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Things to see and do at Selborne Common

Long grass and a gap in the trees at Selborne Common, Hampshire
Long grass and a gap in the trees at Selborne Common, Hampshire | © National Trust Images/Alison Marsh

Covering over 260 acres, the landscape surrounding the village of Selborne, Hampshire, is best explored on foot. Selborne Common offers plentiful opportunities to spot wildlife, and find plants and flowers, while climbing ‘the Hangar’ is rewarded with impressive views. Beyond St Mary's Church in the east lie the not-to-be-missed valley meadows and woodland of the Lythes.

Take a walk on the Common

Reconnect with nature by taking a walk on the Common, made up of mixed woodland of beech, oak, ash and hawthorn. As well as sunny glades and open grassland, there’s lots of different pockets to explore.

The fields called Coneycroft Bottom, Coneycroft and the Wadden are now managed as grassland and have become rich in flowers that provide valuable nectar for a host of insects and butterflies.

Climb ‘the Hangar’

A walk to the top of ‘the Hangar’ – the beech woodland that overlooks the village – will be rewarded with sweeping views across the village to the Lythes and beyond to the Weald and Downs of Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex.

You can climb to the top via various paths including the famous Zig Zag and Bostal paths.

Visit Sheep Down and High Wood

During the summer you may see cattle grazing on Sheep Down, an ancient wood pasture where woodland, scrub, glades and grassland form a patchwork of habitats.

Villagers’ common rights allowed them to graze livestock and to cut wood from the crowns of the trees here. High Wood was traditionally coppiced to provide fuel and wood for the village.

The flowers of Selborne Common

While visiting Selborne Common, take the time to see what plants and flowers you can spot.

A range of plants thrive here, including stinking hellebore, herb Paris and several orchids, which can be found in the woodland. Flowers on the open down and in the meadow include cowslip, clustered bellflower and knapweed.

Close-up of the bright yellow flowers of a cowslip plant, taken at Rievaulx Terrace, North Yorkshire
Cowslip flowers in bloom | © National Trust Images / Andrew Butler

Birds and butterflies

Selborne Common is home to many common woodland and scrub birds. Look up and you may be lucky enough to see red kites flying high above you.

In summer watch for the silver-washed fritillary butterfly, which has orange and red spotted wings, streaked with silver on the underside.

Visit the Lythes

The open meadows of the Lythes are rich in flowers, which also attract many butterflies. Milkmaid – another name for cuckoo flower – is a common springtime plant and a particularly good food source for the orange tip butterfly.

During the summer, the meadows are splashed bright yellow with buttercups. In the wetter places, you’ll find yellow flag iris and pink ragged robin. Devil’s-bit scabious and betony are rarer species that appear at the end of the summer.

Male orange tip butterfly, with orange-tipped white wings, feeding on nectar on lilac-coloured cuckooflower at Brockhampton Estate, Herefordshire

Discover more at Selborne Common

Find out how to get to Selborne Common, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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