Troublefield is a small nature reserve managed by Dorset Wildlife Trust
on the banks of the Moors River near Hurn Village, famous as
being the last known UK haunt of the Orange-spotted
Emerald. According to the
sign there have been 28 species of dragonfly recorded at the site, although
you are unlikely to see anywhere near that many throughout the
season unless you're very observant
and extremely lucky. However I cannot underestimate the sheer wealth of
diversity found within it's bounderies.
Springtime and early summer is especially noteworthy for the wealth of
wild flowers found within the water meadows which, besides offering a rich
source of nectar for butterflies and other insects, provide excellent
perching opportunities for many dragonflies.
In late summer this is one of the best spots
to observe Migrant, Brown and Southern Hawkers which, in the case of the former,
I was lucky enough to witness the fantastic display of over 50 individuals
soaring above the meadow and perching in the treeline along the back leat.
The north meadow, although stripped of it's wonderful wild flowers in late
summer, is also superb for observing and photographing hawkers with plenty
of low-level perching posts. I must emphasise the need for a stout pair
of wellingtons at this location, unless you want to ruin a perfectly good
pair of boots or risk losing them altogether in the deep mud scattered
throughout the site.
On wet years such as 2012 the whole site can be impassable
due to flooding. Be advised that for most of the year the site pays host
to a small herd of grazing cattle which are kept in line by an electric fence
along the length of the back leat. Catioun is therefore advised should you
be afraid of large mammals or, more importantly, photographing dragonflies
anywhere near that fence!
Finding this oasis can prove difficult for the new visitor as it's situated
down the end of a permissive drive. The best clue I can give is approach
from Hurn village slowly and, as you approach the end of the 30mph speed
limit, you will see a couple of drives on the left-hand side. The second
one is the one you need.
Be advised your entrance and exit will require
careful driving observation.