Fishlake Meadows Nature Reserve

Fishlake Meadows nature reserve© Tony Wright

Find out more about the creation of Romsey's newest nature reserve

Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust has been appointed to establish and manage the new Fishlake Meadows nature reserve in Romsey.

This 60 hectare wetland was secured by Test Valley Borough Council, and is renowned for its incredible birdlife. It supports over 150 species, including hunting osprey, elusive bittern and migratory cuckoo. It's also home to otter, water vole, 24 species of dragonfly and damselfly, and an impressive variety of plants.

Its special habitats established after farming of the land ceased over the last two decades. Unusually the reserve now boasts a mix of floodplain habitats rarely seen elsewhere in our chalk river valleys.

Careful management is required to maintain the wild character of the reserve while preventing the spread of trees and scrub across open habitats like the grassland, reedbeds and ponds, which would diminish the habitat for the species that make it special.

Osprey in flight © Darin Smith Azure damselfly at Fishlake Meadows © Tony Bates Snipe © Ian Cameron-Reid


Frequently Asked Questions

How will the site be managed?

The Wildlife Trust will formally begin managing the nature reserve in July 2017. Look out for Trust officers who will be wardening the reserve and looking forward to speaking with local residents. We hope to involve the community from the start to help us enhance habitats on the site and share the wonderful wildlife that lives there, through the development of a local educational programme. More information on our plans and what you can expect to see happen on the site will be shared in due course.

How will I be able to visit the reserve?

The creation of Fishlake Meadows is an opportunity to create and protect an accessible natural asset in the heart of Romsey. Following public consultation by Test Valley Borough Council, we hope to significantly improve how visitors access the reserve both physically and visually. Subject to feasibility studies, this may include repairs to the surface of the canal path, increased accessibility for low-mobility users, new permissive walking routes and new infrastructure like boardwalks and hides. Responsible dog walking will be promoted along existing rights of way.

How can I get involved?

We will be looking for local volunteers to help us look after the reserve, including helping with practical conservation management and wardening. If you want to get some fresh air, exercise, and meet new people, register your interest with us, and we'll get back in touch when we're putting the volunteer team together. We’ll also be running education and engagement events on the reserve – keep an eye out for more info as these develop.

If you have any questions, or would like to get involved in Fishlake Meadows nature reserve, email us on