Itchen Valley

Winnall underwater by Michel Roggo

The Itchen Valley is a stunning area of water meadows and chalkstreams. Our conservation projects in the Itchen Valley involve habitat restoration, education and expanding habitats to benefit wildlife and improve wetland habitats.

This unique area contains remnants of species-rich fen and old water meadows. The flowing crystal-clear waters of the River Itchen are home to brown trout, Atlantic salmon, southern damselfly, otter and water vole.

The remaining chalk grassland is of significant importance for wildflowers and butterflies such as the chalkhill blue. But these rare and remarkable species are under increasing threat from non-native species and changes in land-use.

With your support, and through continued working with our many project partners, we are able to make significant improvements to rejuvenate these natural spaces, protect species and build better-connected habitats.

Where is it?

Itchen Valley Living Landscape map

The Itchen Valley is an area where two landscapes, the chalk downs and the valley of the River Itchen, come together.

Both landscapes are linked by their ancient farming tradition, and today they form one vital Living Landscape.

The Living Landscape encompasses the length of the River Itchen from its tributaries around Alresford, through the Trust reserve at Winnall Moors, past the chalk downland of St Catherine's Hill, via the urbanised areas of the lower Itchen to where it drains into Southampton Water.

Nature reserves

The Itchen Valley is home to two of our nature reserves:

Winnall Moors – this reserve, spanning approximately 64 hectares of floodplain, offers a glance at the full range of habitats that once would have been present along the whole river, providing vital habitat for water vole, otter and brown trout.

St Catherine’s Hill – this reserve, with spectacular views over Winchester and ancient monuments, covers 58 hectares of flower-rich chalk grassland with an abundance of beautiful wildflowers such as clustered bellflower and striking butterflies such as chalkhill blue and brown argus.