Grid Ref SU492052
Client: Hampshire County Council, Countryside Service
Hook with Warsash Local Nature Reserve, which includes Wendleholme is over 500 acres at the mouth of the river Hamble, with a shoreline almost 3 miles long. There are a variety of habitats of which some are regionally rare and declining. The foreshore and intertidal areas provide an important winter feeding ground for many species of wading birds and wildfowl including Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwits, Viewing is best from about 2½ hours before high tide. The curving Hook Spit is regularly used by roosting Turnstones as well as by a few pairs of breeding Ringed Plovers, but these shingle zones are most interesting for their plant species such as Sea Kale, Sea Beet, Yellow-horned Poppy, Sea Campion, Sea Sandwort and Sand Couch Grass.
The areas of grassland and scrub on Hook Links support a variety of breeding birds including Linnets, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks and the occasional pair of Stonechats. Hook Links is a good area for migrants. Dartford and other Warblers, and flycatchers often visit in autumn. In the wettest areas brackish plant species such as Divided Sedge, Glaucous Bulrush and Sea Clubrush can be found. The improved grassland above the links is relatively poor in plant species but it is here that feeding flocks of Lapwings, Curlew and Brent Geese occur from late autumn and through winter.
At Hook Lake all stages in the process of natural succession from open water to mature woodland can be seen. The reedbeds support numerous pairs of breeding Reed Warblers and Reed Buntings and some Cetti's Warblers, whilst on or over the nearby open water Herons, Teal, Coots, Little Grebes and Kingfishers may be seen. As reedbed gives way to Alder carr and then to mature Oak and Beech so almost all the typical woodland birds are found, including Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs, Nuthatches, Willow Warblers and three Woodpecker species.
The foreshore and intertidal areas provide an important winter feeding ground for many species of wading birds and wildfowl including Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwits, Oystercatchers, Redshanks, Shelduck and Brent Geese. Viewing is best from about 2½ hours before high tide.
This seemed like Mission Impossible at first but two days work made a pretty good impression on the Rhododendron which has engulfed the site. There was lots of very positive interaction with the locals on the footpath.
On another part of the site was a task to build up your arm muscles, at least in the morning. After lunch we surveyed the reserve for anything that the new management might want to know about.
In December we will be clearing invasive scrub that is threatening to smother the open areas so important for a variety of wildlife.
Meet at 10am at the end of Newtown Road/Hook Park Road, Warsash (SO31 9GX). From the A27 at Sarisbury turn south onto Barnes Lane for Warsash. Go straight across the roundabout in the centre of the village into Newtown Road. Just after the big brick buildings of Warsash Maritime Academy pull into the gateway on the right. Look out for our yellow HCV signs.