Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Four new nature reserves created in Hampshire

Lepe Country Park
Image caption The nature reserve status helps protect the area from inappropriate use and development

Four new local nature reserves have been created in Hampshire.

Danebury Hillfort near Andover, Lepe Point in the New Forest, Shawford Down in Winchester and Hayling Billy Line on Hayling Island will now be protected.

Their status as nature reserves were approved by the council last week.

Councillor Margaret Snaith said: "Everyday contact with nature is important for residents' wellbeing and quality of life."

Danebury Hillfort is a 39-hectare site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) and contains an Iron Age hillfort.

Shawford Down near Winchester is a 19.6-hectare site of chalk grassland and scrub and is grazed with Highland cattle. It is also a SINC.

Lepe Point forms part of Lepe Country Park in the New Forest.

Extensive work has been carried out by site staff and the recently formed Friends of Lepe Country Park gained funding for and made a pond on the site.

They have also constructed a path and boardwalk.

Hayling Billy Line lies along the west side of Hayling Island. It was the route of an old railway line from Havant down to the beach but is now a footpath.

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