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  • Writer's pictureSim Elliott

A first visit to Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve, on the Solent, Hampshire. 15.01.22

Updated: Feb 24, 2022

Titchfield Haven is located on the coast of the Solent, almost directly opposite Cowes on the Isle of White, and just to the north east of Lee-On-the-Solent. I reached the reserve by public transport. Details of the journey, with train and bus times can be found at the end of this post.

The Reserve covers 369 acres of the Meon Valley, encompassing a mosaic of natural habitats. River, fen, pools, reedbed and meadow are carefully managed, giving protection to a range of special wildlife. Water Vole were re-introduced in 2013 and Ratty can now frequently be seen in the canal and ditches on the Reserve. Nature at Titchfield Haven | Hampshire County Council (

These maps are screen shots from: Explore the Reserve | Hampshire County Council (

Birdwatcing and Wildlife

The reserve is a year-round attraction; it’s a winter refuge for ducks, geese and wading birds and it’s a summer breeding ground for the rare Avocet. In the past, sightings include a pair of breeding marsh harriers and a Squacco Heron. Birdwatchers often remark how close they can get to the wildlife, thanks to the posts in front of the hides and fallen trees in the river where birds rest. Sometimes otters play in the river as well. The larger Walkway Pond has an island refuge and attracts birds such as the Moorhen, Mallard and a variety of warblers. You can reach every hide via the network of paths and boardwalks that meander through the natural landscape.

Birds seen: Brent Geese, Redshanks, Oystercatchers, Ringed Plovers, Dunlin, Little Grebes, Canada Geese, Mallards, Shovelers, Teal, Wigeon, Gadwall, Shelducks, Lapwings, Black-Tailed Godwits, Snipe, Avocets, Turnstones, Little Egrets, Coots, Moorhens, Starlings, Great Crested Grebes, Carrion Crows, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Marsh Harriers, Starlings, House Sparrows, Carrion Crows, Magpies, Black-Headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Great Black-Backed Gulls, Long-Tailed Tits, Great Tits, Pied Wagtails

Along the Solent shore to Titchfield

A view of Victoria and Albert's Isle of White Osbourne House

from next to the Osborne View pub!

Hill Head Sailing Club

Canada Geese flying over the entry to the reserve

Mallards and Turnstones in the small harbour of the River Meon, as it enters the Solent, next to Hill Head Sailing Club

A great sign from Bird Aware Solent. We raise awareness of the birds that spend time on our Solent coastline and encourage everyone to share our shores with wildlife. Home - Bird Aware Solent And sadly very needed; I saw a dog owner with his two dog, walk his dogs, off lead, straight into a flock of Oystercatchers and Brent Geese, foraging on a shingle tombolo just next to this sign. All these birds flew off immediately, wasting valuable energy. Bird Aware Solent has an excellent list of suggested shore walks: Rangers' recommended waterside walks - Bird Aware Solent and a very useful page of bords that can be seen on the Solent: Meet the birds - Bird Aware Solent

Different tidal streams of water in the Solent meeting.

Looking into the reserve on the way to the visitors centre. Canada Geese, Lapwings, Herring Gulls, Black-Headed Gulls, Wigeon and Cormorants

The sightings board in the visiots centre

(I looked hard for the Eider Ducks, but couldn't see them!)

Reserve map

Boardwalk Trail (east side of the Meon)

Marsh Harrier over the Meon, and reed on western banks of the river,

Canada Geese on the Meon

A Teal

The Suffern Hide

A Great Red-Headed Woodpecker from the board walk.

The Meadow Hide

Brown water form the minerals in the soil from the boardwalk to the Meadow Hight

What yoi can see from the Meadow Hide

A Great Tit in the trees along the boardwalk

A not-great photo of a Long-Tailed Tit in the trees along the board walk.

An owl sculpture

From the Knights Bank Hide

A Grey Heron

Herring Gulls, Oystercatchers, Black-Tailed Godwits, Lapwings, and Cormorants

Canada Geese, Herring Gulls, and Oystercatchers including a leucistic Oystercatcher (with white spots)

Fairy/Elf doors for children to look out for

From the Solent shore front - between the reserve walks

Mallards near the mouth of the Meon

Canada Geese near the mouth of the Meon

Turnstones in Hill Head Harbour

A Carrion Crow on a bench, next to the bench on which I ate my packed lunch

A Brent Goose on a shingle tombolo in the Solent

An Oystercatcher along from the Brent Goose

Scrapes Trail (west side of the Meon)

South Scrape

From the Meon Shore Hide


Pied Wagtail

Carrion Crow



and a Black-Headed Gull, Coot, and Lapwings

A Teal

Oystercatchers, Back-Headed Gull, Lapwings, Avocets and a Mallard

Shelducks, Gadwall, Lapwings, Mallards, Black-Tailed Godwit, Oystercatchers

Shelducks, Gadwall, Lapwings, Herring Gulls, and a Black-Tailed Godwit

Lapwings, Wigeon, Teal and a Snipe

Female Teal

Black-Tailed Godwit and Lapwing

A pair of Shovelers, shovelling


A male Shelduck showing off, to a prospective mate/ And Lapwings

A Black-Tailed Godwit with Lapwings, Real an a Shelduck at the back.

From the Pumfrett Hide


Inside the Pumfrett Hide

North scrape

Walking back to the west entrance

A Woodpigeon standing on the rails of a viewing point, looking at the birds

Bret Geese flying east to west over the Solent

Little Grebe, at the bottom of the Meon

Looking over the Meon

Along the Solent shore walking past Hill Head to Stubbington

Brent Geese in the Solent

Dunlin on the Solent shore

Ringed Plovers


Brent Geese landing

Starlings in the rigging of yachts in Hill Head Sailing Club

Toward Lee-on-the-Solent

A Little Grebe in the harbour

Mallards and Black-headed Gulls in the harbour

Hill Head Harbour, looking west

Redshank, Hill Head Beach

Sun seeing over the Isle of White

I took the train from Brighton to Fareham, changing at Chichester (journey time: around 1hy 20mins; two trains an hour). Rail times can be found here: National Rail Enquiries - Official source for UK train times and timetables). Then took the X5 bus from the bus stop opposite Fareham Rail Station to Stubbington. From Stubbington it is a 20 minute walk to the reserve entrance; for details see: X5 - WestQuay - Gosport Bus Station – First Portsmouth, Fareham & Gosport – (hourly service at weekends; every 20 minutes on weekdays; journey time: 13 minutes). It is possible to get the 21 bus from Fareham to Hill Head Road, right next to the reserve, but it only runs every two hours on weekdays and there are four buses a day on Saturdays; see: 21 - Fareham Bus Station - Hill Head Road – First Portsmouth, Fareham & Gosport –

But on the way back! A sign of the times; train drivers in covid isolation.

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