Duck Hill

The National Trust ownership in the New Forest totals just over 1330 Hectares (3300 Acres), with the Bramshaw Commons making up nearly half.

The area of Duck Hill is situated in the south-west corner of Half Moon Common.

This area comprises of the hill itself, which is covered with semi-mature Scots Pine trees that were planted by the then owners, Paultons Estate, plus the mire that runs at the base of the hill to the west.

Valley mires are exceptionally rare within Europe, with an estimated 80% of the remaining mires found in the New Forest.

Duck Hill mire is exceptionally high quality due to the lack of past drainage, although this area had been in decline due to the encroachment of the Scots Pine trees creeping down the hill, plus the 20 acres of dense Rhododendron growing under the trees.

In 1987, The National Trust, with grant aid from the European LIFE II project, embarked on a major clearance operation of the Rhododendron and over a third of the Scots Pine trees that were growing on and adjacent to the valley mire.

Work is still on going to ensure the mire remains pine and birch free, plus annual control of the invasive Rhododendron.

This was extremely successful, with new growth of heather emerging on the cleared areas and very little regrowth of Rhododendron.

The 1867 and 1909 Ordnance Survey maps both show the occasional tree on the open mire and at the margins, but to the north of the mire there is only open heath with no Scots Pine.

Long term future management will be to thin out the older trees and allow the younger trees to grow on eventually leaving the area more open, with occasional scattered trees.

This is how the area would have looked 100 years ago.

Image of Half Moon Common © Copyright Annie Spratt