Volunteers brave the cold to plant trees for memorial woodland

Volunteers from Leigh Park volunteering group Positive Pathways braved the cold and mist this week to plant trees to boost a new memorial woodland on Portsmouth Water’s proposed reservoir site.

The trees will form part of a memorial woodland which is being developed in partnership with Havant Borough Council on part of the water company’s land off Swanmore Road, in Warren Park.

The aim is to give local communities a place to visit for quiet reflection, as well as provide a new woodland corridor for wildlife to move around the wider area.

The Positive Pathways team planted oak, hazel and birch trees, with the help of Portsmouth Water’s Principal Ecologist Trevor Codlin and the company’s site management team.

It was the last stage in a project to plant hundreds of new trees this winter to replace some of the young trees which were planted last spring but suffered during the prolonged dry summer weather when water supplies were under pressure.

Trevor said: “We’re really grateful for the hard work of the volunteering team who did a great job of planting trees in our memorial woodland, which we hope many local residents and wildlife will be able to enjoy in years to come.”

Beverley Palmer, of Positive Pathways, said: “Our small team worked well with the Portsmouth Water staff and we thoroughly enjoyed the hours spent there.  This is the second time we have had the opportunity to plant trees at the site and we are looking forward to going back in years to come knowing that we had a hand in planting the trees in the memorial woodland.”

As it grows the new woodland will provide a valuable connection between other areas of woodland on the site and further afield. It will allow birds and mammals such as dormice and bats, to move around and feed more easily in the area.

Portsmouth Water’s planning applications to develop Havant Thicket Reservoir on its site are currently open for public consultation with Havant Borough Council and East Hampshire District Council. Comments can be shared with the councils until December 18.

The reservoir would secure much-needed supplies for the water-stressed South East and protect Hampshire chalk streams from over abstraction, as well as provide a new, green leisure hub for local communities, a wetland for birds and be supported by the creation and improvement of about 180 hectares of woodland on and near the site.