Winchester City Council has commissioned a Biodiversity Action Plan for the district - a large and varied area which extends from Winchester to Micheldever in the north, and to Waterlooville in the south-east. The area contains a significant part of Hampshire's biodiversity, which it is everyone's responsibility to conserve and even enhance from its current state.

What is Biodiversity?

Biodiversity is the variety of life: birds, wild flowers, butterflies, trees, fungi, pond-life…even humans and bacteria are part of biodiversity. Biodiversity is under threat from many human activities locally and globally and the government has pledged to slow-down the loss of natural habitats and the species which live in them.

What is a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP)?

A BAP identifies particular priorities for conservation - species and habitats which are particularly threatened or declining in the UK. These include familiar animals and plants such as water voles and the bluebells, as well as many lesser-known ones. Equally important are the homes of these species (their habitats) which have also been identified because they are threatened through loss or neglect.

Winchester District's BAP identifies specific actions and projects on the ground which work towards the Hampshire and UK BAP targets for habitats and species.

Where is Winchester's biodiversity found?

The Winchester District covers a large and varied area, with wildlife habitats ranging from chalk streams to chalk downs and water meadows to woodlands. Places such as the Rivers Itchen and Meon, St Catherine's Hill and Old Winchester Hill are familiar havens for wildlife, but did you know that our district includes the ancient woods of the Forest of Bere and even part of the estuary of the River Hamble?

What does our BAP contain?

Our BAP outlines the priority habitats and species in the Winchester district, and makes recommendations for their conservation. Where possible, links are made with other initiatives already taking place. Many sites rich in biodiversity are protected as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) such as St. Catherine's Hill and the River Itchen. However, many of these places are isolated and vulnerable - our BAP seeks to maintain a linked-up network across the landscape allowing biodiversity to flourish.

Who is our BAP for?

Winchester District's BAP is in two versions: one gives a summary of the main priorities for the BAP, and gives practical suggestions and advice for individuals and communities living in the area about how they can give biodiversity a helping hand. The other version gives detailed technical information about biodiversity and how land should be managed for its conservation: this can be used by professionals working in the district.

NOTE: Details within this version of the BAP were correct, as far as the authors were aware, at the time its adoption (March 2007). Since that date, the UKBAP Priority List of Species and Habitats has been revised and the Natural Environment & Rural Communities Act (2006) has come into force. In the light of such changes, the BAP will need to be an evolving document and should not be seen as static. Winchester City Council will be responsible for ensuring the BAP is updated with such developments whenever feasible.