Sopley Common Nature Reserve
A significant area of heathland of varying types with some high dry, sandy areas and low boggy areas which have interesting pools.
|Site Name||Sopley Common Nature Reserve|
|Sopley Common Nature Reserve|
Sopley Common: a split personality -
Sopley Common is a significant area of heath of varying types with some high, sandy areas and low boggy areas which have interesting bog pools. There are also woodland areas, both broad-leaved and coniferous. When the heather is out is a particularly lovely area; the heath is more akin to the New Forest rather than the Purbeck heath with a greater proportion of ling than bell heather. As a result the colouring is more of a delicate mauve than a deep purple.
The reserve is on both sides of the Ringwood road, each with their separate entrance so don't miss out and visit one half and think you have finished! The western side is quite sandy and dry with ling and dwarf gorse. The eastern side is much wetter with boggy areas and lots of rushes and damp ground loving plants. The boggy pools are largely inaccessible as the ground is very wet but you can get to some to see the dragonflies, damselflies and raft spiders.
I suppose the downside to Sopley is the proximity of Bournemouth International Airport and two busy roads so it is not the most peaceful of walks but the flowers and insects are not bothered and there are plenty of these to see. It is certainly well worth a visit, especially in late summer.
|NVC Community||Description||No of Species|
Trichophorum germanicum - Erica tetralix [Deer-grass/Cross-leaved heath] wet heath
Quercus robur - Pteridium aquilinum - Rubus fruticosus [Pedunculate Oak/Bracken/Bramble] woodland
Fraxinus excelsior - Acer campestre - Mercurialis perennis [Ash/Field Maple/Dog's Mercury] woodland
Fraxinus excelsior - Sorbus aucuparia - Mercurialis perennis [Ash/Rowan/Dog's Mercury] woodland
Erica tetralix - Sphagnum compactum [Cross-leaved heath/Compact Bog-moss] wet heath
Quercus - Betula - Deschampsia flexuosa [Oak/Birch/Wavy Hair-grass] woodland
Betula pubescens - Molinia caerulea [Downy Birch/Purple Moor Grass] woodland
Crataegus monogyna - Hedera helix [Hawthorn/Ivy] scrub
Alnus - Fraxinus - Lysimachia nemorum [Alder/Ash/Yellow Pimpernel] woodland
Ulex minor - Agrostis curtisii [Dwarf gorse/Bristle bent] heath