|LCT2 Pasture and Woodland Associated with Heathland||
LCA2B North Baddesley and Chilworth Woodland Mosaic
North Baddesley and Chilworth Woodland Mosaic is a mix of large areas of woodland including plantations, predominantly along the northern edge of Southampton, with open areas of arable land, and rough grassland with heathland located to the west of Chandlers Ford. The areas of arable farmland have generally poor quality hedgerows, with fields collectively forming larger open areas that are contained within the woodland framework.
There are pockets of high-density residential development adjacent to Southampton and Chandlers Ford. A number of golf courses occupy sites within woodlands, for example at North Stoneham and Nightingale Wood, with golf courses also located within open areas south of North Baddesley. The M27 runs through the landscape to the south, with junctions and slip roads encroaching into the wooded and open arable landscape on either side.
Geology: Complex area of Bracklesham Beds, overlain in the south with Reading Beds, London Clay, and Bagshot Sands.
Landform: Gentle undulating ground sloping south to Southampton Water, becoming more pronounced south of the M27.
Drainage: This area lies between the Itchen and Test catchments and has numerous streams and ponds.
Biodiversity and Vegetation Pattern
Native broadleaved woodland is an important habitat in this area. Oak is the most common tree species, with abundant Birch. Ash is uncommon and Field Maple is rare. Sweet chestnut is also locally abundant and has often been planted as coppice. Other trees found in low frequencies include Holly, Whitebeam, Beech, Geum, and Rowan. Damper soils have Alder and Poplar. The shrub layers usually have abundant Hazel and Hawthorn. Ground flora includes Bluebell, Wood Anemone, Red Campion, Honeysuckle, Bramble, Woodruff, Wood Sorrel, Dog Violet, Wood Spurge, Twayblade and Greater Stitchwort. Typical orchids include Lesser Butterfly Orchid, Early Purple Orchid, Narrow-leaved Helleborine.
Mesotrophic grasslands are also characteristic habitat of this area, including some traditional grazed hay meadows. They are dominated by fine-leaved grasses such as Red Fescue, Crested Dogs-tail and Velvet Bent. Coarser grasses such as Cocksfoot and Yorkshire Fog are not so frequent. There is a variety of flowering plants that in some cases can comprise a substantial proportion of the herbage. This include White Clover, Red Clover, Birds-foot Trefoil, Knapweed, Bulbous Buttercup, Yarrow, Yellow Rattle, Selfheal and Oxeye Daisy. Typical orchids include Bee Orchid, Common Spotted Orchid, Pyramidal Orchid, Early Purple Orchid.
Other notable habitats include occasional patches of lowland heath dominated by heather, together with mosaics of acid grassland, patchy woodland and scrub. Often the valleys have wet areas. Ancient and semi-natural woodlands link with hedgerows and provide an important resource.
Local Historical Influences
Parliamentary field enclosure can be found close to several heath associated settlements and principally close or within the valley of the River Test at the western end of North Baddesley and Chilworth Woodland Mosaic. Further north the dominant form of historic landscape are regular assarted fields with straight boundaries typical of 19th or 20th century woodland clearance. Close by are surviving 19th century plantations further supporting the 19th/20th century date for the nearby regular assarted fields.
Earlier pre-1810 woodland does survive. When this is combined with the evidence for extensive assarting this suggests the presence within this area of the Test Valley Borough of a significant forested environment, possibly associated during the prehistoric period with the New Forest some miles to the south and west.
Settlements within this area are concentrated towards the south and east, linking to the areas of existing development of Southampton and Chandlers Ford. This has resulted from localised growth of the individual settlements in the 19th Century and in the extensive development of new suburbs along major roads and the incorporation of smaller settlements within the greater conurbation of Southampton in the 20th Century.
Within the larger and more regular assarts farmsteads appear to be considerably more spaced apart than within areas where smaller assarted fields predominate. The various elements of woodland at the southern end of this character area appear to have no farmsteads within them.
Local Settlements and Features of Built Form
Chandlers Ford: Heath Associated Settlement Type
Chilworth: Heath Associated Settlement Type
North Baddesley: Heath Associated Settlement Type
Nursling (Eastern portion): Heath Associated Settlement Type.