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Things to see and do at Curbridge Nature Reserve

Visitors walking beside the River Hamble at Curbridge Nature Reserve, Hampshire
Walking beside the River Hamble at Curbridge Nature Reserve | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Curbridge Nature Reserve is an ancient woodland that runs alongside the River Hamble, popular with locals, walkers and wildlife spotters due to its wetland habitat, important for birds, waterfowl and rare invertebrates.

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 many different species of bird, included greater spotted woodpeckers.

A special site

The site holds several designations: it is a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), forms part of a 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.

Look out for the 'fairy tree'.

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.

Meadows that hide a secret

We also care for 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.

A close up of a kingfisher with a fish in its mouth perched on a branch
Kingfisher enjoying a snack | © National Trust Images/Richard Bradshaw

Summer at Curbridge Nature Reserve

Winter coppicing work allows ground flora to put on a vibrant show in the summer months. Look out for the sapphire blue flash of kingfishers as they dart across the water, while little egrets stand proud by the riverbanks. Weasels and stoats rustle through the hedgerows and woodland floor.

The summer is breeding season for many reed bed birds, please take care not to disturb them by keeping your distance and keeping dogs under control. Thank you.

Creating a new woodland at Curbridge Nature Reserve

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.

Help us care for the countryside

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.

Visitors skimming stones on the River Hamble at Curbridge Nature Reserve, Hampshire

Discover more at Curbridge Nature Reserve

Find out how to get to Curbridge Nature Reserve, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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