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Hampshire Countryside Service

Whiteley Copses

Just off Junction 9 of the M27 in a valley formerly part of the Forest of Bere. Once a patchwork of flower rich meadows and coppice woodlands which were managed using traditional methods, you can still find ancient wood banks which show where the old boundaries and track ways lay.

Gull Coppice

Gull Coppice is accessible from Yew Tree Drive opposite the School and from Saffron Way.

Circular trails with some surface paths, oak benches and sculptured snake. Well used central "green way" surfaced path runs through the centre of the site linking the housing estate with the school. Site leaflet and map available from Rangers. Walks take about 1hr to complete.

Ideal for dog walking, cycling, dog bin located at Yew tree drive end of the central greenway. Another is located in the estate off Saffron Way. No motorbikes or horse riding allowed.

Gull coppice covers 40 acres and consists of two distinct habitats. One section was planted with Lawson's Cypress, a non native conifer by the Forestry Commission which was felled in the Winter of 1995/96. The other is secondary oak woodland. The coniferous area had no ground flora. Now it has been felled, grasses, foxgloves and a variety of pioneer wild flowers have appeared. Trees that have reseeded include oak, ash, aspen and birch in particular. Deer used the area to shelter in before, now they are browsing it extensively. Common lizards have been found in the clear felled area.

The coniferous section was planted up about 35 years ago on former ancient woodland by the Forestry Commission. This section is surrounded by an old wood bank with an estimated age of over 200 years. It was part of the old Gull Coppice which was a large ancient woodland. There is little information on how this woodland used to be managed but presumably it was coppiced. The remaining section of Gull Coppice is hazel coppice with oak standards. The deciduous half contains pendunculate oak, turkey oak, hawthorn, crab apple, alder buckthorn, and one wild service. In glades within the woodland there is a lot of blackthorn which provides suitable habitat for nightingales.

Ground flora is not particularly diverse at present due to over shading by oaks, or by prevalence of turkey oaks. Along the ride are common spotted orchids, primrose, bugle, violets. Purple hairstreak are present in this section and need oak as a food plant. There is also a colony of white admirals in the woodland next to the school.


Round Coppice

Round Coppice is accessible from a layby off Whiteley Way opposite Parkway and from the estate off Marjoram Way. It has a circular walk with surface paths and benches. The circular trail will take about 20 minutes to complete and is about ½ a mile long.

Ideal dog walking site with a dog bin located at the entrance off Whiteley Way. Motorbikes and horse riding is not allowed.

Round Coppice is a 16 acre ancient woodland, enclosed for at least 200 years, and containing a scattering of hazel coppice stools. Round Coppice has been designated as a "Site of Importance for Nature Conservation" (SINC) by Hampshire County Council.

The SINC also covers the meadow behind the Solent Hotel since it has never been chemically improved. This means they cannot build or plant on it and must only mow it once a year in late summer to protect its spectacular show of orchids and scabious.

A family of roe deer can often be seen hiding somewhere amongst the trees.


Berry Coppice

Berry Coppice is accessible only from Springles Lane, and has very limited (parking 2 cars max.) Unsurfaced circular trail exists but little more than a deer track at present due to the low numbers of visitors.

Berry Coppice as the name suggests, is an old coppice covering some 8.35 acres between the Botley Wood complex and the M27 motorway. The coppice is composed mainly of oak, hazel and ash, much of which has been coppiced at some time in the past. Most of the hazel stools remain small whilst the dominant oak and ash is generally of even age and height. Many of these trees are growing too close together resulting in a fairly closed canopy of tall thin trees.

The only places where light can penetrate is where storm damage has broken the crowns or felled the odd tree. Very little dead wood exists within the woodland. Other tree species that are present include blackthorn, birch, hawthorn, alder, crab apple, holly, cherry and most significantly wild service tree. The latter is nationally rare and usually grows singly. There is a large specimen at the entrance to the coppice, with a stand of younger trees behind.

The understorey consists of hazel with lots of honey suckle with a ground cover of bramble and ivy. In the brighter and damper places, such as along the stream which cuts through the wood, there is more varied and vigourous growth. The brambles have developed into denser banks and flowering plants like bluebells, primrose, solomons seal, foxglove, betoney and yellow archangel occur along with a variety of grasses. The woodland supports typical woodland bird species such as wood pigeon, carrion crow, jay, tree creeper, wren, robin, marsh tit, blue tit, great tit, green and great spotted woodpecker to name a few.

Speckled woods are the most common butterfly to be found throughout the coppice while other species such as meadow brown, small and green viened whites can be found in the clearer areas where increased light has allowed the brambles to develop better. Purple Hairstreak can be found in the canopy. Roe deer can often be seen all year round.

Please note that motorbikes and horse riding is not allowed in Berry Coppice.


Whiteley Copse Bluebells

Whiteley Copses are managed by Hampshire Countryside Service