Volunteers replant hundreds of young trees

Volunteers replant hundreds of young trees as part of Havant Thicket Reservoir project

Local volunteers have been replanting hundreds of saplings around the edge of Portsmouth Water’s flagship Havant Thicket Reservoir site, near Leigh Park.

These young trees were “rescued” by volunteers from The Avenue woodland in 2022, before work on the reservoir scheme began.

More than 250 saplings, including hazel, holly, beech, hawthorn, oak and yew, as well as woodland plants like butchers broom, honeysuckle, celandines, foxgloves and cuckoo pint, were collected by volunteers from within the reservoir site and planted in biodegradable pots. For two years, the saplings were cared for in these pots before being replanted on the edge of the site of the new reservoir last week.

Woodland soils from the Avenue had already been transferred to the planting area by Portsmouth Water, with a high fence placed around the edge to create an enclosure to stop deer browsing.

Leader of the local volunteer project, Tracey Viney, said:

“It is great that the volunteers who originally rescued the saplings have now been able to return to the reservoir site with permission and support from Portsmouth Water staff to replant the young trees.

“The woodland plants were placed in a shady area, it is hoped that as the young trees grow up and create more shade, these plants will slowly spread across the enclosure. The new enclosure will help improve habitat connectivity for wildlife around the western edge of the reservoir site.”

Bob Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, said:

“Thank you so much to all the volunteers who worked hard to make this tree planting project such a success. We’re incredibly grateful for your continued support.”

“An important part of our environmental mitigation strategy is to create and enhance wildlife corridors around the perimeter of the reservoir site and the fantastic work by the volunteers will make a valuable contribution to help us deliver on this commitment.

“As part of the strategy, we’ve already planted more than 6000 trees and also committed to planting and improving more than 200 hectares of woodland and wood pasture, including rewilding 80 hectares of local farmland.”

Havant Thicket Reservoir will be the first major new reservoir to be constructed in the UK since 1980s. It will provide a new, sustainable source of water for the southeast, reducing the amount taken from Hampshire’s iconic chalk rivers.

More information about Havant Thicket Reservoir can be found on the project website: https://havant-thicket-reservoir.uk.engagementhq.com/