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Warsash Common (local nature reserve)

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Wildlife Interest | Informal Recreation | Walking to Health | Management Plan | Directions to Warsash Common |

Wildlife interest

The common is a mosaic of habitat types. There are four significant areas of grassland on the site, all of which are managed for conservation and enhancement. The grasslands are awash with colour in the summer months, with ox-eye daisy, bird's-foot-trefoil, yellow fleabane, a variety of vetches and visually striking knapweed. You can also see an array of insect activity with butterflies, bees, grasshoppers and crickets. Green woodpeckers feed on anthills and reptiles such as adders and common lizards bask in open areas. The surrounding dense scrub provides nesting sites for songbirds and shelter for small mammals.

Much of the site consists of young semi-natural woodland, including silver birch, grey willow, goat willow, oak trees and a variety of less frequent species. The ground floor has shade tolerant plant species such as mosses and ferns and the site is also excellent for fungi. Many insects, birds and mammals derive their food from the plentiful source of bramble and honeysuckle. The varied tree structure provides an excellent food source for caterpillars, moths and butterflies which in turn provide food for birds such as wrens, robins and warblers. The sunny rides and woodland edges appeal to such colourful spectacles as brimstone, speckled wood and gatekeeper butterflies. The woodlands also support badgers, fox and deer, frequently seen at dawn and dusk.

Other woodland on the common is ancient semi-natural wet woodland which is found in the stream valleys that flow to Hook Lake to the south of the site. Large alders in the marshy valley bottom dominate the canopy. Remote sedge and lady fern are frequent ground plants and damp autumn conditions encourage an abundance of fungi. The woodland to the north of the site is younger and most trees are grey willow and downy birch. High humidity brings about the growth of bryophytes and waterlogged deadwood provides niche habitat for many invertebrates including beetles and craneflies. Wet woodland is considered a national priority habitat under the Habitats Directive and needs sensitive management.

The common has a number of seasonal ponds, wet hollows and two streams which support a variety of aquatic invertebrates as well as providing breeding sites for amphibians and feeding stations for birds such as kingfisher and little egret. Dibles pond is the best known of these seasonal ponds and is frequented by newts, frogs, toads, grass snake, colourful dragonflies and damselflies and aquatic invertebrates such as water boatman, water beetles and pond skaters. The Pipistrelle bat is a night time visitor. A dramatic loss of ponds from the UK countryside over the past century makes conservation and management of remaining ponds a top priority for us. You can see the aquatic plant list for Dibles Pond and entomology survey results for Warsash Common.

The aquatic plant list for Dibles Pond PDF (578 KB) and the entomology survey results for Warsash Common PDF (6 MB) are available for viewing.

Informal recreation

Warsash Common is a natural open space for visitors to explore and enjoy and is popular with walkers, dog exercisers, families, runners, cyclists and horse riders (on designated formal tracks). It has a number of seats as well as interpretation boards to provide visitors with a range of information. It is a colourful place to visit across the four seasons as featured in this slideshow.

Walking and Learning

There are a series of fifteen self guided walks around Fareham. The walk at Warsash Common includes the tree trail and the poetry path which has been designed to give people of all ages the chance to enjoy this unique site whilst learning about twelve of our native trees and enjoying poems composed by local pupils and residents. This walk is approximately 1.5km in length and should take between one hour to one and a half hours to complete. The terrain varies significantly but on the whole the paths are passible throughout the year.

Management Plan

management plan for Warsash Common PDF (1 MB) is now in place covering the period of 2020-2025. This plan outlines the management objectives for the site and gives an annual work programme which sets out the work required to achieve these objectives.

Directions to Warsash Common

Leave the M27 at junction 9 and head towards Fareham West. At Park Gate interchange take the fifth exit onto A3051/Southampton Road heading to Fareham W/ Segensworth/A27. At Segensworth roundabout take the fifth exit onto A27/ Southampton Road. Continue to follow the A27, over two roundabouts. Turn left at Locks Road then go over one roundabout before turning right at Warash Road. Turn left onto Fleet End Road following the sign to Warsash Common. Continue past the Jolly Farmer Inn. Turn into New Road following the entrance sign to Warsash Common.


Satnav Postcode: SO31 9SB


Please contact the Countryside Service for further information about the Common or any other countryside sites on 01329 236100 or

Please also contact the Countryside Service if you know of any faults, such as damaged signs, fences, fly tipping, excessive litter or obstructions on footpaths you can let us know by emailing

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