Field Meeting: Oakley 16th September 2021

 Robert and Glynis Payne will be leading this general interest walk at Oakley setting off at 10.00 from the car park SU224046

A word of warning is that the A35 bridge over C10 at Holmsley is being replaced over the coming months, so avoid the closed section of the C10 by perhaps going Brockenhurst > Ornamental Drive > A 35 westbound and turn off for Oakley on the Burley road. Alternatively via Bashley to A35 eastbound turning off to Holmsley Tea Rooms and on to Burley and Oakley.

Further details see: 


Sorry about the gremlin that headed the previous one!

Field Meeting Report: Matley Wood

Rowan  (Sorbus aucuparia)      GP

On a grey, still morning, twenty-seven members gathered in Matley car park to explore the wood and surrounding area. We paused briefly in the campsite where a few bird feeders hung in the trees before branching north into the Ancient and Ornamental Woodland of Matley Wood.  This term refers to areas of the forest containing a mixture of native trees and bushes, largely natural and unchanged, that are not subject to statutory inclosure. (1).  We passed Oak, Holly, Small-leafed Lime, Yew, Sweet Chestnut, Crab Apple and Rowan.   Signs of Autumn appeared as we noted the Holly, Crab and Rowan were all filled with fruit, the Rowan already being plundered by Blackbirds. 

Emerging from the wood we followed a sand and gravel track over the heath towards a footbridge on the Beaulieu River. A series of parallel ridges in the heath suggest possible earlier ploughing activity - several areas of the forest were ploughed for food production during the Second World War.  We found several large fragments of metal shrapnel amongst the furrows, evidence of extensive wartime training activities in this area during both world wars (1). 

Dwarf Gorse  (Ulex minor)      DP
Marsh Clubmoss (Lycopodiaella inundata) CR

Amongst the different species of heather that were in full flower, we noted Dwarf Gorse, Devilsbit Scabious, Harebell, Marsh Clubmoss, and Sundew; the latter two giving a clue as to how wet this area can be.  

Small White      RS
Grayling Camouflage      CR

Amongst the heather, Small White and Grayling butterflies were observed, the latter being well camouflaged and reluctant to fly.  

Fox Moth Caterpillar     MF

A Fox Moth caterpillar was found on the heath.  There were also patches of a tiny red-capped lichen, Cladonia floerkeana.  

    Coral Necklace     MF      

Coral Necklace Illecebrum verticilatum was growing in a small dried out, dusty depression beside the track, soon to be waterlogged again.

Approaching the tree line beside the Beaulieu River, we paused to watch Spotted Flycatchers darting out from the trees to capture insects. We moved along the bank of the river, visiting areas that have been heavily poached by cattle.  On the river bank, Water Forgetmenot, Water Mint, Water-pepper and Lesser Water-plantain were all seen and a Raven flew overhead. 

Green Woodpecker dropping    RS

Marge pointed out a cylindrical white Green Woodpecker dropping and later examination showed numerous ant exoskeletons within. 

Nodding Bur-marigold (Bidens cernua)    DP

 Chamomile was growing in small clumps   close by the second river bridge as well as a   good stand of Nodding Bur-marigold.  This   boggy area is normally busy with dragonfly,   but was quiet on this day.

Spotted Flycatcher      RS

Stopping for a break at the hill fortification just to the South of Home Farm proved fortuitous. The Alder, and Willow trees along the river bank and the surrounding lawn were busy with numerous Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart and either Chiffchaff or Willow Warbler - we could not agree on the latter! A group of Woodlark appeared, a flock of House Martin and a few Swallow circled high over the trees and a distant Buzzard was seen.

Wolf Bee Philanthus triangulum  CR


Walking back towards Matley, we enjoyed the view from the top of one of three ancient barrows (3).  The eroded sandy path back to the woods has left a bank suited to the Bee Wolf which have have excavated several tunnels with characteristic “D” shaped entrances.  A few were found on the path and in the cooler temperature were relatively docile and could be examined closely. 


Returning to the northern edge of the wood we skirted around the wooded perimeter and then back to the car park, noting some fungi and some green stained wood, evidence of Green Elf-cup, Chloriciboria aeruginascens, on the way.


