Hampshire Countryside Service

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Do you have a question about Zebon Copse? Seen a plant or animal you can't identify?

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8 questions so far


02/10/2014 03:52pm


I saw a squirrell in Zebon woods this morning that was almost completely red except for the side of its face which were grey. Markings quite defined. Just a grey squirrell with a lot of red? Or have we got some sort of hybrid?

The Ranger replies

These kind of markings are actually quite common. It is a reversal of the usual grey squirrel with red markings on its face. More than likely a subtype of the grey squirrel. We do have black and 'brunette' squirrels appearing in the UK, all sub-species of either the grey or the red.



14/06/2014 06:02pm

Craig Morris

I live in Camus Close and wanted to know the impact to the Copse of residents in The road opening their gardens up to use the Buffer zone established between their property boundry and the Copse

The Ranger replies

The main problem with garden boundaries opening directly onto the Copse is fly tipping in terms of garden waste, and with that comes the introduction of non-native species, things like yellow archangel, rhododendron and other garden plants. The buffer zone is exactly that, a buffer, creating a semi-natural safeguard between housing development and natural spaces such as Zebon Copse. Wildlife gardening can be achieved to minimise the impacts.



11/10/2013 11:48am

Sarah Tucker

My daughter was walking our dog yesterday afternoon in Zebon near the canal. She was stung by what she describes as an enormous orange hornet. There were several & they actively chased her as she ran to escape. The sting is still painful, much more so than, for example, a normal wasp sting. Have you had any other reports of these orange hornets? If so, we think it would be prudent to warn people of their presence. My daughter was very upset by it & doesn't want anyone else to stumble across them, if indeed they are living in Zebon.

A Ranger replies

I am sorry to hear that your daughter has been stung and that she was so upset by it. I hope she is recovering now. We have not had any other reported incidents.

It does sound like a Hornet, although they are often calmer and far less likely to chase and sting people than the “normal” social wasps. It might be that there is a nest locally which had been stirred up by being disturbed by something else, like a woodpecker and unfortunately, your daughter came along at the wrong time. All of the social wasps can become dopy at this time year, so can be more likely to sting. It’s quite possible that they are nesting in an old tree in this area, but would not normally consider Hornets to be much of a risk though. We will of course look into the matter to try and ascertain if there is a nest nearby.



09/09/2013 08:29am


this is a question for the zebon copse ranger who was on duty today 4/9/13 I was surprised to see what was in zebon copse this evening when I took my eldest son for our evening stroll. My son said it all to be honest What have they done here daddy they have ruined it? was his words to see what you guys call coppicing in the Zebon wood Fantastic that great care was taken you can see how neatly your crafts people took off branches  Ummm woodland management  What did we see in the woods today was a joke normaly a perfect start and end to a day disgracfull

A ranger replies

It is always easy to look at such works when they are in process and take a dim view of such management. Part way through a job, branches may be left un trimmed and the place can look a mess. However these works are being undertaken with the consent and approval of both Natural England and the Forestry Commission. Next spring once the cutting is complete and the hazel stands have been protected from deer the benefits to the woodland will be clear. The extra light to the ground will encourage the spread of ground flora, which will benefit a whole range of wildlife including small mammals. The hazel stands will bush out thickly providing suitable nesting sites for scrub nesting birds and a range of invertebrates will benefit from the extra light which can penetrate the canopy.

Already butterflies and dragonflies can be seen using the area and I would expect this to improve greatly, hopefully we might see such butterflies as silver washed fritillaries on a more frequent basis.

There are a total of six coops that have been planned for cutting over a 12 year rotation, so one coop every two years. This will provide for a range of successional stages of growth within the woodland, maximising diversity and providing a wide range of habitats within the wood. Some of the wood has been deemed not suitable for coppice reintroduction and will be left as mainly non intervention woodland.

All of our rangers are qualified in conservation management or another biological discipline and all of the works are being undertaken as part of nature conservation grant schemes.



14/02/2013 02:23pm


Would one of the rangers be able to take a group of Beavers Scouts (6-8 yrs) on a walk in Zebon Copse on Friday 8th March between 5-6.15pm.

A Ranger replies

Thanks for your interest regarding a Ranger-guided walk at Zebon Copse. Unfortunately, none of the rangers are available on the date requested (8th March). Please email northern.sites@hants.gov.uk to arrange a visit, letting us know if you have any other dates on which you would like to arrange a visit, how many children you would like to bring, and if there is any particular theme you would like to cover during the walk, with any particular games/activities. There is a small charge for guided walks, of £1.75 per child for a one-off visit, with a minimum charge of £25. We would also always recommend that a short pre-visit with the leader of the group be arranged prior to the visit, to discuss health and safety issues, assess the ground and conditions and organise suitable activities for the children. We look forward to hearing from you.



