For friendly, expert advice call: +44 (0) 1962 733051 Office open Mon to Fri 8:30am - 5:30pm and Sat 9am - 1pm

Join us at a special Open Day in July & celebrate Jane Austen’s bicentenary!

Jane Austen Trail, Chawton

Jane Austen Trail, Chawton

On Friday 7th July we will be offering a special Open Day featuring a moth-trap inspection, a picnic on Noar Hill and an evening BBQ. The bicentenary of Jane Austen’s death falls in July so, if you are a fan of the great writer, why not combine our special Open Day with a chance to enjoy the Jane Austen celebrations which are being held in and around Chawton at this time (see below).

Our expert staff will be on hand to chat with you about your travel plans for 2017 and beyond (though you will need to phone the office in advance to book a time for an appointment with the staff member best suited to discuss your area of interest).

Small Elephant Hawkmoth

Small Elephant Hawkmoth

Special ‘Breakfast with Moths!’
If you wish to arrive early, we will be holding a special 'Breakfast with Moths' at 9.30am, and you'll be able to identify the local species collected in our moth-trap the previous night with our moth experts, Tom Mabbett and Dave Shute over hot drinks and bacon sandwiches.

Picnic on Noar Hill
Just 4 miles south-east of the Naturetrek offices is Noar Hill, a nature reserve (managed by the Hampshire & IOW Wildlife Trust) celebrated for its chalk grassland butterflies and flowers and, in particular, its variety of orchids. The reserve covers an area of old lime-pits giving a unique ‘hills and holes’ landscape which, together with appropriate grazing, creates the microclimate necessary for an abundance of wildlife.
In early July, the ground is carpeted with colourful Common Spotted, Fragrant, and Pyramidal Orchids whilst butterflies include Marbled White, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, and Large and Small Skippers. Yellowhammers can often be seen on the plentiful Juniper bushes on the reserve and the fields at the reserve entrance. The banks and hollows make great places in which to enjoy a picnic lunch whilst looking for some of Britain’s scarcer orchid species such as Musk and Frog Orchids. Up on the ridges of the reserve the glorious views extend across the South Downs.

Pyramidal Orchid

Pyramidal Orchid

11am – meet at Noar Hill for a guided walk by our in-office experts Dave Shute (plants), Tom Mabbett (birds) and David Phillips and Paul Stanbury (butterflies)

– Picnic lunch hosted by Naturetrek

– Naturetrek staff will return to office (guests are welcome to continue botanising and join us later for our BBQ!)

Evening ‘sausage sizzle’ BBQ
Join our friendly staff at Naturetrek barn

Join our friendly staff at Naturetrek barn

To round off this special Open Day, we will be hosting a summer evening 'sausage sizzle' at our Mingledown Barn offices from 5.30pm until 9pm. Whether you’ve been with us from the start of the day, enjoying our moth-trap and sumptuous picnic on the glorious orchid-filled Noar Hill, or are just joining us for the evening, all are welcome to attend! What’s more, our friendly expert staff will be on hand to chat to you about your wildlife travel plans throughout the evening and will be offering a guided wildlife walk around our lovely meadow fields and woods. What better way to end our summer Open Day than to relax in beautiful countryside surroundings over a glass of wine and delicious food with fellow wildlife enthusiasts?

Combine our 7th July Open Day with Jane Austen events & sites
As literature aficionados will be aware, 2017 is the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen, who lived in Chawton. Apart from being based in Chawton, Naturetrek is delighted to share a more intimate connection with the great writer – Jane Austen’s brother once owned the land on which our new Mingledown Barn office is situated.

Places & events of interest to Jane Austen fans!
In the picturesque village of Chawton, just a short walk from our offices, is Chawton Cottage where Jane Austen lived and wrote during the last eight years of her short life. Now called the Jane Austen House Museum this is, arguably, the most important place for the Jane Austen pilgrim to visit as it’s the building most significantly associated with her writing. You’ll be able to see the bedroom Jane shared with her sister, Cassandra, and there’s a good collection of Jane Austen memorabilia too. Also in the village is the magnificent Elizabethan manor, Chawton House, the former home of Jane Austen’s brother, the squire Edward Austen Knight.

Jane Austen’s birthplace, the village of Steventon, is just half an hour’s drive from Chawton. The rectory where she was born is no longer there, but the church where her father was the vicar still stands and has a small display dedicated to her. Jane Austen was buried in Winchester cathedral, in the north aisle. She died in a cottage (a few hundred metres from the cathedral) where she’d been living for about eight weeks prior to her death on 18th July 1817. The Winchester Discovery Centre will be housing an exhibition of five portraits of Jane Austen to mark the bicentenary.

Other sites of interest in & around Chawton
There are many sites of interest in and around Chawton should you be visiting our offices. A few miles away to the south-east lies the village of Selborne, made famous through the writings of its curate in the 18th century, the Reverend Gilbert White who wrote ‘The Natural History of Selborne’. The Wakes, Gilbert White’s charming house, is also well worth a visit; as well as an award-winning tea room, it incorporates the Oates Museum which commemorates the life of Captain Lawrence Oates, hero of Captain Scott’s 1911/12 expedition to the South Pole, and his uncle Frank Oates, the 19th century African explorer.

Naturetrek's next 3 Open Days:
Friday 7th July (details above)
Friday 4th August
Friday 1st September

In addition to the above Open Days which will be held at our Mingledown Barn offices, there will also be a chance to meet Naturetrek staff at Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve on Friday 5th May.

Contact: please call Gail on 01962 733051 or email to register your name, tour (or area) of interest, and to arrange a time for a meeting with the staff member best suited to discuss your interests.