Tuesday, 12 September 2017

PARK WOOD, WATERLOOVILLE


PARK WOOD can be found opposite Queens Enclosure along the London Road in Waterlooville.  

When I moved to Waterlooville nearly 30 years ago this wood, looked after by the Woodland Trust, was a mess.  Overgrown, waterlogged, full of litter.  As well as junkies leaving syringes around, it was dark and unwelcoming.  I did not like to walk through it.

Twenty years ago a neighbour, John Carter, retired and his wife thought it would be good for him to have something to do and suggested he organise bringing the wood back to a typical English wood.  Little did she know what she had started!  He rallied the local residents, attracted funding and every weekend for one year  they worked in the wood, cutting down the shading sycamore, cutting back the overgrown Laurel, laid paths, dug ditches and basically transformed the wood.  The Friends of Park Wood was formed, guided by the Woodland Trust.  Now move on 20  years.  John has moved away but the Friends continue.  Schools, Scouts, Guides, families, dog walkers and more use the wood.  Events happen in the wood, Easter Egg Hunt, Christmas events, Woodland festivals and the friends continue to meet once a month to maintain the wood, cutting back paths, clearing ditches, planting trees etc.  There is even a rota of  volunteer walkers who pick up litter, keeping the wood clean for the community to use.  

The Friends consist of local residents who help regularly or those who just want to be part of it by supporting through becoming a member, the fees of which help the Friends to buy tools and refreshments for the volunteers. There are over 100 members.


IT HAS WORKED FOR 20 YEARS SO WHY NOW DOES THE WOODLAND TRUST WANT TO CHANGE IT?  

They want the Friends to sign an agreement curtailing what they do, less in the wood and more promoting the Woodland Trust.  The agreement could be the end of the Friends.
 
IF THE FRIENDS STOP THEN THE WOOD WILL GO BACK TO AS IT WAS WHEN I MOVED IN.  Dark, cold and unwelcoming.  Surely we cannot let this happen.
There will be an Extraordinary meeting called for beginning of November.  We need to show how important this wood is to the community.  Keep watching this blog and I will give you the date, time and place.  Meanwhile visit the wood and see how lovely it is NOW!


Park Wood is a small area of semi-natural ancient woodland, to the west of the A3 road north of Waterlooville, Hampshire, between Wallis Road and Queens Road, opposite The Queen's Enclosure. A remnant of the ancient Forest of Bere which once covered the Waterlooville area, Park Wood today consists of a core wooded area, and two former meadows, now partly regenerating with native species.
It is distinguished by its ancient yews and other fine feature trees, and a wide variety of woodland plants. Designated as a public amenity and nature conservation area, it is managed by the Woodland Trust, assisted by the Friends of Park Wood who have been voted by the Woodland Trust as one of their 'Volunteer Groups of the Year'.

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