Have a click around and find out what we, as volunteers, do for our local natural resource for all to enjoy.
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 Inclosure. 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'.
Trees and shrubs along the London Road boundary include typical hedgerow species. Walking into the wood, look at the two fine English oaks - one almost directly in front of you and one to your right. Further along the path, and on the far side of the ditch, is the lowest and wettest area of the wood. The trees here are mainly ash, birch and willow, with some young oak and yew. In a gladed area within the wood, you will discover two majestic yews, with their characteristic many-fluted trunks. More than 50 plant species have been identified in Park Wood. Look out for winter heliotrope, lesser celandine, wood anemone and bluebells in the spring, as well as other ancient woodland indicator species such as solomon's seal and butcher's broom. During summer, you will find an abundance of foxgloves and spotted and twayblade orchids.
Park Wood is a perfect habitat for many different animals. Here the conditions enable them to thrive - foxes, bats, squirrels, as well as an enormous variety of birds, and butterflies, moths and other insects. One notable feature of Park Wood is the abundance of standing and fallen dead wood - home and dining table for many fungi and creatures.
Volunteers meet on the last Sunday of every month to carry out jobs in the wood. Most of these are carried out in accordance with a Management Plan which has been prepared by the Woodland Trust. For example, removal of bamboo and laurel which is undesirable in this ancient English woodland. We also clear out drainage ditches - a fun task for those who like sloshing about in ditch water; cut back bramble which threatens to overwhelm the areas of bluebells and overhangs the paths unless trimmed back.
Other projects carried out in recent years have been the construction and erection of new notice boards, replacing fencing, building and repairing paths to improve public access and trimming back overhanging vegetation.
Tasks such as these are essential to the future of the woodland and are an enjoyable way to spend a few hours in the open air with friendly people of all ages and occupations.
One major task is carried out every year - cutting all of the grassed areas to ensure the wildflower mix remains and does not become swamped with invasive bramble or other vegetation. A professional flail is hired over two days for this job but many volunteers are needed to rake up the cut grass and stack in heaps.
In the year 2012 well over 400 hours of volunteer time was spent on these workdays.
Work days start at 10.00 am on the last Sunday of each month and we normally meet in the Beech Glade near the Treeside Way gate. Coffee and tea are provided, and sometimes in the winter Maureen brings hot vegetable soup.
So why not come along and help conserve this lovely piece of ancient woodland with a great bunch of people.