Earthball  Scleroderma citrinum    CR
Slime Mould       GP

Green Elf-cup   Chloricioria aeruginascens  GP


 1/ THE NEW FOREST An Ecological History - 1968; Colin R. Tubbs

 2/ White Moor - its military history :

 3/ Two bowl barrows and a bell barrow on Matley Heath:

 An interesting drone survey of the area along with more information can be viewed here: 

Photographs: ©  M. Fidkin, G Payne, D Potter, C Robinson, R. Smith


©Crown copyright 2021 Ordnance Survey. Media 008/21


Nature Reserve Open Day

A reminder that Lymington & District Naturalists' Society have a stand at this event and several members of our committee will be attending - come and visit us!


Field Meeting Report: Cadman's Pool - 19 August

Chaffinches      CR

On this warm but overcast morning 18 members with Pam as leader gathered at the side of Cadman’s Pool.  Feeding on the pool side were a flock of Chaffinches, and a mixed flock of Coal Tits and Blue Tits and on the water were Mallard, a solitary Canada Goose and a couple of juvenile Moorhens. 

Eyebright      CR

From the pool we set off along the concrete remains of the old airfield across the heath towards Holly Hatch Inclosure. Here we found all 3 types of heather consisting mainly of Ling, with some Bell Heather and small patches of Cross-leaved Heath. Along the track sides Cat’s Ear, Lousewort, Eyebright and Milkwort were in flower as well as a small area of Wood Sage.

To the right of the track lies a small boggy pond where we found Marsh St. John’s-wort which was in flower, Marsh Pennywort, Round-leaved Sundew and the erect seed heads of Bog Asphodel. Looking across to the inclosure there was a glimpse of a Green Woodpecker and we heard the distant call of a Buzzard. Further on we had a good view of a male Redstart and a Roe buck with one antler and all around we could hear and occasionally see Stonechats.



Boletus      SS
On entering Holly Hatch inclosure deer fencing provided protection for young Silver Birch, various conifers and offered plenty of undergrowth for wildlife. Chiffchaff, Redstart and Blue Tits were seen.  On the grassy track sides fungi were present, waxcaps, puff balls and bolete (species not identified). Also, Bilberry, Wood Sorrel and Wood Spurge were present. Then following a wet path downhill through the mature woods, we came to a wider track where we saw a single Speckled Wood Butterfly. In the damp areas Hard Ferns with normal and reproductive fronds were growing.

Tubular Water-dropwort    CR

Eventually we came to Holly Hatch cottage and the open lawn where cattle and ponies were grazing. Here there are views across Rakes Drake Bottom and in the distance Sloden Inclosure. Every year House Martins nest under the eaves of this cottage and we were not disappointed as they swooped around and fed their young. 

A Grey Wagtail was spotted on the roof of an outhouse and in and around the stream that runs through the valley, flowers of Tubular Water-dropwort, Lesser Spearwort, and Greater Bird’s- foot-trefoil were seen together with Water Plantain in seed.

Finally, we walked along the inclosure’s edge, with the stream to our left and mature Oak and Beech to our right.  On a large Silver Birch several twisted bundles of twigs matted together were seen. These are known as witches brooms, they can be caused by bacterial, fungal or viral infections of the lateral buds. These bundles do not harm the tree. Then, whilst watching a family of Nuthatches, a female Blackcap was spotted and further on a Wren, Robin, Song Thrush and Blackbird were seen.  

Devilsbit Scabious      CR
Saw-wort      SS

Eventually we returned to the heath again. As we walked uphill, we found the small pink flowers of Lesser Skullcap and further on Devil’s-bit Scabious, before we finally came back to the car park.


Photos:  ©  S Skarstein and C Robinson

©Crown copyright 2021 Ordnance Survey. Media 008/21


Field Meeting: Normandy Lane - 5 August

Leading his first Thursday group walk for nearly 2 years, Brian was joined by over 20 LymNats. Although "Birds" was the advertised subject, the walk began in the "wilds" of Woodside Gardens where wild flowers and insects dominated. The group spent over an hour independently exploring the delights of one of Lymington's hidden jewels.

Common Fleabane       DP

Large Tiger Hoverfly on Knapweed  MF

Water Mint     GP

Members of the group may have seen: Agrimony, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Common and Lesser Knapweed, Common Fleabane, Field Bindweed, Honeysuckle, Woody Nightshade, Wild Carrot, Corn Marigold, Great Reedmace, Lady's Bedstraw, Gipsywort, Mugwort, Ragwort, Yarrow, Lesser Stitchwort, Creeping Thistle, Spear Thistle, Rosebay, Great Willowherb, Red Clover, White Clover, Silverweed, St.John's Wort, Pineapple Mayweed, Water Mint, Hemlock Water Dropwort and Hogweed.

