Here is a guide to local wild places and the organisations which look after them.


Portsdown Hill

This is a ridge of chalk that lies to the north of Portsmouth Harbour stretching from Fareham to Havant.  On the north side is farmland, horse paddocks and public open space, while the south side is a mix of chalk grassland and scrub, much of it designated as a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). The SSSI  and various other parts are managed by an officer employed by Portsmouth City Council, with the help of numerous volunteers.


Friends of Portsdown Hill

While the volunteers on the hill do not belong to a definite group, the Friends have a membership and committee structure which enables them to organise meetings and support work on the hill. Please see :  for lots of information about the hill and the Friends' activities.


Langstone Harbour

Langstone Harbour lies between Portsmouth and Hayling Island. It has more commercial activity than Chichester Harbour, but a lot less than Portsmouth Harbour. The islands provide a valuable refuge for bird life and are managed by the RSPB. 

You can join the Friends of Langstone Harbour, who have a keen interest in the conservation of the harbour. See

For details about management and activities in the harbour, see the Langstone Harbour Board website



The Trust is the leading nature conservation charity in the two counties, protecting local wildlife and inspiring people to love nature.  For more information  visit


Farlington Marshes Wildlife Reserve 

Best Times to Visit

Winter - wildfowl

Autumn / spring - migratory waders

Summer - breeding birds, butterflies, dragonflies

Size : 125 hectares / 308 acres 

The majority of the circular walk around the reserve is on the sea wall, about 4km long in total (approximately 2.5 miles).  Several areas of the reserve are open access. Please keep dogs on leads at all times. Wellingtons or sturdy boots may be needed if conditions are wet. 

Farlington Marshes is the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust’s oldest reserve and a great favourite amongst the many visitors, who keep coming back to enjoy the internationally important wildlife and lovely views. Although Farlington is not far from Portsmouth there is a sense of being out in the wild as you walk out on the sea wall footpath with views inland over the reserve or out over Langstone Harbour. Farlington, was reclaimed from the sea centuries ago and is internationally important for the bird populations that it supports, as well as being a blaze of colour in spring and summer with many flowers and butterflies. To make sure that Farlington stays as a haven for wildlife the open grassland is maintained by grazing cattle and scrub control is managed by the Reserves Officer. The marsh is grazed by cattle for most of the year, which helps to maintain it at the right length for Brent Geese to graze. 

Internationally important populations of migratory birds, particularly large populations of Dark-bellied Brent Goose and Black-tailed Godwit, can be seen here. Thousands of waders can be seen on the lake at high tide especially in the Autumn, and the Deeps (see map) are particularly good for wildfowl. Looking out over the mudflats of the Harbour thousands of feeding waders can be seen in the winter. During the summer, islands in the harbour have large numbers of breeding gulls and terns. 

Farlington Marshes has ongoing bird research projects carried out by the Trust in partnership with other organisations (local and international). This important work not only helps us to better understand the behaviour of the birds on our reserve, but also the wider context which will help us to ensure their survival. 


Practical Conservation Work with the Trust

Volunteering is a great way to help your local environment, meet new people, learn about a career in conservation, learn new skills, accumulate volunteer hours for Trident and Duke of Edinburgh award schemes, or simply to give something back to your local community.


Please bring a packed lunch if you intend working all day, as well as stout shoes, Wellingtons or boots.  You are welcome to join us for all or part of the day.  Children under 16 and dogs are not usually allowed.

Help us manage Farlington Marshes one of the best bird watching sites on the south coast. We meet every Tuesday from 10am-4pm to carry out practical work on the marshes and other sites around Langstone Harbour. Tasks include path clearance, bramble cutting, fencing, hedge trimming. We also need help to check the cattle. No previous experience is necessary. To get involved at Farlington or elsewhere, fill in the on-line form on the Trust's website under Get Involved, Volunteer.


Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

The RSPB manages the islands in Langstone Harbour as nature reserves, primarily for breeding and roosting bird life.

The Portsmouth local group has monthly meetings at St. Andrews Church Hall on the 4th Saturday of each month at 7.30pm to hear a variety of wildlife talks.  For details call Gordon Humby on : 02392 353949