ampic.jpg Alverstone Mead
Warden:   Terry Guildford
map ref:   SZ580855
bus route: 23  (Alverstone)
footpaths:  NC17, NC38, SS47, cycleway

The water meadows adjacent to the eastern Yar are largely a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) with scarce and interesting wetland flower species and invertebrates, especially dragonflies. The meadows with their old ditch drainage systems are hunted by barn owls, kingfishers and herons, with other wintering wildfowl, eg snipe and teal. The Fund's objectives are to preserve and enhance the wildlife of these meadows by careful control of water levels, combined with traditional, chemical-free summer grazing by farm animals. Amongst the tasks carried out by our volunteers here is willow removal to keep the wet meadows' open aspect for wetland flora and water voles.
There is a hay meadow with wild flowers, including yellow rattle and marsh orchids. This meadow is managed for a late (August) hay crop, with aftermath grazing in the late autumn. Hedge planting and laying is carried out on this and the one other drier meadow.

The woodland is of two types: firstly wet willow and alder carr with ferns, sedges, marsh marigolds and other wetland flora; secondly oak, hazel and cherry on the higher slope known as Borthwood Lynch. The fauna of these woods is rich and varied, including woodcock, water rail, wood crickets, dormice, white admiral butterflies and woodpeckers. Coppicing is practised where possible. Our two storey hide with disabled facilities provided good views of the woodland and marsh fauna but has unfortunately been vandalised too badly to repair.  We hope to replace it, but this will depend on funds and personnel.

As well as many field tasks, our two teams of volunteers also manufacture from recycled wood, nest boxes and feeders of all sizes on site. These are purchased by other groups and individuals, including schools, as well as being used on our WNF reserves.

Access is via footpath NC17 off Alverstone Road, footpath NC38 off the cycleway (see map above), and bridleway SS47 from Sandown. A nature trail 'Alverstone Mead Trail of Discovery' (see Trail leaflet)  traverses a loop around the site for approximately 1.5 km.
Please Note: Burnthouse Lane is closed to cars other than residents or blue badge holders.  Parking in the area is very limited and cannot be guaranteed.  Come by bus, bicycle or on foot.

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