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Itchen Valley Titchfield Haven
Grid Reference SU 53222 02412
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Titchfield Haven is an RSPB reserve situated on the coastal flood plains of the River Meon halfway between Southampton and Portsmouth. There is an entry charge for non-members but at least you should manage to park your car without charge along the sea wall.

The reserve has a dedicated dragonfly pond on site which involves a bit of a walk being close to the middle hide., but the walk in should keep you occupied with several damsels occupying the grass and reed borders lining the path. Sheltered sections also provide prime hunting sites for larger dragonflies.

The highlight and a good reason to visit is one of the only reliable sites in Hampshire for the Hairy Dragonfly, with several males patrolling the pond and nearby ditches, occasionally joining resting females in the surrounding reeds. The lush vegetation is also home to large populations of Blue-tailed Damselflies and you should be able to see every colour form within a few square metres.

Choose a sunny, wind-free day for the best experience, but be aware they occasionally close for maintainance work.

Update 2016

It pains me to say the once bountiful experience of Darter's Pond hs suffered recently with the removal of surrounding trees and scrub. What was once a well-sheltered pond is now open to the full force of the wind with no local foliage for dragonflies, so although they may well remain on site the local Odo population has probably dispersed to more comfortable surroundings. For this reason I can no longer recommend this as a worthwhile day out, especially where there is a 4.00 a charge for entrance.

If you are in the area I'd suggest taking a walk along the old canal path to the east where you should be able to see the majority of the resident species taking refuge in the scrub bordering the footpath.
Key Species
Emperor Hairy Dragonfly Common Darter Broad-bodied Chaser Four-spotted Chaser
Black-tailed Skimmer Banded Demoiselle Azure Blue-tailed Large Red
Itchen Valley Index

All Content   Paul Ritchie 2010