A wildlife rich, former parkland site, situated close to the village of
Nea Meadows is situated to the East of Christchurch Borough, within the
Nea Ward and close to the village of Highcliffe. The area comprises of
a variety of natural habitats including mixed meadow, wetland and woodland
as well as formal recreation. The site is surrounded by residential development.
Designated as a public open space, Nea Meadows is currently managed for
nature conservation and recreation. It also incorporates a flood defence
Nea Meadows is part of the former grounds of a
large 18th Century estate, existing as formal parkland in the demesne of Nea
House, which was demolished in 1940. Landscaping, wooded areas, some standard
trees, ornamental species and remnants of the original fish pond survive from
At 5.5 hectares, the site is relatively small in terms of nature conservation.
However it is ideal as an educational resource and forms an important
stepping stone for migratory species, along the Highcliffe to Christchurch
Harbour wildlife corridor. The site is also high in wildflower diversity
with over 250 species recorded. The site was formerly declared as
a Local Nature Reserve on 24 July 2005.
The main lake at Nea is relatively new (1987-88) and was constructed with
the primary purpose of being a flood defence measure. Although its overall
species diversity is low, the lake contains a variety of coarse fish.
The rights to fish the lake are owned by
Christchurch Angling Club and fishing on the lake is restricted to CAC
members. There is also a section of the lake that has been designated as a
sensitive wildlife area where angling is not permitted.
The Friends of Nea Meadows and the Nea Meadows Advisory Panel were
formed in 1997. The former arranges regular public meetings (attended by
a Countryside Warden) to discuss and hopefully resolve any concerns or
problems. The latter consists of representatives of users group and
the council. Nea Meadows is recognised for good management and has recently
received a "best environmental initiative" award in the regional
heat of the Britain in Bloom competition.