Discover the rich wetland habitat of Stockbridge Marsh, a haven for birds and butterflies.
Situated just behind the High Street of Stockbridge, Stockbridge Marsh is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It lies within the peaty river valley of the River Test and has Marsh Court stream, a tributary of the Test running along its Western boundry.
A rich wetland habitat, the Marsh consists of unimproved wet grassland and fen-like vegetation, with herb-rich hummocky areas across the site. The site is a haven for bird species such as reed and sedge warblers, swans, moorhens, kingfishers, mistle thrush and reed buntings.
Water voles slip secretively around the edges of the river reeds and butterfly species such as tortoiseshell, small copper and marbled whites can be found basking among the vegetation. You may also notice yellow meadow ant hills, especially to the southern end of the site, which are an important indicator of ancient grasslands.
Managing Stockbridge Marsh
The Marsh is 'common land' with ancient manorial rights dating back to the Norman Conquest: anyone who lives in the borough of Stockbridge is a commoner of this land.
Some commoners take up their common rights here in the form of grazing – the Marsh is grazed by cattle and horses during the summer working with us. These animals help to keep the dominant grasses down and allow a wider diversity of flora species to thrive.
As well as grazing, our team manage the control of species such as ragwort and Creeping Thistle, both of which can become dominant, and the growth of hawthorn scrub on the site.