In 1991 the massive new cutting through this ancient chalk landscape was the site of one of the first great GREEN actions, who can forget Swampy, and the camp of ‘hippy tree hugger types’. We all speed through it now and I have even heard it said that it was an environmental success!! Well the cameras have gone and the troubles forgotten, but it is worth mentioning that part of the mitigation (which had developed into nice chalk grassland) was itself destroyed to make way for a park and ride for Winchester. My gripe today is that despite being the focus of so much media attention (which one would assume would lead to thorough steps to make the best of a controversial scheme), I pass a maturing habitat of the worst possible kind, ie Buddleja scrub. The Butterfly bush thrives in the xeric conditions of exposed chalk, and is the blight of old quarries and chalk faces. Nothing grows under it, or lives on it, it is a dusty, hideous tangle which shades out our native flora.
My alternate route to the sea passes the much deeper A3 cutting beside Butser Hill, yes considerably older it may be but it is not infested by Buddleja and provides a slowly maturing species rich face with abundant planted Juniper and self seeded yew etc, all done before protest was fashionable (see below).
Ok the top of the Twyford cutting has planted Juniper and is herb rich, but the faces are a disgrace, a cheap low maintenance Kop out. They protested for nothing!!