Magdalen Hill down © Copyright Peter Facey and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ for more details
Nearest town or settlement: Winchester
Organisation: Butterfly Conservation
Website: Magdalen Hill down page on Butterfly Conservation website
Hampshire County Council, Butterfly Conservation
This downland nature reserve has been extended twice, in the mid 1990s and in 2004, by sowing chalk downland seed on former arable land. Chalk grassland restoration and management has been supported by agri-environment funding via English Nature/Natural England. The notes below describe what was done in 1997. The land is open access and best viewed between May and September.
Downland re-creation in 1997
Butterfly Conservation arranged for an ex-arable field to be sown with native wild grass & flower seed in the autumn of 1997. The grass seed was brush harvested from downland sites in Hampshire. (Hampshire County Council and English Nature kindly allowed collecting at Farley Mount Country Park and Old Winchester Hill and Martin Down. The flower seeds were purchased and were of southern downland provenance. Procurement of seeds was dealt with by Charles Flower and we were pleased with his expert help. Scientific expertise was provided by the late Dr Charlie Gibson.
In recent years, chalk scrapes have also been excavated, and these have proved excellent habitats for butterflies. There have been difficulties in striking the right balance of grazing here and because the site is on the urban fringe, it providing good information to the public using the land is very important, as some users do not understand about grazing and some complaints are received about the the presence of cowpats on public footpaths.