19 Hills, Ringland

A grant from the Veolia Trust let us undertake habitat creation and improvements at a flood-prone site in Ringland, known locally as 19 Hills.

This open space between Ringland Circle, Ringwood Avenue and the Bishpool and Treberth Estates is accessed from the bottom of Ringwood Avenue, from opposite the health centre at the bottom of Ringland Circle, or from the top of Ringland Circle.

A wetland area has been created with improvements to the footpath allowing easier access.

It is a good place to go nature spotting on your own, with your children, grandchildren or even your school or scout group.

Remember to wear wellies or boots as there is no surfaced path and you could get muddy!

Grassland and trees

A large part of 19 Hills is sweeping, open grassland, with plenty of hills which can easily be accessed from Ringland Circle.

Once you have admired the view across to Christchurch and the Celtic Manor, explore the grassland by rolling, running or walking down the hills.

Once the children have burnt off a bit of energy, see how many different plants you can find in the grass (it’s not all grass, honest!), and begin to explore the trees which are scattered across the grass.

Here are some links to help:

The brook

It is very peaceful in 19 Hills once you are at the bottom of the hills.

You will probably hear the babbling brook even if you can’t see it.

There are not many spots where you can get through the thicket of hazel, bramble and oak to see the water, but where you can, you will see quite a clear stream where you could sit and listen for a while, or if you have a small net with a fine mesh (or even a plastic sieve!), try stream dipping.

Stream dipping

Put about 1-2cm of water from the stream in a light coloured tray (you could stick a sheet of scrap white paper to the bottom of a baking tray) then sweep your net around in the stream.

Try not to get too much mud or sludge, and go for the edges or around any plants to get the most creatures.

Gently turn your net inside out inside the tray and swish it in the water to release everything you have caught.

Have a good look to see what you have found - the Field Studies Council has some guides to help you identify what you have caught.

Return any creatures carefully to the stream soon after you have identified them.

Please remember to cover any fresh cuts you may have with plasters to stop infection.

The ponds

Three small, shallow ponds have been created out of the naturally wet area right at the bottom of 19 Hills and heading towards Ringwood Avenue.

They may look muddy and unattractive but they are a fantastic habitat for lots of creatures and different plants as well.

These are the kind of creatures that like the muddy edges and shallow water:

  • Dragonflies
  • Frogs
  • Newts – smooth, palmate or great crested
  • Toads
  • Pond skaters, water boatmen and other water insects
  • Swallows
  • Grass snakes

You may spot a few if you sit and watch, you could also try pond dipping, in the same way as stream dipping.

Please remember to cover any fresh cuts you may have with plasters to stop infection.

Find out more about the creatures that might live in and around ponds on the Freshwater Habitats Trust website.

Use the mud for play and investigation, looking for prints in the muddy edges.

Use this footprints guide (pdf) to see if you can identify any of the tracks.

How about using mud to paint or to make mud pies?


In spring 2013 native wildflower seed was sown along the path between the new ponds and Ringwood Avenue. 

Use this photographic wildflower guide (pdf) to see how many species you can spot - look carefully at the differences between their leaves and flowers to help you identify them.


Plenty of birds enjoy the shrubs and trees as well as the water in the ponds, including blue tits, robins, great tits, blackbirds, wrens and long tailed tits.

To help you identify the birds you see and hear, try this Nature Detectives bird spotter sheet (pdf) or look at the RSPB website