Small Skipper     CR

Butterflies seen included Small Skipper, Silver-studded Blue, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Large White, Painted Lady and Red Admiral.

From Woodside we proceeded to do a circuit of Normandy Marsh to deliver the advertised walk.

We saw immature Shelduck which would have followed their parents to the lagoon immediately after hatching. The nest would have been a down-lined cup in a burrow or hollow tree (as seen on "Springwatch"). There was also a juvenile Avocet, still with some dark brown where the adult is black.

Common Terns, with juvenile    CR

The number of white foreheads of the juveniles amongst the black caps of the adults was evidence that the Common Terns had a successful breeding season. A group of 30+ birds periodically took to the air from a spit, with their harsh key-arr and kirri-kirri calls, and then landed back in an orderly fashion, all facing front.

When an imperious Great Black-backed Gull took flight, it was instantly mobbed by Common Terns and Black-headed Gulls - they clearly recognised a predator that would probably have accounted for some of their young.

Little Egret "JN"      CR

Little Egret "JN" was showing well out on the marsh. Ringed as a chick by Graham Giddens in the summer of 2006, "JN" is recognised by the BTO as holding the longevity record of this species (I reported today's sighting to GG).

A very keen young ornithologist pointed out a young bird that was eventually identified as a Redshank, possibly the sole survivor of a late (July) brood, whose siblings may have been predated by the GB-bG.

Golden Samphire     CR

From the seawall it was possible to see a variety of coastal and saltmarsh plants: Glasswort, Common Sea-lavender, Sea Purslane, Rock Samphire, Golden Samphire and Common Cord-grass (Spartina anglica).

Wasp Spider     SS

Also present: A handsome Wasp Spider, Black-tailed Godwits (still with some summer colour) Dunlin, Grey Heron, Pied Wagtail, Greenfinch, White Campion, Bristly Oxtongue, Teasel and Polypody. Other LymNats may have seen more and all just beat the rain back to Maiden Lane.


Photographs © S Skarstein,  C Robinson,  M Fidkin,  G Payne D Potter


©Crown copyright 2021 Ordnance Survey. Media 008/21


Field Meeting Report: Dibden Inclosure - 22 July

16 members joined leader Geoff on one of the hottest mornings of the year for this rather misnamed field meeting as, from the car park, we immediately crossed the road to explore Fawley Inclosure. 

Silver-studded Blues       CR

Grayling       CR

Within a few yards, all 3 heathers, Bell Heather, Cross-leaved Heath and Ling were attracting many Silver-studded Blue butterflies both male and female and several mating pairs were spotted. Less numerous were Gatekeeper, Grayling, Large White and Small Heath with a Silver Y moth, Golden-ringed Dragonfly and innumerable grasshoppers also seen. 

Carrion Crows cruised overhead and a Woodlark posed atop the gorse before flying off. Amongst the heathers, Lousewort, Tormentil, Heath Milkwort, Self-heal and Coral-necklace were identified.
Lady Fern       DP

Moving on, we passed the site of a scheduled ancient monument known as a Bowl Barrow but were unable to pinpoint its exact location. A Sparrowhawk flew above the trees and Goldfinches flitted around. As we moved into the conifer plantation a Chaffinch was spotted. By this time somewhat spread out, the botanists identified Sheep Sorrell, Wood Sage and Lady Fern.  

Oak Eggar moth  (Lasiocampa quercus)    CR

Small Copper and Peacock butterflies were seen as well as Riband Wave and Oak Eggar Moths with a Keeled Skimmer dragonfly also posing obligingly.

Around the edge of an area of mire were some good specimens of Round-leaved and Oblong-leaved Sundew along with Bog Asphodel, White Beak-sedge, Cotton Grass and Pale Butterwort. Kestrel and Buzzard were also spotted.

Cutting back through the plantation, we risked life and limb on a brief detour across the busy A326 Fawley Road to Forest Front Nature Reserve for the disabled. By the pond, much welcome shade and seating provided an ideal location for an overdue refreshment break. 

