Sopley Common Nature Reserve
Internationally important heathland with good bog pool communities. North and south heaths separated by the Avon Causeway road but brimming with rare wildlife.
This reserve has areas of dry and wet heathland, with a series of bog pools on the southern half. A fringe of trees screens the heaths from the road that passes through the middle, adding additional habitat for more common woodland birds. The dry heath, carpeted with common and bell heathers, is home to such heathland specialists as sand lizard, smooth snake and both heath and green tiger beetle. Dartford warbler and stonechat can be heard calling from the gorse while dragonflies stalk the heaths around the bog pools. As the dry heath gives way to wetter, boggier areas, the ground becomes peppered with the aptly named cotton-grass and the intriguing, carnivorous round and oblong-leaved varieties of sundew.
From Hurn bridge roundabout travel east 300m along Avon Causeway road to a lay-by on the right hand side of the road. Access is via the Forestry Commission path at the far end of the layby or across the road.
Access and safety
Enter the southern heath on the path at the east end of the layby or cross the road (carefully!) to enter the north heath via a path opposite this point. A number of sandy tracks and paths criss-cross the heaths allowing the completion of more or less circular walks. The lower lying sections of the site can be wet and boggy. Please check the Heathland Code before visiting the reserve.
Take great care when crossing hurn road to go between the north and south heath - cars travel quickly along this section and it is often busy. The site is home to the now quite rare adder - although only the luckiest of people get to see them, keep yourself and any dogs to the paths and scan for adders at path edges as you go. Ticks may also be present on site. For more information on these general countryside hazards and other aspects of visiting our nature reserves please see our Visitor Information page.
Species and habitats
Heathland, mixed woodland, bog pools.
Adder, heath tiger beetle, green tiger beetle, silver-studded blue, green hairstreak, keeled skimmer, black darter, round-leaved sundew, oblong-leaved sundew, bog asphodel.
Nearby nature reserves
Nature reserve map
Contains derived data © Crown copyright and database right 2012.Ordnance Survey LA100019790.
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