The Wildgrounds is an area of 67 acres in the heart of Gosport and adjacent to the Alver Valley Country Park. It is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest in recognition of its incredible natural importance. This is mainly due to the ancient oak woodland; some of these veteran trees are thought to be approximately 500 years old. For this reason the area is protected by British law.
Oaks support a great diversity of fauna such as oak gall wasps, purple emperor butterfly, green tortrix moth. Woodpeckers use the oaks to nest in and abandoned woodpecker holes are quickly inhabited by bats and other bird species.
Acorns are a readily available food source in the autumn for birds and squirrels. Deadwood provides further habitat for a number of insects including stag beetles.
During the summer months a carpet of bluebells makes for an idyllic walk through this ancient oak woodland. The British Isles contain approximately 50% of the global population of English bluebells. This endangered species, which is slightly toxic to humans, provides cancer fighting chemicals. Forklore has it, that if you hear a bell ringing near bluebells fairies are near.
A number of butterflies can be seen flying around the reserve, speckled woods are frequently spotted along the woodland paths. Peacocks, orange tips, meadow browns and gate keepers can be seen flying around the meadow areas. Most recently grayling, a UK Biodiversity Action Plan species have been spotted in Burdens Heath.
Owls, buzzards, kestrels as well as a number of duck species, grey heron and kingfisher can all be found here. Bats can be found hunting during the evening especially over the Woodland Pond.
A healthy population of roe deer inhabits this ancient woodland, they share the area with badgers and foxes.
This green oasis in the heart of Gosport offers a sanctuary of peace and quiet. A leaflet containing a self-guided walk can be downloaded below.
Please respect our reserve by:
Showing your permits on entry or on demand
Keeping to the marked paths
Adults to accompany children at all times
Taking your litter home
Not starting fires of any kind
Not picking wildflowers or picnicking
No dogs allowed with the exception of assistance dogs at the Wardens discretion
Take a look at the latest Wildgrounds leaflet to discover more about this wildlife haven and the two visitor trails.
The Reserve is normally open from Tuesday through to Saturday, from March to October, 10.00am to 4.00pm.
Permits are available from the Tourist Information Centre or the Town Hall Cashiers. They are valid for four weeks from date of issue.
Day permits are also available from the warden on duty and can be purchased on the day of your visit.
Monthly permits - £5.00 (concessions £3.50)
Day permits - £2.00 (concessions £1.50)
There are a number of organised guided walks throughout the year and walks or events can be arranged for specific groups on request.
Contact the Countryside Section on 023 9258 8666 or email email@example.com