Old Down is 12 hectares of former farmland with a narrow strip of mature beech wood. Beggarwood on the other side of the A30 is 23 Ha. The mature woodland on both sites is classed as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) as is the grassland on Old Down.
The wildlife group manages these areas for the benefit of the community and for wildlife.
Wildflower-rich chalk downland is a priority habitat in the Hampshire County Council Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP).
In 2009 on Old Down we had identified 155 species of trees, shrubs, plants and grasses.
In 2011 the figure was 226. We want to encourage more species and in increasing numbers so we attract even more interesting wildlife. Beggarwood has records of rare species such as the white helleborine and the wych elm and the diversity of its wildlflowers is increasing year on year. It also hosts species such as the linnet and the whitethroat.
Aims of the Group
These are to;
Restore or protect valuable & fragile wildlife habitats such as grassland and woodland.
Increase the diversity and distribution of wildflowers and dependent species.
Offer learning through training, practical work, talks and visits.
Would you like to help us to record species of plants or wildlife in which you have an interest?
See This Month for details of activities
Do you enjoy walking and observing things around you? You don't need to be an expert we are all learning together.
Volunteers are always welcome. Work parties meet on each Thursday morning on Old Down and work parties are hopefully soon to be held on Beggarwood
As a member of the group you can receive training in aspects of recording and management for biodiversity. Currently membership is free but you can opt to donate £5 for courses etc
Would you like to help develop our educational work with school groups, scouts, brownies and playgroups?
If you would like more information then please contact us at:
Where are we?
Old Down is located on the west of the A30 on the south west side of Basingstoke near the Sainsbury's roundabout. Beggarwood lies on the eastern side. It is possible to cross from one to the other at the traffic lights at Beggarwood Lane (about 1 mile from Junction 7 of the M3).
What do we do?
Monitor wildlife species. It helps us to manage the site.
Remove scrub and weeds.
Arrange grass cutting to enable wildflowers to flourish.
Sow wildflowers to expand colour and interest for people and food for wildlife.
Make presentations, publish wildlife information, lead walks.
Have fun and enjoy what we do!