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Greywell – 15 Aug 2012

Julia Cooper and Ian Duddle led a walk round Greywell on Wednesday 15th August, starting and ending at the Fox and Goose pub. The route started out across the road and onto the towpath of the Basingstoke Canal, passing over the entrance to the Greywell tunnel. Two Dabchicks were feeding in the crystal-clear water and the banks were colourful with pink Great Willowherb, creamy Meadowsweet and yellow Common Fleabane. Marestails and Starworts were growing in the canal. There was a brief diversion to explore the ruined Odiham Castle. The walk then continued across the edge of the Hants and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust’s (HWT) Warnborough Greens reserve and into a section of their Bartley Heath reserve, before entering Butter Wood. The trees provided welcome shelter from the rain, which was gradually becoming heavier. At the top of the wood, Devil’s-bit Scabious and Heather were growing in the wide grassy rides. The scenery changed again, as the footpath led down across Greywell Hill Park, with distant views towards Odiham airfield and beyond. Sticky Groundsel was spotted at the side of the track to Greywell Mill. The springs just upstream mark the headwaters of the River Whitewater. Once again, the water was crystal clear and the bankside vegetation was colourful with Purple Loosestrife and pink Hemp Agrimony. The path led downstream to the church, then back along the village street to the pub.

After lunch, some of the group braved torrential rain, which fortunately eased off before the visit to the HWT’s Greywell Moors reserve. The Trust did a considerable amount of tree felling last winter, to open up the fen and try to reduce the drying-up effect of the trees. Plants seen included Water Avens, a Trifid Bur-marigold, Water-plantain and Marsh Fern and several small frogs were spotted.