Mating pair of Chalkhill Blues

Common Blue female

Idsworth Down looking East

Idsworth down and St Hubert's meadow

Devils Bit Scabious

Early Purple Orchid

Silver-Spotted Skipper: Once I saw a male on Idsworth down several years ago so there  could well be an isolated colony there.

Yellow Shell Moth

Chalkhill blues mating 

Sincfoil

Ox-eye daisies

St Hubert's church and meadow

A sign which shows the importance of field margins for wildlife

A freshly emerged Marbled White in the meadow

Female Dark Green Fritillary

 Open Chalk Downland – Idsworth and Chalton Downs

 

Key characteristics:

 

1. Large scale rolling landform comprising a prominent chalk ridge reaching 144m AOD of former downland – the majority of which was enclosed in the 19th century and given over to arable farming.

 

2. There is a small a patch of remnant chalk downland designated as a SINC. It has open access land on its northeast slopes.

 

3. There are isolated patches of woodland such as Oxley Copse and The Folley. This is a very open panoramic landscape which commands views up and down the Lavant Valley in the east, the wooded slopes of Butser Hill, Ditcham Park and Uppark House to the north, and the open ridge of Blendworth Down and Windmill Hill to the west. There are also fine views south to The Solent and Isle of Wight.

 

4. There are ritual burial sites on the hilltop crest, some of which are scheduled as nationally important monuments. On the middle and upper slopes there is crop mark evidence to suggest the area was farmed since the Bronze Age. Later medieval enclosure fields on the south side, thick wooded hedges and hedge banks (lynchets) with farmsteads originating from this period occur along Dean Lane. In all a landscape with substantial time depth and archaeological interest.

 

5. Popular for walking, a footpath with easy access from Chalton and Finchdean runs northwards along the crest of the ridge. It is part of the Staunton Way and Sussex Border Path from which there are panoramic views both east and west.

Wildlife

Butterflies are very common up on the downs in the spring, the Orange Tip and Grizzled and Dingy Skipper can be found along with the Small Heath, with many wild flowers which carpet the downs into the early summer  months. The early Purple Orchid with the Common Spotted Orchid and Cowslip to name a few.

 

In the summer months the magnificent Dark Green Fritillary can be seen patrolling up and down the downland, and into the meadow at St Huberts, also a strong colony of Marbled Whites and Meadow Brown, feed and breed in the meadow on grasses. On the downland at the top of Charlton Down the Cuckoo can be heard and also the faint churring of the Turtle Dove, one of the very few places to find it in Hampshire. Good numbers of Red Kite and Buzzards now patrol the skies in and around the down-lands using the thermals from the early morning.

 

In the hedge rows around the meadow there are small pockets of Wych Elms however many have died off, but there are still suckers left where there may well be isolated colonies of White-Letter Hairstreaks. On the telegraph lines there can be seen numerous Swallows and Swifts resting between bouts of feeding on the abundant insects in the wildflower meadow. Hares can also be seen feeding and running through the open grassland, and at dusk the odd Barn Owl can be seen patrolling over the grassland searching for prey.