|HCC Site ID.||1963||Parish:||Havant|
|Designations:||Area:||A linear open area, difficult to assess|
|Access:||Public Access||Ownership:||Havant Borough Council|
Location and Site
Hermitage Stream runs for several miles from Queens Inclosure and Havant Close in the North through to Langstone Harbour in the South. The stream course, which was partly canalised to improve flows, feeds into Langstone Harbour. The area of Hermitage Stream Open Space flows from the NW to the SE with Park Road to the West and Purbrook Way to the South. The soil is London Clay and Reading Beds. With the building of Leigh Park there was interruption of the natural land drainage which gave rise to flooding from springs and groundwater movement.
The stream takes its name from a 15th century Hermitage Chapel which stood at the Bedworth level crossing. In the 1930s the land was used for farming which by the 1950s was being developed for housing, including the development of the Leigh Park Estate. During this time, the channel course was straightened to alleviate flooding. However, in the 1990s the thinking changed and a stretch of the stream was made a more natural site. This increased the water quality and habitat for wildlife which in turn improved access for the community.
In the late 1990s and continuing into the 21st century, plans to develop the whole area as a community asset were implemented to a greater or lesser extent. In 1997, the area was described as a linear park of varying width located within residential areas, with areas of varying quality of rough grassland, some mature oak trees plus seating and play areas. Hermitage Stream itself was described as forming a central feature as an informal stream course with riparian vegetation or as a formal channel.
Broadly speaking the park is probably in some ways still the same in 2017. However, more work via various plans has been implemented since 1997 which has resulted in the pleasant public open space it now is in 2017. The area appears to be used for walking and relaxing with play areas for small children. Walking towards Park Road, there is a reasonably wide bridge across the stream although the water channel at this point is rather narrow. It flows through meadow areas and widens out a little with various riparian plants alongside. At the Park Road end there is an exit onto Park Road with the stream flowing underneath. There was little water under the bridge on the visit and the stream looked uncared for. However, once back in the ‘park’ there is evidence of some new planting and the grassed areas are reasonably well maintained. There is a circle of bushes at one point that invited investigation but also requires some maintenance. The stream at this point lies below the path level, which is lined on the east side by mature trees. Further on there is evidence of canalisation as the stream reaches Purbrook Way.
Summary & Significance
A pleasant ‘countrified’ walking and relaxing area whose significance lies as an amenity asset in its proximity to the Leigh Park Estate and other residential areas.
HGT Research: May 2017
http://www.hermitagestream.co.uk/ – accessed May 2017
Urban Park Survey 1997 HCC