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, today it is managed by the Woodland Trust helped by volunteers in the Friends of Park Wood. Our group was started by local people in 2000 to improve Park Wood and raise awareness of its value for wildlife and as a natural green space. We hold regular work parties to improve the wood for nature conservation and the benefit of the local community.
Trees and shrubs along the London Road boundary include ash, oak and hawthorn. Walking into the wood, there are two fine veteran English oaks at either end of the meadow. They were growing here well before the battle of Waterloo after which our town is named. 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 the wood, you will discover majestic yews, our longest living trees 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 as well as spotted orchids and twayblades in flower.
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 mini beasts.
Volunteers meet on the last Sunday of each month to carry out jobs in the wood. The Woodland Trust has written a Management Plan which has identified what needs to be done. For example, removal of bamboo and laurel which is undesirable in this native woodland. We also clear out drainage ditches - a fun task for those who like sloshing about in ditch water; Other projects in Park Wood include coppicing trees in winter months, putting up new notice boards, installing trail markers, replacing fencing, building and repairing paths to improve public access and commissioning new carved benches in the wood.
One major task that we do every year - cutting the grassed areas to ensure the wildflower mix remains and does not become swamped with invasive bramble or other vegetation. Many volunteers are needed to rake up the cut grass and stack in heaps.
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 You don’t need any particular skills as the tasks are led by experienced volunteers and all tools are provided.
Each year our volunteers give more than 400 hours of time on site to practical projects and tasks in the wood. Every bit of help and time given is so important to keeping Park Wood as a natural green space for everyone to enjoy.
Work parties 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 hot vegetable soup.
So why not come along and help care for this lovely piece of ancient woodland and enjoy working with a great bunch of people.