Birdwatching in Emsworth
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History of the Havant Wildlife Group

 The Havant Wildlife Study Group began under the tutelage of Ralph Hollins, the well-known local naturalist, in 1995 with regular weekly meetings on Monday evenings and nature walks on Saturday mornings. When Ralph retired in Dec 1997 the group decided to keep the meetings and walks going on a cooperative, self-taught, basis. Although none of us are professionals, or in any way experts, we all had a burning interest in learning more about our local environment and wildlife. Many of the group subsequently developed special knowledge and interests which they were able to share with others, e.g., in birds, plants, fungi and trees. In December 2005 it was decided to stop the weekly Monday meetings and to have monthly meetings, mainly to discuss news and arrange the programme for the Saturday walks. However, the ever popular Saturday morning wildlife walks continued as before. We are always appreciative of Ralph's constant support (and occasional admonishment when we get something wrong).

 Ralph Hollins explaining some plants to Ros and Caroline in Bridge Road car park, Emsworth - 25.06.07


The walks take place every Saturday morning from 9.00 to 12.00 throughout the year and visit a variety of sites, generally within a ten mile radius of Havant. Attendance is usually around 10, with a range from 5 to 15. The emphasis is more on wildlife and less on walking. Progress tends to be fairly slow with lots of stops to study birds, flowers, insects, fungi, etc. Birds are of interest all year round, but in summer interest is mainly on flowers, grasses, sedges and insects. In autumn attention also turns to fungi. We are particularly fortunate in the Havant area in having a number of excellent wildlife sites, which we visit regularly.

All assembled in Bridge Road car park for the Emsworth walk - 26.01.08


Sites visted on a regular basis include South Moors, Hayling Oyersterbeds, The Kench, Farlington Marshes, Hilsea Lines, Milton Common, Emsworth Harbour, Brook Meadow, Hollybank Woods, Thorney Island, Nutbourne Marshes, Chidham and Cobnor penisula, Fishbourne Channel, Chichester Gravel Pits, Pagham Nature Reserve, Stansted Forest, Havant Thicket, Purbrook Heath, Old Winchester Hill, Catherington Down, Kingley Vale, as well as various countryside walks.

GWYNNE JOHNSON - a personal appreciation by Brian Fellows

Here is a link to Gwynne's page . . . Gwynne Johnson