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Greywell Moors

Greywell Moors is one of the premier wetland sites in north Hampshire. At the head of the River Whitewater, springs well up from the chalk along the edge of the valley for a distance of over half a mile, forming a calcareous peat wetland or fen. In the past the Moors were regularly grazed by cattle and were almost completely open. Earlier in the last century, the site was famous for its range of flowering plants, bryophytes and insects. However, as grazing gradually declined in mid-century, an Alder and Willow scrub or "carr" began to build up, closing in the open fen and suppressing the ground flora. Notable species such as Slender Cottongrass and Great Fen Sedge disappeared, while others were restricted to the small remaining open areas.

Since taking over the Moors as a nature reserve in 1989, the Hampshire Wildlife Trust has undertaken a steady campaign to win back the open fen from the encroaching woodland and restore the site to its former glory. This has involved the felling of considerable numbers of quite sizeable Alders, a task in which BCV has played a significant part, especially in the early years. Once a reasonable open area had been created, grazing by cattle was reinstated and they have enthusiastically undertaken the task of breaking up the dense stands of Lesser Pond Sedge, allowing a more varied flora to spread back across the fen, a process that appears to be well underway.

Highlight species include Marsh Helleborine, Fragrant Orchid var. densiflora, a host of sedges including many common species and some scarce ones, Common and Broad-leaved Cottongrasses, Marsh Lousewort, Water Avens, and Bog Pimpernel. Even the much maligned Alder carr has species of interest such as Marsh Fern and the rare shrub Mezereon. The site is also of considerable importance for bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) of marshy ground, playing host to a number of scarce species. Hope still remains that some of the lost species will eventually reappear.

The site is also named the Ted Wallace Reserve, after the eminent botanist, who did much work here.