Abbotstone Down is a rich area with a lot of flora and fauna, with a combination of Woodland and chalk downland which gives it a very diverse habitat. In the woodland the Purple Emperor has been seen patrolling over the crowns of the Oaks, along with the Silver-Washed Fritillary.
Marbled Whites are quite common in the meadows, along with Skipper butterflies.
One of the highlights of a visit to Abbotstone Down would be seeing this spectacular Moth the Scarlett Tiger Moth
Lots of Nettles attract the Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma and Red Admiral butterflies where they lay their eggs. Look out for their caterpillars , these are the caterpillars of the Peacock butterfly.
The delightful little butterfly the Green Hairstreak can be found amongst the Brambles and other scrubby areas of the downland in the late spring.
Downland and woodland site with the earthworks of an Iron Age hill fort near Old Alresford
About the site
Abbotstone Down is a 13 hectare mosaic of chalk grassland with mature oak wood, secondary wood and scrub. The remnants of a small Iron Age hill fort lie within the site. The area was once a local sheep grazed common with wood pasture, surrounded by private estate and woodlands. The site is situated on the Wayfarers walk, a long distance walk.
Abbotstone Down Near Old Alresford
Chalk Grassland habitats have declined in modern times, often turned over to arable farming due to the fertile nature of the soils. This habitat makes good grazing for sheep and would have covered large areas of Southern England. Now only remnants of these ancient unimproved grasslands remain.
Chalk grassland is rich in wild flowers such as Rock Rose, Wild Thyme and Kidney Vetch. These flowers in turn support a variety of invertebrates, some of these are Marbled White, Green Hairstreak, Silver-Washed Fritillary, and Dark Green Fritillary. The Purple Emperor has also been seen here, as the site sits on a hill several witnesses have seen the female and male Purple Emperor conducting their mating rituals, and reject flights especially in the car-park. Certainly something to look for in the summer months of June and July. Many birds are also found on chalk grassland. Moths are also very good here with lots of wild flowers in the meadows, which attracts many species, one of the brightest to be seen is the Scarlett Tiger Moth.
Phone 01590 674 656
Central Countryside Sites, Crabwood Depot, Sarum Road, Winchester, Hampshire, SO22 5QS
Flowery meadows and good Oak and Beech stands make for a good flora and fauna site, with several rarer butterflies seen on the wing in the summer like the Dark Green Fritillary and in the treetops the elusive Purple Emperor