The Chase is a nature reserve owned by the National Trust and although information on The Chase is freely available, one good source is a book by Potts, T.A. (1970) Newbury Borough Museum’s Naturalist’s Guide to Wild Life around Newbury Woolton Hill: Highham Printing Co., which covers many aspects and was used in compiling a number of items in this entry.
The Chase used to be owned by the Earl of Carnarvon who planted it as a spinney to preserve game after being granted an Enclosure Award in 1819. The lake was formed by damming the Sheepwash to produce power to drive the Blanket Mill.
In 1930 Sir Kenneth Swan bought The Chase to study birdlife in his own woodland. In 1944 Sir Kenneth fenced off The Chase before giving it together with some endowments to the National Trust on the understanding that it should be kept and treated as a nature reserve, that is to say preserved and maintained for the encouragement of the birds, flowers, trees and other features of natural interest and beauty which it contains. For a number of years The Chase was only open to organised parties of members of either the National Trust or the Hampshire Naturalists’ Trust.
This is the map of The Chase showing footpaths The Chase Map
The Chase has had a variety of birds over recent years including Finches, Tits, Warblers, & Woodpeckers together with other visitors. All the birds listed below have been sighted within The Chase.
A printable version for you to mark off any birds you spot is included below:-
Mammals recorded over the years include the Badgers, Bank Vole, Bats, Common Shrew, Dormouse, Grey Squirrel, Fallow Deer, Muntjac, Roe Deer & Woodmouse.
Following the enclosure the numerous Corsican Pine, Douglas Fir, Larch, Norway Spruce & Scots Pine were planted together Alder, Beech & Oak. At a later date Blackthorn, Hemlock, Holly, Hornbeam, Norway Maple, Poplar, Sitka Spruce, Sweet Chestnut, Tulip, Wild Cherry & Willow were planted.
Amongst the bramble and ferns you can find Heather, Honeysuckle & Wild Candytuft . The snowdrops are followed by Wild Daffodils, Bluebells, Lilies of the Valley,Early Purple Orchids & Yellow Balsam “Touch me Not” not to be confused with the Himalayan Balsam “Policeman’s Helmet”.
Reptiles to be found inlude the Adder, Common Lizard, Grass Snake & Slow worm.
Fish in the lake include the Brown Trout, Bullhead, Catfish & Lamprey.