Bramshill Plantation


I must confess to keeping this fabulous little place close to my chest as it's a firm favourite of mine and a default location when it's looking a tad cool or windy down in the New Forest or on weekends and Bank Holidays when the latter attracts the crowds and subsequent traffic problems.

Common Blue

Sharing almost the same diversity as Warren Heath just to the south Bramshill is a former gravel extraction site with plenty of open water surrounded by woodland with small pockets of lowland heath within the catchment of Eversley Forest.


For first-time visitors I suggest concentrating on Long Lake, an aptly-named relatively-shallow lake with reasonable shore access and plenty of healthy emergent vegetation. For a man-made water body the diversity is, in my opinion, superb with Large Red, Azure, Red-eyed, Small Red-eyed, Blue-tailed, Common Emerald and the inevitable Common Blue.

Red-eyed and Common Blue

Fans of the larger species can enjoy early-season action with Downy Emerald, Hairy Dragonfly and Four-spotted Chaser followed by Emperor, Black-tailed and Keeled Skimmer while summer sees the arrival of Common and Ruddy Darter, Brown, Southern and Migrant Hawker.

Black-tailed Skimmer

One of the reasons I love Bramshill is the level of over-water action on a hot, sunny day. Hundreds of Damsels can be seen clinging to the emergent plants or flying low in tandem. Tenerals rise in impressive numbers towards the treeline or, if your lucky, to the abundance of bank-side scrub offering plenty of opportunities for the photographer.

Common Darter

If that wasn't enough to wet your appetite there are the paths either side of the lake where on a good day every footstep prompts a sighting, whether its Skimmers, Darters and Chasers basking on the gravel track or Hawkers hunting above your head, frequently perching nearby on gorse, heather, bramble, willow, birch and sallow.

Four-spotted Chaser

You can spend a whole day at Long Lake, however there is a lot more to see if you are prepared to dig a little deeper. If you follow the path along the north-east shore you will reach a small fence leading you to a wide forest track. Turn right towards a cross road and you will find an open scrubby area which is used extensively by resting and feeding Odonata.

Downy Emerald

At the cross road turn right to lead back to Long Lake or turn left until you reach another junction, turn left again and you will come across two ponds situated either side of a path with plenty of gorse and other scrub offering perfect resting perches. Only one of these ponds allows close access although in my experience just exploring the scrub will bring results..


At the south-east corner of the pond follow the track east-south-east and you will find a small clearing with a small stream where you can find Golden-ringed and Beautiful Demoiselles along with several others taking time out among the scrub. Walk around the clearing to return or follow it south where there's another small pond alive with duck and frog chorus.

Emperor and Common Blue

There are more ponds to the north & east of the triangle which I've only looked at once; small, wooded and probably ideal for Downy and even the elusive Brilliant Emerald which I have seen here on one occasion.

Migrant Hawker

Bramshill benefits by its close proximity to the River Blackwater which provides the perfect corridor. Beautiful Demoiselles can frequently be found in large numbers around the site usually sunning themselves in warm, sheltered pockets.

Ruddy Darter

There is so much to explore and even I haven't exploited every possibility. To conclude I must mention the hidden ponds. These small, shallow ponds created within a clearing offer an alternative habitat to the larger lakes and each have their own little charms.


To access the clearing take the second right-hand path from the entrance until you reach a break in the trees on the right. Opposite you will find the entrance where the clearing will open out after crossing a small ditch. Head south-east following a faint path until you reach the three ponds.

Brilliant Emerald

There is another pond back near the entrance and yet another larger wooded pond hidden away to the west which can be reached by following a small path leading through a gap in the trees.

Common Darter

In my opinion Bramshill Plantation is a wonderful site for dragonflies and well worth the effort to explore. The main paths can be busy with dog walkers and therefore parking may be limited but there are other places to park along Wellhouse Lane and Ford Lane however please be sensible and avoid parking on private property.

Common Emerald

There you have it - the newest entry for Where To See Dragonflies from Hampshire Dragonflies. If you have enjoyed this entry please show your appreciation by clicking the icon below.

Southern Hawker
Created By
Paul Ritchie


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