Bassetts Mead, an area of just over 10 hectares of open public open space, lies to the east of Holt Park.  It became a SANG (Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space) in 2011 and is currently managed by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust  for recreation and biodiversity, on behalf of Hook Parish Council.

Bassetts Mead has the River Whitewater, a chalk stream (one of only 200 in the world !), flowing through it.  The habitats on-site comprise grazing meadow and floodplain habitat along with ponds, mature trees and woodland and bankside vegetation.  The area is used by dog walkers and bird watchers alike and there is a circular walk around the site: Bassetts Mead Walk

A SANG is a Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace, which is provided in order to satisfy the Avoidance Strategy for the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA). It was introduced to protect the ground-nesting birds in the Thames Valley Heaths. This affects all of Hook except the extreme south-west and means that, for every house to be built, developers must identify and allocate a specific area of fields or woodlands for the householders to use for any leisure activity e.g. dog walking. If such land isn’t available, the development is not allowed to proceed.

Meet our Ranger – Tom

Photo of Tom - HIWWT ranger for Bassetts Mead

Our Ranger for Bassetts Mead is Tom from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT). Tom is the Hook Reserves Officer and also looks after a further 400 acres of nature reserves in and around Hook as well as Bassetts Mead SANG.

Having grown up in Hook over 10 years ago, gone away to study and work in various places across the UK, he now finds himself back in Hook conserving the very sites he used to visit as a child, Bassetts being one of them! He feels this gives him a great connection with the site as it enables him to see how nature has changed and adapted over the years. He thoroughly enjoys Bassetts Mead as, not only does it provide a great space for nature to thrive, but it also focusses on sharing the space with people (and their furry friends!). It is hard to choose his favourite features of Bassetts, so he has narrowed it down to two: The river Whitewater and Holt Copse. The river Whitewater is a real lifeline to Bassetts as it brings fresh, oxygenated and invertebrate rich water straight through the site. Providing an abundance of food for the fish, birds and dragonflies that live on and around it. Holt Copse is another favourite due to its amazing floral displays early in spring. We regularly get over 200 Early Purple Orchids flowering and a beautiful carpet of Bluebells too, as well as other important woodland species like Wood Anemone, Solomons Seal, Bugle and Lesser Celandine. He hopes you enjoy Bassetts as much as he does and if you ever see him on site, please do stop for a chat as he would love to hear about your favourite features too.