The Loddon Valley from Winnersh to Stratfield Saye and includes the lower reaches of the River Blackwater and Swallowfield Park and the north end of Stratfield Saye Park in Hampshire. The area within Hampshire is indicative only. The extent is largely dictated by the extent of the alluvium and sand and gravels in the valley.
Joint Character Area: Thames Basin Heaths.
Geology: Alluvium and River Terrace sand and gravel.
Topography: Flat riverside land.
River: The River Loddon is a Wildlife Heritage Site and the southern end is a SSSI. It supports a range of uncommon aquatic species.
Lowland Meadow: Stratfield Meadows SSSI is the main area of this habitat.
Wet woodland: there are some small patches of wet woodland close to the River and the wetter parts of some of the larger woodlands are also wet woodland.
Parkland: Swallowfield Park is an extensive area of parkland with grassland and lies mainly on the sand and gravel.
Lowland Mixed Deciduous Woodland: A small number of woodlands are found within the area including Great Wood at Swallowfield. There is an extensive area of recently planted community woodland near Lower Early.
Species: the farmland near Swallowfield is important for farmland birds such as Yellowhammer. These are also found along the River Blackwater along with Lapwing.
Access: Generally quite limited although there is a large community woodland site in the north.
Targets and Opportunities: River management, restoration and protection, management and re-creation of lowland meadow habitat, management of wet woodland, management of parkland. Management of farmland for farmland birds. Mineral extraction is proposed in parts of the valley which should provide opportunities for habitat creation including reedbed creation. The Environment Agency have produced a biodiversity strategy for the Loddon catchment. In the long term this area should be connected to the main River Blackwater target area and could take in streams such as the Barkham Brook.
f you would like to get involved with projects in this BOA please contact us for current opportunities.