site is thought to have formed part of a Victorian garden once part of the Victorian Ingleside Estate, which accounts for the occurrence of exotic species such as rhododendron, Monterey pine and bamboo. Whilst walking through The Bunney you are likely to hear several species of woodland bird such as Jays, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Robins.
Priors Hill Copse – Parking: The Grove or Hound Parish Hall.
Priors Hill Copse is located at the north of Butlocks Heath and the south of Old Netley, within Hound Parish and can be accessed via The Grove in Butlocks Heath.Hound Parish Council owns 3.88 hectares of the Copse, the remainder being shared by private owners and the Castle Angling Club, which owns the section including the Reservoir. Priors Hill Copse is designated as an ancient semi-natural woodland and a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation. (SINC).
Friends of Priors Hill Copse
The aim of the group is to reverse the decline of the copse and ensure its survival for future generations. To create a window in time to show how the copse was managed in the past.
Westfield Common - Parking: Areas along the common.
This small linear site features a short clifftop walk (Hamble Cliff). In spring, flowers carpet the site, whilst several species of butterfly can be seen here throughout the summer months. A special feature of the site is the World War 2 pill box which looks out over the Southampton Water.
Hamble Common and Copse - Parking: Hamble Point and School Lane.
Is 55 acres of coastal heath and the area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of its wide range of habitats including coastal heath, woodland, saltmarsh and mudflats. Hamble Common is one of the few remaining coastal heathland sites in Hampshire. It is managed by the Countryside Service of Eastleigh Borough Council at the end of the Hamble Peninsula.There are waymarked walks with information boards to help you understand and identify the history, habitat and wildlife of the area.
Other features of interest include a Second World War Bofors anti-aircraft gun and remains of a Napoleonic gun battery, Tudor castle and Iron-age settlements. This has led to much of the common being a designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument.Coastal heathland like this is very rare in Hampshire now so fenced areas are grazed by cattle to stop bushes and bracken from invading.
Many coastal birds like shelduck, oystercatchers and ringed plovers visit the area making it an ideal spot for photographers.There are activities here throughout the year so keep an eye on the events page for more information.