Hackett’s Marsh Local Nature Reserve

Wet meadows and saltmarsh on the shore of the River Hamble near Bursledon. Restricted access

hackett's marsh cows

About the site

Hacketts Marsh is closed to the public due to a restrictive covenant order which was inherited with the sale of the property. Access is only available on guided walks or by prior arrangement with the site manager. A public footpath runs along the western boundary. The saltmarsh and meadows are grazed by cattle in summer and autumn on a carefully controlled rotation.

There is only one other site in Hampshire where there is a natural transition from unimproved pasture to saltmarsh without any artificial delineation or tidal control. Elsewhere sea walls have been constructed, adjacent areas of grassland improved or the saltmarsh invaded by common reed.

Site history

The Titchfield Estate map, c1610, is the earliest document which describes the area around Old Bursledon. The course of the River Hamble appears not dissimilar from today and shows Hacketts Marsh as ancient countryside. This means the fields, woods and roads date from before A.D. 1700. They are not the result of planned large scale enclosure.

The drove was used by Commoners as a route for livestock down on to the marsh from the road and is undoubtedly an ancient feature.

The saltmarsh vegetation is dominated by saltmarsh grass with sea purslane, glasswort, sea lavender, thrift and sea aster. The reserve is of particular importance for a wide range of insects and forms an important feeding area and high-water roost for waders.

Contact us

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

Phone 023 8040 2534