Stockbridge Marsh

A swan nests at Stockbridge Marsh, Hampshire

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 boundary.

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. If you need to drive to access these places and find the car park full, please come back another time. 

Please be aware that camping is not permitted on Stockbridge Marsh, 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.

Stockbridge Marsh

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

Newly erected fencing along the river bank at Stockbridge Marsh, Hampshire

Protecting the river bank at Stockbridge Marsh 

We’ve temporarily fenced some areas along the river bank on SSSI Stockbridge Marsh, to allow the bank and its vegetation to recover from high footfall. You're still welcome to walk and picnic here, and there are areas where people and dogs can directly access the water.

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.

Walking at Stockbridge Marsh

Moorhens beside the River Test at Stockbridge Common Marsh, Hampshire
Walking trail

Stockbridge Common Marsh wildlife walk 

This easy, 1.8 mile walk across the marsh offers access to the river's edge, in a valley which otherwise has little or no river frontage. On calm winter days, swans can be seen gliding downstream and water rail, a secretive wetland bird that is more easily spotted in winter, pick their long-toed way along the edges of the reeds.