Foxlease Meadows and Ancells Farm

Between Fleet and Cove
OS Map 186
Grid Refs. SU832560 (Bramshot Lane for Foxlease Meadows South); SU832572 (Foxlease Meadows North); SU824557 (Ancells Farm)
Client: Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust

Foxlease Meadows

This is a complicated area, both in gaining access and in understanding where it all is.
Foxlease Meadows make up part of the Minley Manor Ministry of Defence training area and are part of the Foxlease and Ancells Meadows Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). From 2003, the Wildlife Trust has had a management agreement with Hampshire County Council for about 30 hectares of land south of the M3. 5.48 hectares of this land are classed as SSSI. This is the area we have usually worked on, and is what we should now call Foxlease Meadows South. Major tree-felling in this area is now complete.
Foxlease Meadows North is north of the M3. HIWWT has taken on the management of this area on behalf of the MOD. About 46 hectares are SSSI, in various separate parts.

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Here's a fine batch of photos from Mark. We cut down a lot of alder regrowth in 2016 but weren't allowed to burn it as the smoke would have blanked out the M3. So there was much dragging in preparation for removal by tractor and trailer to a safer bonfire site.

Ancells Farm

The trust's Ancells Farm Reserve lies near the western end of the holding. Grazing animals are an essential part of the reserve's management, but there are times of the year when grazing is not desirable. The non-SSSI meadows in this area and at Foxlease Meadows provide valuable adjacent "lay-back" land.



There are a variety of habitats, which support a range of flora and fauna. Most of the site is species rich, damp acid grassland with plants such as Sneezewort and Devilsbit Scabious. Foxlease Meadows are the best example of this type of habitat in north Hampshire, and was the last stronghold for the Marsh Fritillary butterfly in north-east Hampshire. There are also areas of wet heath, which form a mosaic with mire communities in the wetter areas.
The high structural and biological diversity are probably due to the site's history of light grazing and lack of agricultural improvement. Over 240 species of plant have been recorded, together with many invertebrate species.

In December we will be clearing encroaching scrub at Foxlease Meadows North that is threatening an area of meadow.

Directions for Foxlease Meadows North

Meet at 10am at the King George V Cottages on Minley Road. From Junction 4a on the M3 head north on the A327 Minley Road. The King George V Cottages are about 100 metres past the Crown and Cushion Pub on the left hand side. Look out for our yellow signs.

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