Curbridge Nature Reserve
Curbridge Nature Reserve is a stunning ancient woodland that runs alongside the river Hamble. Thanks to a generous donation from SC Johnson, we're planting 6,000 trees here to extend and protect this precious site.
Our countryside sites remain open so that local visitors can visit for exercise in line with government guidance. We ask all visitors to follow guidance on social distancing to keep everyone safe.
Please be aware that camping is not permitted at Curbridge Nature Reserve, and it's not suitable for bikes. You can help us look after the countryside by closing gates behind you, keeping dogs under control, not using barbecues or campfires, taking all rubbish home and leaving no trace of your visit. Thank you.
An ancient woodland
There has been woodland along the River Hamble for hundreds of years. Mature and veteran oaks and ash, with an understorey of hazel coppice, holly and wild service trees provide habitats for birds, butterflies and key endangered species
The site holds several designations: it is a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), forms part of an Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and is also part of a Special Protection Area (SPA). These designations are mainly due to the importance of the site for overwintering waterfowl, wild birds, salt marsh and estuarine habitat and scarce invertebrate species.
The area is well-loved by the local community, frequented by walkers and home to a ‘fairy tree’, which is decorated with tokens and wishes from visitors.
But the popularity of Curbridge Nature Reserve has led to heavy recreational pressure. The fragile site is surrounded by urban development and bankside trees are being lost to the natural tidal influences of the river. We're creating a new woodland to help protect this important site.
Aside from this major project, the reserve generally has minimal intervention in terms of management, in order to keep the tranquillity of the ancient woodland setting. However, we do carry out coppicing, tree survey/emergency works and litter picking
We also own the meadows on the other side of the river, which are tenanted out to farmers for grazing and cutting. Within these meadows lies the site of an ancient roman villa which is a designated monument.