Sibden Hill & Batt’s Copse
This Local Nature Reserve lies right in the heart of Shanklin, surrounded by housing on all sides. It provides an oasis in the middle of town for wildlife and people alike.
How to get there
On foot/By bike -Sibden Hill can be reached by footpaths from Carter Avenue and from Chatsworth Avenue. It is linked by a footpath to Batts Copse. Footpaths SS14 and SS99 cross Sibden Hill and footpaths SS15 and SS90 lead to Batts Copse. The Red Squirrel Trail (NCN 23) passes near the site and has an access track onto carter Avenue.
By bus/train – Shanklin bus station (Routes 2/3/22/24) or Carter Avenue (22) which is a ten minute walk for Sibden Hill or Batts Copse. Shanklin railway station. (Bus Timetables)
By Car – There is no car parking on site, some on street parking can be found in surrounding streets, please park considerately. Try postcodes PO37 7NQ and PO37 7NU respectively.
Parts of the site are steeply sloping and most paths are unsurfaced, Some areas can be reached on tarmac footpaths.
What to look out for
The present day vegetation includes woodland, scrub, bracken-dominated acid grassland and amenity grassland. The woodland is dominated by hazel on the eastern edge of the site with some garden escapes invading, including hydrangea and rhododendron. Moving west, the hazel becomes thinner and mixed woodland of oak, sycamore, hazel, elm, ash, beech and silver birch is found on the top of the hill with some hawthorn, blackthorn, rhododendron and gorse. There is elm scrub at the far west end of the site. The ground flora is dominated by bracken and bramble. Resident birds include garden species such as blackcap, treecreeper and jay , and passage migrants such as goldcrest, siskin, linnet and mistle thrush may be seen. There is some unimproved acid grassland almost completely covered by bracken, interspersed with areas of gorse, bramble and rhododendron. This bracken cover has an understorey of bluebell, sheep’s sorrel, greater stitchwort, rosebay willowherb and red campion. In clearer areas, honeysuckle, foxglove and sheep’s sorrel dominate the flora.
Batts Copse nestles in the relatively steep-sided valley of a small brook, part of which has been modified to accommodate a pipe. The woodland through the gorge is heavily shaded and the ground flora consists of hart’s tongue and male fern, nettle, bramble and cleavers. The wood south of the gorge, however has a longer history and the ground flora includes wood anemone, bluebell, ramsons and pendulous sedge. The three cornered leek is a distinctive plant in late spring and early summer. The canopy on this side of the stream is largely old, with wide spreading hazel and some oak standards. The northern part of the woodland is dominated by sycamore and wild cherry. The woodland is home to a variety of mammals including fox, bats, and hedgehog. Badger and red squirrel are known to visit the site. Scrub areas in Batts Copse have been cleared and planted with hazel and silver birch. The scrub attracts redwing, greenfinch, bullfinch and song thrush. There are also grass snakes, slow worms, common frog and common toad.
Managing the site
The amenity grassland on the western slopes is mown for recreational purposes.
There are various ways you can help improve and maintain our sites. We rely on conservation volunteers to help with many tasks and also need people who are happy to regular visit the site be our “eyes and ears”, this means we can respond much quicker to issues. Find out more here.
You can also help by becoming one of our regular supporters. Even giving a few pounds each month can make a real difference, with your donation being invested into site management and improvement work to benefit site visitors and look after our precious wildlife. Sign up here.