Secrets are being revealed as an East Hampshire habitat that’s rarer than the rainforest is being celebrated during an action-packed season of events.

Families have been encouraged to discover the amazing wonders of our local heathlands by the South Downs National Park Authority with numerous activities planned.

All eyes will be on Whitehill & Bordon during the second weekend of June as the free Secrets of the Health event is returning to Hogmoor Inclosure.

But there’s more beforehand as the SDNPA heathlands team will lead a series of guided walks – with some being part of the Alton Walking Festival programme – in the run-up to the June 8 and 9 event.

The programme will also coincide with the release of colourful new guide about the Wealden Heaths around Petersfield, Liphook, Liss, Grayshott and Whitehill & Bordon.

Secrets of the Heath Pic2
Romans gave young visitors a taste of chariot racing at the previous Secrets of the Heath event in Whitehill & Bordon (SDNPA)

Lowland heaths are extremely rare and can only be found across parts of the UK and Scandinavia. They are a national stronghold for the UK’s six native reptile species and boast a fascinating history going back to the Stone Age.

“It’s home to a whole host of rare reptile, amphibian, bird and insect species, including some very iconic ones such as the Natterjack toad and sand lizard,” said Olivia French, who leads public engagement around heathlands for the SDNPA.

“It’s also a haven for some very special bird species that nest on the ground in spring and summer, like the nightjar, woodlark and Dartford warbler.

“Much of the heathland in this part of Hampshire is so important for wildlife that it’s protected by law under a Special Protection Area.”

Secrets of the Heath Olivia French
Olivia French leads public engagement around heathlands for the SDNPA. (SDNPA)

The free Secrets of the Heath event will include activities for all ages with visitors getting the chance to join a Saxon shield battle with plenty of historical re-enactments and a medieval camp.

Visitors can also get face-to-face with reptiles, enjoy wildlife talks, and learn more about the people who have called heaths home for millennia. They will also get the chance to search for weird and wonderful insects with the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, perfect their birding technique with the RSPB, and join a bat walk on Saturday night.

“All these activities across the spring and summer aim to reconnect people to their local heathland habitat and inspire communities to learn more about their heathland, working together to look after them so they can be enjoyed for generations to come,” added Olivia.

The weekend also coincides with the D-Day 80 commemorations, with a host of special events taking place around Whitehill & Bordon over the weekend.

Copies of a free heathland scavenger trail for children and a mini guide about the Wealden Heaths will also be available.

The guide lists four inspiring walks and highlights local heathland sites and some of the area’s longer distance trails. It also includes details of a new circular ‘Rail to Ramble’ route from Liphook station and a ‘Miles Without Stiles’ saunter around W&B.

Download it from or visit for more.