Typical terrain in Hawkhill Inclosure, this is where you find the Dark Green Fritillary in June, July, and August, these areas are clear felled when the Conifer trees need thinning out, this creates habitat for many flora and fauna, like Nightjar
Silver-Studded Blue mating, these can be seen almost all over the New Forest heathlands. They fly early June throughout July and into early August
Dragonflies are quite common patrolling up and down the rides and breed in the streams like Worts Gutter.
Lizards like the Common Lizard breed in crevasses and old tree logs, and can be seen baking on the tops of the logs in hot sunny weather, like this juvenile.
Bell Heather grows in profusion on the Heathland surrounding Hawkhill Inclosure, but has a foothold in the deep gullies and ditches in the inclosure, and is spreading as the Inclosures are coppiced over time.
Hawkhill Inclosure is one of those sites that has been drawing me to the area for over thirty odd years. Since I saw the Dark Green Fritillary in fairly good numbers at the area known as ‘Worts Gutter’ which is a small stream which goes through area, and has good areas of Bracken with damp meadows of grasses with small pockets of Bell Heather.
In the summer these areas are awash with good sightings of Dragonflies and Bees and other hover flies, with butterflies like Large Skipper, Small Skipper and Essex Skipper as well, along with Marbled White, and the Dark Green Fritillary our second largest Fritillary in the UK, which patrols up and down the footpaths, and up and over the ditches occasionally stopping to nectar at the small areas of Meadow Thistles. When this butterfly stops it’s a wonder to behold with beautiful orange patterning on the upper wings, with a green tinge on the underneath of the wings.
Small areas of the woodland are cut down on a rotation which gives this butterfly access to the damp meadows, and occasionally can be seen patrolling in and over the Heathland parts of Beaulieu Heath close-by, intermingling with the Grayling butterfly and of course the Silver-Studded Blue which can be seen in their hundreds flying and skipping in and over the Bells and Ling Heather.
Birdlife can be just as interesting with Dartford Warbler, and Nightjar is seen out on the open areas of this site, along with Stonechats, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks. In the fallen logs which are left for wildlife to prosper, there can be good numbers of Common Lizards scurrying around sunning themselves on a good day.
Muntjac and Roe deer can be seen in the early morning in the grassy meadows, and their bark is a giveaway that they are about. Also the New Forest Pony can be seen more on the open heath, please do not feed these animals or approach too closely as they are wild animals and can kick and bit if they feel threatened.
Grayling butterflies can be hard to spot on the ground because of their excellent camouflage, but once they move they have a very distinctive flight, but are very hard to approach.
Dark-Green Fritillaries can be seen quite readily on warm days in the summer patrolling up and down the grassy meadows in the Hawkhill Inclosure, and fly over the Heather of the Heaths as well.
Several of the Inclosures are reverting back to how the the New Forest was in the Victorian times, with natural woodland like Oak, Hazel, Cherry, and Beech. Sallow is also returning in the damper areas, hoping that the Purple Emperor may one day return.
Silver-Studded Blue male showing off its Purplish-Blue colouration on top of its wings. These butterflies can be counted in many 'thousands' in many areas of the New Forest not least in and around Hawkhill Inclosure.
New Forest ponies are part of the landscape, but must be treated with respect, especially when they have young.