Butterfly Conservation
saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
Hampshire and Isle of Wight Branch
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Yew Hill

Yew Hill is Butterfly Conservation's small reserve on the south-western edge of Winchester. Part of it is five acres of open downland crossed by deep gullies, said to be the old roads into Winchester. The other part of the reserve, to which public access is limited, holds a covered reservoir belonging to Southern Water.

Photo Tim Norriss

White-Letter Hairstreak
Photo Peter Eeles

Some 25 species of butterfly can be seen at Yew Hill including the occasional White-letter Hairstreak whose caterpillars feed on nearby elm trees. Buckthorn is important for the caterpillars of the bright yellow Brimstone butterfly, while the dainty Holly Blue needs holly, or dogwood, and ivy. So trees and shrubs have been left in strategic places to encourage these butterflies and give them shelter.

Scrub clearance and grazing help to maintain a flower-rich downland. Cowslip, milkwort, scabious and thyme abound, together with several orchids, the most frequent being the fragrant orchid. Knapweed broomrape is easy to find, with its tall brown spikes.

Photo Tim Norriss


Photo Peter Eeles

Yew Hill is quite isolated from other good butterfly habitats. This isolation poses a danger to those butterfly species at Yew Hill which do not disperse far because, if a species has a poor year and dies out, there are no colonies near enough to replenish their populations. Purple hairstreaks frequent the oak trees on the reservoir area.

Funding from Natural England helps to support a programme of educational access to our reserves. Visits can be provided for both schools and adult groups. including leisure groups like photographic societies etc.

Photo Tim Norriss


Holly Blue
Photo Peter Eeles

If you would like to know more about their management please contact our Reserves Officer, whose details can be found in the Committee section.

Location Map

Use the map below to approach the reserve. At the edge of the built-up area, just south of Miller's Lane and above the letter T in the word Tumuli below, park on verge near pumping station (SU451269) and walk up the bridleway to Yew Hill.

Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service.
Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number 100015237.

Reserve Map


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