The Variety of Habitats and Settings
The varying habitats in Froyle are appreciated by residents and are crucial in maintaining the diversity of species within the parish. Our best habitats include 18 SINC sites (Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation). These areas comprise woodland, two Saxon boundaries and four calcareous grassland areas.
Unimproved (wild flower rich) calcareous grassland, is now a rare habitat in Hampshire with 98% loss in the last 150 years.
The majority of SINC woods in Froyle are mentioned in a 1771 woodland survey and retain elements of ancient semi-natural woodland flora. (Hampshire Record Office ref 49m68/172 or download the .pdf file).
Specific habitat requirements mean many plants and some creatures found on these SINC sites occur nowhere else in Froyle. A further priority habitat, contributing to Froyle’s biodiversity, is the Northern Wey chalk stream (supporting fly fishing) and associated wet grassland. The rich flora and fauna includes bullhead, freshwater shrimps, damselflies and stream water crowfoot. (Northern Wey Trust)
Hedgerows, our gardens, ponds, ditches, field margins, copses, sunken lanes, pockets of old pasture land, wasteland and roadside verges make a significant contribution providing shelter, food and breeding opportunities for many species. Some act as wildlife corridors, linking key habitats through farmed landscapes, enabling species to disperse and colonise new areas. Froyle’s characteristic garden and agricultural hedgerows (some ancient) contain many species such as wild rose, hawthorn and hazel, which produce nectar, pollen, berries and nuts to sustain a variety of wildlife. Linnet and yellowhammer are found in our farmland hedges while house sparrows are a feature in many gardens. Bats also forage along our hedgerows and use them as an aid to navigation.
Old walls are also an important feature and habitat in Froyle, some are home to the rare fine-leaved Sandwort.
The old pastures in our cemetery and churchyard are pretty in spring with snowdrops, sweet violets, primroses and cuckoo flower. The crumbling walls and tombs provide hibernation opportunities for the great crested newts.
The disused quarry in Lower Froyle (Well Lane) is south facing, warm and sheltered, and rich in native flowers, grasses, butterflies and birds, uncommonly encountered elsewhere in Froyle. The major part of the quarry is a (regenerating) lowland calcareous grassland SINC supporting a colony of ‘small blue’ butterfly, rare in the wider local area. Other recorded species include dingy skipper and small heath butterflies, bullfinch and turtle dove. These creatures and the habitat type are of priority concern at a national level .
More about biodiversity.
More about wildlife pond.