Roadside verges and landscaping make up a significant proportion of our countryside that allows wildlife to flourish.

Main roads, motorways and roundabouts provide a natural corridor within years of being constructed.

Smaller lanes and pathways provide the same function but in addition have a long-established flora and fauna that make them rich in a variety of wildlife.

The walk along Veals Lane was chosen to investigate the plants, insects and birds that have made this area their home and also to walk along a little-travelled part of the Waterside.

Veals Lane was accessed from West Street near the Marina in Hythe.

A small footpath sandwiched between houses and a drainage channel, led out past the Marina and into the countryside towards Marchwood.

The man-made channel drained the low-lying area behind Dibden Bay.

The Bay which was once mudflats has been filled in to about three feet above the high tide level with the intention of building a container port.

The footpath follows the original coastline as can be seen by the presence of mooring ropes and hawsers sticking out of the bank.

A short stretch also borders the railway line to Fawley.

Rainfall in the early part of the year and the recent warm weather has meant that annual plants have grown at a prodigious rate and the footpath at the rear of the houses was quite overgrown.

Geraniums thrown out from one of the houses had also become established with patches of pink and blue flowers.

Rushes, Sedges and Cord Grass lined the drainage channel.

The Cord Grass was planted in order to stabilise mudflats and can be seen in many areas along the South Coast but has been marooned further inland along the drainage channel.

Hogweed and Hemlock Water Dropwort were seen growing in the shady areas and Corky Fruited Water Dropwort on many of the hedge side banks.

The Hemlock Water Dropwort as its name suggests can be poisonous.

Corky Fruited Water Dropwort is not a name heard every day but has become quite established in the local area and can be seen as a small version of Cow Parsley growing along many of the roads.

The purple and yellow flowers of Bittersweet or Woody Nightshade which clambered through the hedges are sometimes identified wrongly as Deadly Nightshade which is a stout erect plant with brown flowers.

Roses have flowered prolifically in many gardens this year and the wild varieties of Dog Rose and Field Rose were in flower along the hedgerows.

Hidden at the bottom of hedges wildflowers such as Lesser Knapweed, Heath Bedstraw, St John’s Wort, Red Clover and even a Broad Leaved Hellebore were present.

veals lane walk - summer meadowThe short grass of the low-lying meadows allowed Birds Foot Trefoil to cover the ground alongside White Clover which attracted many Honey Bees, White Tailed Bees and other insects.

Meadow Brown Butterflies were a constant companion throughout the walk attracted to the flowering Blackberries which also hosted the occasional Large Skipper.

Marbled White Butterflies patrolled the vegetation along the drainage channel.

Blue Damselflies were attracted to the water with Keeled Skimmers and a Gold Ringed Dragonfly on the higher vegetation.

The insistent call of Wood Pigeons around the houses gave way to the more tuneful Blackcap and Chiffchaff along the lanes.

The walk provided plenty of interest but on the hottest June spell for 40 years became hard work on the return back to Hythe.