From Titchfield to Gosport once stretched the vast heathy wastes of the ancient manor of Crofton. Through it in a broad marsh-filled valley, the River Alver flowed south until at the sea it met a dam of shingle flung ashore by storms on this windswept coast, and was diverted eastwards to emerge into Portsmouth Harbour at Haslar.
Behind the shingle its pent-up waters formed Alverstoke Marsh and a great mere known as Gomer Pond, a riot of freshwater plants-White Water-lily, Royal Fern, Bogbean and Saw-sedge.
Today only a fragment of this wetland paradise remains; in the fen north of Browndown Road still grow the aromatic Sweet Gale, Bush Grass, Saw Sedge, Purple Small- reed and Bog St. John's Wort. Cyperus Sedge has retreated up stream, but the tiny insectivorous Pale Butterwort has recently disappeared altogether, and the whole area is in danger of drying out.