Ref: CSFF130002

Lead: Matthew Norris-Hill,

Group members: 18

Length of agreement: 5

Area of groups (Hectares): 4453


The Winchester Downs landscape varies from open arable to river valley. It includes the source of the river Itchen and its upper reaches. The Hampshire Downs Chalk aquifer is central to the area. For these reasons the group decided that its focus is ‘Chalk & Water’. The group will deliver the following CS Priorities:

1. Biodiversity

1.1 Priority Habitats: · Lowland calcareous grassland & Lowland meadows · Lowland fens & floodplain grazing marsh; · Riparian; · Arable margins · Ancient woodland & Parkland

1.2 Designated Sites: · River Itchen & associated habitats (Natura 2000 site, SAC, SSSI); · Calcareous grassland e.g. Cheesefoot Head SSSI, Magdalen Hill SINC*; · Ancient Woodland e.g. Hampage Wood SINC; *SINC – Site of Importance for Nature Conservation

1.3 Priority Species: 6 CS priority species are recorded; turtle dove, lapwing, corn bunting, grey partridge, stone curlew, duke of burgundy; plus S41 species: grizzled skipper, dingy skipper, small blue, water vole, southern damselfly

1.4 Arable plant assemblage: An important arable plant area exists.

1.5 The Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package Management for farmland birds, bumblebees etc. (see 1.3 & 1.4 above)

2. Water Quality: Key issues for area: · Nitrate in groundwater drinking water sources e.g. Twyford Safeguard Zone; Phosphate and sediment in surface waters e.g. Cheriton Sediment Pathways Project; River nitrates & impact downstream of eutrophic water discharge into Solent & Southampton Water

3. Historic Environment: · SAMs e.g. St Catherines Hill Fort; Above/below ground archeology e.g. historic water meadows; Historic parkland e.g. Avington Park (RPG Grade II*) · Traditional farm buildings

4. Landscape: Hedgerows, trees, permanent grassland, field margins are all significant landscape features.

5. Woodland: ASNW, plantation ancient woodland sites (PAWS) and broadleaved woodland are present.

There are many synergies between CS priorities e.g. protection of soils to enhance water quality – benefits priority species & habitats; restoration of hedgerows – improves landscape, connects woodland.