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 Johnston’s Coppice

Wednesday 2nd April 2014

The application by Terena Plowright of The Greening Campaign for a change of use of Johnston’s Coppice, the nature reserve behind Crookhorn Technology College, to ‘mixed use of woodland and natural pet cemetery’ was refused on 18th March 2014.  The intention was for the pet cemetery to finance management of the woodland. 

There were a number of objections and the application was refused because ‘In the absence of adequate information the Local Planning Authority is not satisfied that the proposal will not be detrimental to the maintenance of the populations of protected species concerned at a favourable conservation status.’

The principal species of concern is the Hazel Dormouse although, according to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, eleven different species of bats have also been recorded in the area, including the very rare Bechstein’s bat.

An eight-year management plan has been prepared and the first section of hazel was coppiced early in 2013.  The PAWARA Environment Group has assisted with clearance work.  Woodland management activities ceased last year when volunteer work parties were cancelled due to a lack of numbers and Hampshire County Council withdrew the support of a Countryside Warden, who had been able to assist with a chainsaw, due to budget constraints.  Terena still intends to manage the coppice and is waiting for the lease to be finalised.


Tuesday 1st April 2014

Hundreds of tadpoles (there could be thousands; I didn’t count them) are in the shallow edges of Penjar Pond and movement of the water can be seen from several yards away.







Another productive morning

The main achievement was removal of the large phormium from the flowerbed on the corner of Campbell Gardens so that the Purbrook sign can now be seen clearly.

The large phormium obscuring the Purbrook sign.     

It’s Out!   

A clear view of the Purbrook sign.

Meanwhile, at Purbrook Gardens more brambles were dug out along with two not so small horse chestnut trees and sycamores were cut back to allow light into the space.

Photos: Terry Smith

Purbrook Gardens

Purbrook Gardens before the work party.

Our first work party at Purbrook Gardens was a great success with 14 volunteers including five residents of Purbrook Gardens giving up their Sunday morning to tidy this neglected area. 

The team in action.

We concentrated on cutting back and digging out brambles and tidying the edge of the pavement.  We also removed three bags of litter, a pair of brake disks, a child’s scooter and some bricks.  The volume of material removed can be seen in the photo. 

Removed from Purbrook Gardens.

Making progress.

The larger branches, most of which had already been cut and left, were stacked at the back of the site to create a habitat for invertebrates.

Purbrook Gardens after the work party.

Purbrook Spring Clean 24th March 2019

There was an impressive haul from the litter pick on Sunday 24th March.

We collected 46 bags of rubbish, plus numerous road cones, two tyres (including a metal reinforced one) a drill, electric fan and a four piece dinner service. 

That takes the total this year to 68 bags and the total since records began in November 2011 to 718, plus the various extras, on one occasion a kitchen sink.

The 20 volunteers were rewarded with breakfast in the Purbrook Cafe on completion.

The last of the laurel, for now

Removing Invasive Trees

PAWARA Environment Group started the year by digging out invasive laurel and holly from the woodland at Widley Gardens, Purbrook.

The Bog

In December we continued our programme of maintenance by spreading two large heaps of wood chips around the fruiting hedge at the Bog in Purbrook to suppress undergrowth.  Our previous hard work had paid off and there was very little vegetation to clear.  The hedge was planted in December 2014 with trees supplied by The Tree Council.

Fruiting Hedge Maintenance at Sandy Brow

Six residents were at Sandy Brow for our November session to clear vegetation from around the fruiting hedge and spread wood chips as a mulch to suppress undergrowth.  We were joined by four scouts, three scout leaders and a tree warden.

Members of 72nd Portsmouth Scouts helping to clear undergrowth.

Spot the Tree Warden.

Our previous efforts are showing results and the additional help enabled us to do a more thorough job.



We also took the opportunity to clear the hawthorn tree that had fallen across the steps into Sandy Dell.





Fungi in Sandy Dell

This fungus was seen in Sandy Dell on Sunday. 

Trooping funnel fungus seen in Sandy Dell 18th November 2018.

It appears to be a larger example of the species seen next to the pavement at the Privett Road end in November 2012.

Seen near to Privett Road in November 2012.

Research indicates it is Infundibulicybe geotropa, also known as the trooping funnel or monk’s head, a funnel-shaped fungus widely found in Europe and (less commonly) in North America.  A large sturdy cream or buff-coloured funnel-shaped mushroom, it grows in mixed woodlands, often in troops or fairy rings and the cap  may reach 20 cm (8 in) in diameter.


The largest known fairy ring in Belfort, eastern France, has been reported at over half a mile in diameter and estimated at 800 years of age.



Pond and Car Park Maintenance

We had eight volunteers this morning and we were able to tackle several jobs.  We started by digging some of the sedges out from the centre of Penjar Pond to create a clear area, filling twelve bags, while another group planted some woodland flower plugs next to Marrelswood Gardens. 

We then joined forces to litter pick the small car park next to the glass shop on London Road and cut back vegetation growing over parking spaces.



Himalayan Balsam Work Parties

Eight volunteers from PAWARA, Havant Borough Tree Wardens and The Ramblers joined Groundwork for this morning’s work party.  There was considerably less Himalayan balsam than last year.  We are making an impression on the Potwell and that is much appreciated.  Thank you to everyone who assisted this morning. 

We have done such a good job over the last two years that there is not enough Himalayan balsam left in the area to justify another work party and the session scheduled for next Thursday has been cancelled.

If Ian finds some more he will let us know.

Himalayan Balsam

The photo gives an idea of what happens if Himalayan balsam is not controlled.  Although a very attractive plant when in flower, the dense coverage kills off all other plants, reducing habitat for invertebrates and exposing the river banks, making then prone to erosion and increasing sediment into the river.  Pulling it out reduces the impact of the plant and reduces the chances of it spreading by getting into the water course.