Bishop's Waltham The Moors

Flower-rich wet meadows, fen and woodland surrounding a group of springs and a mill pond, at the source of the River Hamble


About the site

An area of semi-natural woodland, fen, grassland and open water, Bishop's Waltham The Moors is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is of national importance for its unusual habitat.

The site is about ¼ mile south east of Bishop's Waltham on the B2177 opposite Waltham Chase Mill. The Mill almost certainly occupies one of the sites listed in the Domesday Book and was in operation until 1957.


The fen and meadows are traditionally managed with grazing. Orange Tip and Green-veined White butterflies lay their eggs on Lady's-smock flowers in May. Other spring wild flowers typical of damp, herb rich meadows include Water Avens, King Cups and the scarce Bistort. The Mill Pond is a good spot to see Kingfishers, Dabchicks and Emperor dragonflies. Snipe, Water Rail and Siskin may be seen in winter. There are also some impressive tussock sedges by the pond which have taken years to develop.

The Sandboils is the name given to one of several spring heads on The Moors which feed the River Hamble. It gets its name from the upwelling water creating swirling sandy patches in the gravelly streambed. On frosty days steam appears to rise from the spring head as if it were boiling.

Contact us

South Area Office, Ranger Depot, Pylands Lane, Southampton SO31 1BH

Phone 023 8040 2534

Activities and facilities

Good for walking Dogs allowed Local Nature Reserve