Geology of the Parish
Boarhunt parish has a very varied geology on account of its position along and across the Portsdown ridge. This is very apparent in the variety of soils encountered in various areas of the parish. Although part of the village is situated in London Clay soils, the more southern parts of the parish are situated on chalky soils especially further up Portsdown Hill. The ridge itself is the product of the resistance of its chalk to erosion whilst the softer sands and clays on either side have been worn away. Many springs and underground streams contribute to the high local water table. The River Wallington and its tributaries flowing through the parish provide a natural run-off.
The countryside of the Parish
The landscape in and around Boarhunt parish is probably regarded as its greatest asset. The presence of the Forest of Bere at the northern end of Trampers Lane provides opportunities for beautiful walks for villagers and visitors alike, and the views across Trampers Lane towards the Southwick Estate and Portsdown Hill are also frequently referred to by villagers as a great source of beauty and enjoyment.
Views into and out of the village
Boarhunt is often described as a hidden village, since from most vantage points on the edge of the parish, little of the village of North Boarhunt can be seen as its buildings are screened by mature trees such as oaks, alders, and chestnuts. From Nelson’s Monument, or anywhere along the top of Portsdown Hill, the view is one of tranquil pastures, fields and forests. The lack of large housing estates, substantial housing or industrial development greatly contributes to the appeal of the village. However, the village also enjoys the proximity of large cities and their amenities without losing its strong rural identity and sense of community. The rural setting also allows stunning views of the night skies. This is mainly due to the low level of light pollution thanks to the low population density and strong local resistance to the use of excessive street lighting.
Natural assets of the Parish
There has been a constant evolution in the flora of the parish due to the variety of its soils and to man’s intervention in clearing wooded areas for agricultural and ship building purposes. However, most of the woodland of southeast Hampshire was originally part of the Royal Forest of Bere and owes its survival to the legal protection afforded to such royal hunting preserves. Recently, the English Nature and the Hampshire County Council, prompted by the widespread clearance of ancient woodland throughout the country, have collaborated to produce several publications. These reveal that some herbaceous plants are only to be found in woods with a long continuous history, such as those of the Southwick Estate. One plant in particular, Solomon’s Seal is a specialty of Hampshire woodland and only occurs in abundance in ancient woodland such as those found in and around Boarhunt. Foxgloves and bluebells also fill the woods with fragrant and colourful displays every spring and summer. In recent centuries, as Portsmouth increased in size, North Boarhunt became a market garden settlement, particularly on the lighter chalky soils, whilst on the more mediocre clay soils, mixed farming was developed. 6 Landscape and Surroundings Boarhunt Village Design Statement Landscape and Surroundings View from Goathouse Farm, looking South towards Trampers Lane Fields of rape, looking down from Portsdown Hill The fauna of the parish is very rich and varied due to the presence of deciduous wooded areas and ancient hedgerows – a variety of wildlife can be seen throughout the year feeding in or passing over the fields such as fox, roe deer, woodpeckers, egrets, owls, and wood pigeon. Fieldfare and redwing are winter visitors whilst buzzards frequent the summer skies. There are many butterflies ranging from Red Admiral to Common Blue as well as glowworms and bats. The abundance and diversity of wildlife in and around the parish is much enjoyed and appreciated by its inhabitants and visitors who rate.