Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve covers 369 acres of the Lower Meon valley. Enjoy a tranquil walk and see a variety of wetland habitats containing a wealth of wildlife. Species change through the seasons so there's always something new to enjoy.
Reedbeds are a nationally rare habitat. They are managed to attract species such as Reed Warblers, Bearded Tits, Water rails and Bittern. Left alone they are invaded by shrubby species and may dry out. They are cut and cleared in rotation, to provide a range of habitats with varying amounts of leaf litter, depths of water and age of plants. This variety meets the needs of different species for feeding, nesting and roosting places. Cut reeds heaped up close to the river provide 'loafing' areas for ducks.
Before a seawall was constructed in 1611, the River Meon's estuary would have been visible from the Viewing Area. Water now escapes via the tidal flaps under the road bridge. At places in front of hides, there are posts and fallen trees in the river to provide resting places for birds, and close up views for birdwatchers.
These were created in 1975/76 to provide feeding, roosting and breeding habitat for waders and wildfowl in particular. Water levels are controlled to provide optimum conditions at particular times of the year. Levels are normally dropped at the end of the summer nesting season to provide shallow water with exposed mud, attractive to migrating wading birds. Some islands are covered in shingle for nesting birds. They need to be 'weeded' regularly whilst vegetation is allowed to grow on others. Nesting platforms for birds and perches in the water have also been provided.
Darter's Dip was created to attract dragonflies and damselflies - it is cleared regularly to maintain open water. The larger Walkway Pond has an island refuge and attracts not only dragonflies but birds such as Moorhens, Mallard and a variety of warblers.
These are maintained by removing silt and vegetation every few years so that open water is maintained and dominant species do not take over. Frogbit and Flowering Rush are two species which benefit from this approach.
When marsh and floodplain dry out, scrub and willow take over. These habitats are found round the perimeter of the reserve. Dead and decaying wood here provides ideal nesting and feeding conditions for birds such as Blue Tits, Wrens, Robins, Chaffinches, Blackcap and Great Spotted Woodpecker.
These are grazed by cattle through the summer and may also be cut mechanically in late August/early September. This controls more invasive species such as rushes, leaving areas of nutrient-rich grass for Wigeon and other wildfowl. Posbrook Meadows are managed as wet meadows, flooded in winter to provide feeding areas for both wildfowl and visiting Black-tailed Godwits.
Over 200 species of birds have been recorded at the Haven including residents plus winter or summer migrants. Over 300 plant families are found - 32 species are uncommon in Hampshire and six are nationally scarce. Mammals include Roe Deer, Fox and Badger plus Pipistrelle Bats and Harvest Mice. Grass Snake and Viviparous Lizard are most easily seen in summer together with 19 species of dragonflies and damselflies and over 30 species of butterflies.
Dogs (except guide dogs) are not allowed onto the nature reserve.
Tickets from the Visitor Centre. Admission to the Visitor Centre is free. Please book in advance for groups of more than 10.
You will be given a coloured sticker, to be displayed on equipment or clothing so that staff and volunteers know that you have paid - please keep your ticket in case we need to see it.
Guided Walk surcharge £1 per person
The Culture-all Passport gives you and your family free, unlimited access to all of Hampshire County Council’s paid-entry museums, attractions and countryside sites for one year, plus unlimited free parking.