Name revealed for Havant’s new memorial woodland

The name for a new memorial woodland for Havant, suggested by young people from the local community, has been announced.

It’s now been confirmed that the woodland, which is being developed by Portsmouth Water in partnership with Havant Borough Council, will be called Memory Park.

The name was chosen following a suggestion from a team of students at Park Community School in Leigh Park. Pupils were asked to put forward name ideas in a competition, which formed part of their remote learning during the latest Coronavirus lockdown.

The woodland is taking shape on the proposed site for Havant Thicket Reservoir, with 3,000 new trees planted over the past year.

Memory Park has been created as a tribute to those who served in the two World Wars and other conflicts, plus to provide a quiet place for local people to visit, in particular to remember family, friends and others who have passed away.

The trees are also good for wildlife, giving birds and mammals, like bats and dormice, a new habitat and connection through which to move to other areas of woodland nearby and further afield.

The winning name came from Sophie Bone, Lexie Miller and Joey Price, who are all in Year 7 at Park Community School.

The youngsters said: “We’re so proud our idea has been picked for the new woodland, as this was a unique chance to name a special place that our community can use and enjoy for decades to come. The name Memory Park reflects the quiet and tranquil environment of the woodland. It also encourages visitors to spend time reflecting on the past and the present, humans and wildlife.”

Jamie Gargett, Arboricultural Manager at Havant Borough Council, was on the judging panel, which selected the naming competition winner.

Mr Gargett commented: “Along with my fellow judges, I was so impressed by the creativity and thought that had gone into all the competition entries. It was so tough to pick one name, but we settled on Memory Park as it really ties together all the different aspects of the woodland – for example, providing a link to our local history and a place to remember people we have lost. Many congratulations to Sophie, Lexie and Joey!”

Portsmouth Water Chief Executive Officer Bob Taylor added: “All the students who entered the competition are a credit to Park Community School and their local area. I would like to thank each of the pupils and school staff for all their efforts in helping us find a fitting name for the enhanced green space that’s been created to benefit people and wildlife. The communities we serve are at the very heart of what we do as a company and the memorial woodland project has enabled us to further strengthen the local links we have.”

A mixture of different types of trees, including oak, birch and hazel, have been planted over the last year to form Memory Park. Among them were one hundred that were already more fully grown, helping the woodland to establish a good structure more quickly. The trees are being protected by deer fencing while they are growing.