SWANWICK Lakes Wildlife Reserve is an 80 acre reserve near Fareham, managed by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.
The landscape is almost entirely man-made and the lakes are former clay pits, which were used between the 1930s and 1970s for creating local bricks.
Some twenty years after the pits closed, the authorities built an air traffic control centre nearby, and decided to create a nature reserve next door.
What makes Swanwick so special is its scenic lakes, woods and meadows created by nature after industries left the site.
There are many uncommon kinds of wildlife, including great crested newts, nightingales and at least 24 species of butterflies, which have made the site their new home.
With our management and the help of many volunteers, we have managed to improve the reserve, the quality of food and shelter it offers different species.
In recent years we have cleared the scrub from the North East Meadow, with the help of grazing cattle, which has allowed wildflowers and orchids to flourish in its place.
As a result, the meadow is a buzzing hub of activity for pollinating insects, including bees which are in decline.
The reserve also provides a valuable space for people to relax and learn about wildlife. Its education centre hosts over 2,500 school children every year learning more about wildlife and conservation.
These ‘Forest School’ sessions take learning outside the classroom, and the feedback from teachers and parents has consistently been that children have become more curious, socially confident and physically co-ordinated after the sessions.
We also welcome many visitors from groups such as cubs, scouts, brownies and guides.
Trust staff are very proud of the way they help to inspire people across the whole age spectrum by sharing their wildlife knowledge.
There is also a great emphasis on activities that the whole family can enjoy together. They run a range of guided walks, talks and events throughout the year, offering a memorable wildlife experience.
The summer months are a great time to visit Swanwick Lakes with dragonflies darting across the water and butterflies dancing over meadows. You can either make your own way round the three marked paths with our trail guide, or join one of our guided walks.