Late in 2012 a planning application was submitted to Hampshire County Council to construct a high technology plant to generate gas and electricity from waste. The location of the proposal was on the disused oil terminal next to Micheldever Station.
At first sight a disused oil terminal is not an obvious place for wildlife. The terminal is an old industrial site cut into the chalk hillside next to the mainline railway tunnel. The land around the tunnels at Micheldever has been renowned for rare wild plants for over a century. When Victorians engineers built the London and Southampton Railway through Micheldever they cut through the historic landscapes of Popham Beacons.
Old maps of the beacons show the ancient burial mounds of our Bronze Age ancestors set within a landscape of chalk grasslands and grazed woodlands. We don’t know what wildlife was at Micheldever when the railway was built but it is likely the wildflowers growing there went on to colonise the cuttings and spoil heaps thrown up by the tunnelling works.
Amongst the species for which Micheldever is renowned are the nationally rare and legally protected Cut-leaved Germander and the nationally scarce Spring Cinquefoil.