13/06/2012 09:12am

Jo Lewis

Would it be ok to bring about 60 children down to Zebon Copse at some point in the next few weeks for a minibeast walk?

A Ranger replies

We offer a number of environmental educational activities at Zebon Copse, including pond-dipping, mini-beast hunting and other woodland games relating to food chains or adaptations of wildlife.
Further information on our education sessions, prices and how to book.



08/06/2012 09:39am


My name is Harry and I am 7 years old. I am doing a project about noctournal animals for school and i am looking at Bats. I live on Zebon Copse and would like to know about the bats that live in the woods near to my house. Do you know anything about them?

A Ranger replies

Zebon Copse provides a relatively safe haven for a variety of species within a fairly built-up residential area. The Basingstoke Canal that Zebon Copse backs onto provides a useful corridor for a variety of species, linking the site to other quiet non-residential areas by towpaths, hedgerows and open fields. Further to this, the proximity of the site to Greywell Tunnel, a collapsed canal tunnel occupied by vast colonies of bats including some rare species, has lead to the development of a bat monitoring project, in order to accurately identify which species are utilising the site. This project, involving the positioning and yearly surveying of 20 batboxes around the site, is still in its early stages, and it is likely to take anumber of years before we get a clear idea of which bats are using the site. So far, recorded bat species include Pipistrelles (Pipistrellus pipistrellus), Brown Long-eared bats (Plecotus auritus) and Daubentons (Myotis daubentonii).

Perhaps the greatest association with bats in the area is the Greywell Tunnel. The tunnel is situated at the western end of the Basingstoke Canal and was built between 1788 and 1794. During the 1970s a local Naturalist, Andrew Watson, decided to investigate the tunnel, only to find something quite amazing: bats and lots of them! It seemed that the collapsed tunnel’s cave-like environment, humidity and constant temperature made the site ideal for hibernating bats. The number of bats now using Greywell tunnel for hibernation is believed to be far higher than visual counts suggest. It is recognized as supporting Europe’s second largest hibernation population of the Natterer’s bat. The tunnel was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest in 1985.

Most British species will roost in natural cavities in trees. Roosting opportunities tend to be more readily available in mature broadleaved trees. These might be the obvious rot holes or cavities created by woodpeckers, but also the not so obvious torn or split tree limbs and areas of loose bark. British bats are very small, and often don't need much space to roost! Deadwood is essential in providing roosting and foraging to bats along with a whole range of native British species especially invertebrates. This is why at Zebon Copse we often leave dead trees standing or lying where they have fallen, as long as they are safe. Water is also important for foraging, as many insects breed around water, providing important food sources for bats. The new pond at Zebon Copse attracts many bats - they can often be seen feeding here after dusk from Spring to Autumn.

Here at Zebon Copse, we run Ranger-guided Bat Walks each autumn, where you can use a bat detector to hear and practice identification of different bat species. Keep an eye on our notice board and/or website for the date!



30/04/2012 05:46am

Byron Godwin

I would like to do some volunteering as part of my Duke of Edinburgh Award. Would it be possible to have some dates for upcoming volunteering events?

A Ranger replies

We currently run monthly workparties, which alternate between Sundays and Wednesdays. Everyone is welcome, but please be advised that under 16 year olds will need to be accompanied by an adult. The next workparty will be on Wednesday 2 May, followed by Sunday 17 June. Dates are advertised on regularly updated posters on the noticeboard on the Reserve (near the swing bridge) and around the housing estate, as well as in email updates sent to the Friends of Zebon Copse mailing list. If you would like to join the mailing list to recieve monthly updates regarding current management, news of the species which exploit the reserve, as well as work party schedules and visitor events, please send your name and email address to northern.sites@hants.gov.uk.

Additionally, if you wish to increase your hours of volunteering, you may also choose to help to manage the reserve by picking up litter around the Reserve in your own time, using our provided litter-bags and litter-pickers. In this case, please contact the rangers directly at northern.sites@hants.gov.uk.

Details of the workparties
We meet along the tarmac path that runs from Sylvester Way to Londlandes at 10am, and finish around 1pm. All tools and refreshments are provided but you are advised to bring gardening gloves and sensible footwear.


Review Ref. 490740


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