Town Common is a large area of heath straddling the old Ringwood
to Christchurch railway. As well as being a prime site for all six of our
native reptile species, its many shallow peaty pools provide the perfect
habitat for Black Darters, Emerald Damselflies and Small Red Damselflies
while the paths and track usually host hunting or
roosting hawkers in the bushes.
Earlier in the season the pools are alive with Broad-bodied and Four-spotted
Chasers holding their own against patrolling Emperors. This of course is
provided you have good weather! Choose a warm, sunny day with little or
no wind for the best experience, as the open aspect cools sufficiently
under grey clouds or in a strong wind. The whole site can suffer from flooding after an excess of rainfall, the summer of 2012 being particularly bad.
Another bonus is the relative quietness, with only the main track hosting the odd dog-walker or cyclist. The smaller paths may see the odd horse rider, but even they are restricted during reptile season. Park at the lay-by
here and follow the track south.