We do a lot of different things to prioritise conservation and nature recovery at Titchfield Haven, including coppicing, vegetation management and monitoring. This focus also encourages our wildlife to thrive, from the smallest insects up to larger mammals and birds of prey.

What our rangers do

Our rangers play a key part in our conservation and nature recovery projects. Their jobs change seasonally and with the weather to make the most of their time outdoors.

In autumn and winter, our rangers can be found willow coppicing and clearing scrub. In spring, their time is spent preparing for grazing animals. This includes repairing fencing and checking boundaries. Then, in summer, our rangers are on hand to keep public footpaths in good condition and maintain boardwalks, hides and other structures.

Bird Aware Solent: Coastal Code

Bird Aware Solent aims to raise awareness of the birds that spend time on the shores of the Solent. They help users of our rivers and waterways learn how to share the space with wildlife. We promote their Coastal Code to our visitors to help our migratory birds get the rest and food they need to survive.

About the Coastal Code

Oystercatcher by Chrissy Whiffen

How Titchfield Haven is helping conservation and nature recovery

Meon Pastures project

We’re focussing on improving the biodiversity on an area to the west of the reserve known as Meon Pastures. We have introduced very low intensity grazing with Highland cattle to encourage tussocky grassland habitat for voles, barn owls and kestrels.

Large, naturalistic dead wood habitats have been added to act as basking areas for reptiles and to attract insects. We’re encouraging more wildflowers by collecting local seeds and spreading them in the grassland, and we have planted scattered native trees to create a wood pasture.

We have exciting future plans to increase the area of grazing available to the cattle, over time this will form a mosaic of grassland, scrub and mature trees highly attractive to a wide range of wildlife.

Vegetation management

To make our paths accessible we cut back vegetation along public access routes. We try and avoid cutting in the spring when there are a lot of wild flowers flourishing. Where we can, we cut once a year in the autumn to encourage wild flowers. This is because in spring and other warmer seasons our wild flowers flourish, improving the habitat for pollinators.

Ivy is one of the few native plants that flower in the winter so we leave as much uncut as we can over the winter.

We leave patches of bramble where we can as it’s an excellent nectar source for insects.


We want to create the best habitat possible for breeding birds on the scrapes, and throughout the reserve. The islands on the scrapes are a great habitat for wildflowers as well as the birds. We also leave the flowers to seed before they’re cut in the autumn.


In winter, we coppice willows to encourage a varied age structure of willow throughout the reserve. Coppicing is a traditional technique where trees are cut at the base and allowed to regrow to create a sustainable wood supply. It is carried out today at Titchfield Haven to improve habitats.

We leave log piles to create habitats for insects, reptiles, fungus and small mammals. Willow is also stacked into a ‘dead hedge’ where possible, which provides a great habitat for small birds and mammals.


There are several ponds around the reserve that are a haven for dragonflies and damselflies. Water voles and grass snakes can also be seen in some of our ponds.


It’s important to track our wildlife so we can provide the best support and care possible. Birds, plants, insects and mammals (including bats) are monitored throughout the year and records are kept for future use.


We encourage birds and bats alike to nest on our site. Bird boxes and bat boxes are carefully positioned in trees on both sides of the reserve, and we also provide nesting platforms for terns. There are even safe areas for ducks and waders to nest without disturbance from predators. We recently constructed a large barn owl box which we hope will be occupied soon.


We protect areas of the reserve from visitors to avoid disturbing wildlife. By following our carefully located paths and enjoying bird spotting from the hides means you can enjoy the beauty of Hampshire’s countryside without disrupting the reserve’s residents.


Many of the meadows are grazed in the summer months by highland cattle to create an uneven sward (an area of short grass). This is a perfect habitat for overwintering birds such as snipe and black tailed godwits.

Highland cattle thrive on the rougher grazing and scrub found on our site, which helps keep the grassland open.


When walking through Titchfield Haven, you might spot several carefully positioned perches in front of the hides and in some of the ponds. This is to encourage birds like kingfishers to fish easily and gives dragonflies a sunning spot. We have larger perches in the river for cormorants, gulls, terns, and birds of prey.

Volunteers working in mud
Log pile