Nettle Weevil       RC

An Emperor Dragonfly patrolled around the fine stand of Reedmace but although movement could be seen, no birds or fish were identified.  White Water-lily flowered in the pond and on a short walk around the reserve a good variety of plants were evident, namely Tufted Vetch, Rosebay Willowherb, Lesser Stitchwort, Common Knapweed, Hogweed, Ladies’ Bedstraw and Corky-fruited Water Dropwort. Small Copper, Skipper and Speckled Wood butterflies and a Blackcap were also seen. Richard collected a small moth called Garden Grass Veneer (Chrysoteuchia culmella) and Maureen picked up a striking blue Nettle Weevil.

Small Red Damselflies       CR
Returning to the enclosure, we moved on to Flash Pond where Coloured Water-lily flowered alongside Lesser Spearwort, Marsh St. John’s Wort and Water-plantain. Blue damselflies hovered around and Small Red amselflies were mating.

Meadow Pipit       CR

The return walk crossed open heathland where, in the distance above the conifers, a Buzzard, two Kestrels and a Swift were seen. Meadow Pipits and Stonechats, both adult and juvenile, were busy in the gorse and a Little Egret was fishing in what remained of one of the larger ponds. 

Lesser Water-plantain       CR

Some small specimens of Lesser Water-plantain were clinging on in a dried-up puddle and we also saw Chamomile in flower before crossing back to the car park.


Photos:  © Chris Robinson, Richard Coomber

©Crown copyright 2021 Ordnance Survey. Media 008/21


Save the date : Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve Open Day - Sunday 12th September 2021


Lymington & District Naturalists' Society are supporting this event again this year. We have marquee space reserved for displays and information about the society and a team of committee members attending the stand.

Further details from the last event in 2019 can be found on Facebook here

Reserve Open Day 2019

Field Meeting: Dibden Inclosure - 22 July

Our next 'General Interest' field meeting for members is next Thursday.  We will be starting from Dibden Inclosure Car Park at 10am.

Field Meeting Report: Wilverley Plain - 8 July

Wilverley Plain   GP

On a bright morning this early July our large group (23) of enthusiastic Naturalists assembled and looked out on the busy plain full of cattle and ponies. The grass plain has developed a sparkling array of wild flowers since its re-seeding after the war when it had been ploughed and cultivated for arable farming to support the war effort.  We walked along the southern edge trying to avoid the inquisitive ponies and pay attention to what was at our feet. 

Pied Hoverfly     RS

We found the lemon-yellow flowers of Mouse-ear Hawkweed among the richer yellow of the other more abundant Hawkbits, Tormentil and Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil. 

Wild Thyme     RS

Mixed in were the purples of Selfheal, patches of Wild Thyme and the occasional specimen of Lousewort, the lovely pink of Common Centaury and blue of Common Milkwort, not to mention a host of other species like stars in the sky.

Lesser Butterfly Orchid     GP

On reaching swathes of heather, we found a few beautiful spikes of Lesser Butterfly Orchid, a delicate and intricate pale flower, and were serenaded by Skylark.

Heath Spotted  Orchid   

Descending from the plain we made our way down toward a boggy area, finding many examples of Heath Spotted Orchid along the way and the occasional delicate spike of Slender St John’s-wort. 

The most abundant heather was Ling (mostly not in flower just yet), though the rich purple flower of Bell Heather stood out amongst it and occasional patches of the pink and paler green of Cross-leaved Heath in the wetter areas. 

We found many interesting marsh plants including the yellow spikes of Bog Asphodel, mats of Marsh St-John’s-wort and Bog Pimpernel. A few dancing butterflies emerged in the heather, mostly the delicate Silver Studded Blue and the odd Small Heath.

Common Lizard     RS

We paused by a stream, hearing the busy Stonechats (but not seeing) and were lucky to see a female Common Lizard basking in the sun on a stump. Thanks to Chris for spotting.

 On moving off we saw glimpses of Linnet and then a male Stonechat displaying proudly at the top of a Gorse bush.

Oblong-leaved Sundew     GP

Returning through the valley Tina spotted a small group of Fallow Deer on the opposite bank headed by an almost white male already with a fine set of antlers developing. From one glorious sight to another on a different scale, eyes turned down for a rich display of  Sundew and the rarer Marsh Club Moss.

Another brief foray across the plain and our rather meandering walking bus returned from whence we came.  A thank you to Glynis for being the “beater” at the rear!  


Photographs  © Glynis Payne and Richard Smith

©Crown copyright 2021 Ordnance Survey. Media 008/21