We walked a section of the Test Way near Totton, a town not usually synonymous with concepts of peace and rural beauty, but as is often the way with things, if you look hard enough you can usually find wildlife nearby. The nature reserve which follows the Test as it heads down to join Southampton Water is managed by the Hants and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. A land predominantly of water and marsh, it is navigable by boardwalks which stretch across the salt marsh and enable one to get right into the heart of it. It is a rich habitat where life is blooming, despite the close proximity of the busy port city of Southampton.
Evidence of man is never far away in the reserve (and I don't just mean L)
Looking across the marsh towards Southampton Docks.
A huge number of container traffic comes through the port every day, as well as luxury liners (above)
Incongruous in a rural setting: the high rise tower blocks of Redbridge
are visible across the marsh (below)
The boardwalks through the marsh (above) and some stepping stones (below)
If you need evidence that this is a place of damp,
look no further than the plants that call it home.
The main Portsmouth to Cardiff line runs alongside the reserve
The tide makes its presence known along the footpath,
although it was dry when we walked it
Ted, after his unexpected submergence in the water
Can you spot the cricket/ grasshopper?
I got very excited about the butterflies: I thought I'd manage to snap some Green Veins,
but on looking them up in my book when we got home I realised they were Large Whites.
NOT complaining though!
Bramble blossom. Blackberry season approaches...
All in all a lovely place to visit. Also great for birds with the estuary so close, and a huge number of plant species too, which I am ashamed to say I didn't know the names of half of. Worth a visit if you're ever passing.