Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve
Cliff Road, Hillhead, Fareham.
Tel: 01329 662145
Opening times: Friday-Sunday throughout the year, and Bank Holidays from Easter to Summer 9.30-5.00 pm. A public footpath runs along the west boundary of the reserve. Day permits are required for entry to the reserve and hides. Please phone before visiting. There is an admission charge.
Hook Nature Reserve,
Hook Shore, near Warsash
A wide shingle beach curls round the coast to form a short hook-like spit at the mouth of the river and entrance to Hook Lake, just below the College of Maritime Studies at Warsash. The shingle beach is growing here, and on the top of the former storm ridges are found many specialised plants of shingle beaches, notably Sea Kale with its large fleshy cabbage-like leaves, Sea Sandwort, Yellow-horned Poppy and Sea Beet. The rare Slender Hare's-ear is also found in grassland nearby. Behind the beach, the land is low lying and the meandering course of an ancient creek can clearly be seen. Shallow lagoons have been formed which now attract increasing numbers of birds - Redshank, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Mallard, Teal, Shoveler, Shelduck and much more. The large stands of gorse scrub on the higher ground bordering the area attract Linnets, Stonechats and an occasional Dartford Warbler, but perhaps its greatest interest is in the Roman saltworks which lie here, mainly hidden by vegetation but protected as a Countryside Heritage Site.
Hook Lake and valley
Hook Lake was once an arm of the Hamble River until it was dammed and partly drained in the 18th-Century. A freshwater marsh has since developed, dominated by reeds except for a small area of open water. Reed Warblers, Little Grebes, Kingfishers, Teal and Snipe are regularly found here. Dense woodland occupies the upper parts of Hook Lake with a jungle of Alder and Willow in the valley bottom, and Oak, Ash, Elm and Birch woodland on the dry slopes. A footpath follows the south side of the valley and is a good way to explore this unspoilt area and discover some of its hidden wildlife - a profusion of Kingcups by the streamside, Tussock Sedge and Yellow Iris, butterflies, dragonflies and plentiful birdlife.
The River Hamble has been famous for ships and boating for hundreds of years, and was very much publicised during the TV series Howard's Way. It is an ideal base for cruising or just messing about in boats.
There have also been boat yards here for a very long time. The Elephant boat yard was named after Nelson's flagship used at the battle of Copenhagen. It was launched from here in 1786.
The River is navigable at all states of the tide as far as the railway bridge between the A27 and M27 road bridges. The river shallows significantly from this point and changes dramatically. Woods and fields come right to the water's edge and the hustle and bustle of the lower river is left behind. The upper part of the river is enjoyed by many people picnicking, sailing or fishing.
A ferryman runs a boat service across the river Hamble from Warsash to the village of Hamble on the other side of the river. There has been a ferry here since the 1500's. The ferry leaves from a small grey shelter located on the foreshore, near the car park at the north end of Warsash village, near the river. The ferry runs on demand. There is a call button, but you may need to wave your arms at the ferryman on the other side of the river...
Fareham, Mill Lane, off A27 Titchfield.
Tel: 01329 315893
The ruined abbey was founded by the Bishop of Winchester and originally inhabited by an order known as the White Canons. It was destroyed during the dissolution of the monasteries.
Opening times: April to October 10-6pm (dusk in October) Nov-March 10-4pm
Swanwick Lane, Swanwick.
Tel: 01489 576248
A living exhibition site centred around the old Bursledon Brickworks. Phone for opening times.
Windmill Lane, Bursledon.
Tel: (01703) 404999
The only working windmill in Hampshire. Recently restored in 1978, in full operation on many weekends throughout the year. Phone for opening times.
Other Places to Visit
There are lots of other places to visit, within twenty minutes drive of Locks Heath. These include the Upper Hamble Country Park, Holly Hill Country Park, Manor Farm Country Park and the Royal Victoria Country Park.