by Graeme Davis
Many Andover residents know of Ladies Walk it’s a stunning area with views right across town.
The walk was planted with an avenue of trees in 1863 to commemorate the wedding of The Prince of Wales to Princess Alexander. The trees are very mature and some are rotting providing habitats for invertebrates, fungi and bats, it’s also a rich spot in Andover for snail species like the Hairy Snail.
You might not be aware of the three meadows that make up the grassland nature reserve between Old Winton and Micheldever Road. This has been managed by Test Valley Borough Council and The Anton River Conservation Association by using grazing and scrub removal to restore the hills back to the meadows they once were.
In summer the hillside can be alive with butterflies like peacock, gatekeeper, meadow brown and marbled white. A purple glow from the orchids adds a touch of colour to the hills providing a great spot for seeing a moth, Clifden Nonpareil, which until recently was extinct in the UK.
The reserve is one of the few places left in Andover that is home to the common lizard which uses the hillside to bask in the summer sun. Slow worms can often be found on the walk too and you may spot one if lucky.
Ladies Walk reserve is a great place to take a seat, take in the views, and hear the buzz of the wildlife all around.