Park Wood (The Park)

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HCC Site ID: 1165 Parish: Waterlooville
Designations: Ancient woodland became part of C19 Hart Plain Estate grounds. Area: 3.2 ha
Access: Public Access Ownership: Public open Space/
Havant District Council leased to Woodland Trust

Location and site

Park wood is situated north of Havant and to the west of the A3 Road, between Waterlooville and Cowplain. The large Queen’s Enclosure open space is directly to the east, they both straddle the old London Road. It is now largely within a residential area.

Historic development

Park Wood, a Forest of Bere woodland, was among plots sold by the Enclosure Commissioners in 1813 to defray their expenses. Within a few years it belonged to the newly built Hart Plain House (HR1651), 0.25 mile west. Park Wood lay across the parish boundary and in January 2001 contains remnants of boundary oaks described in 1865.
The 1838 Tithe map shows Park Wood as the productive area for Hart Plain House. It had a walled garden among the trees, and on its eastern boundary with London Road there was a Lodge and an acre of garden. On OS 25″ 1st edition the walled garden was intersected with fruit-lined paths and the woodland was criss-crossed with paths.
The Hart Plain estate was split up c1910; Park Wood became the garden of Park Wood Cottage, an arts and crafts house, and had moss-covered paths. Its owner, Dr Frederick Beddow, died in 1953 and left Park Wood to his housekeeper during her lifetime, after which it was to be sold to finance a new library.

Current description

When Dr Beddow’s Trustees came to carry out his bequest, some 20 years after his death, Park Wood was a prime housing site, but after campaigning by local residents it was saved. It is now leased by Havant Borough Council to the Woodlands Trust, who manage it with the Friends of Park Wood. The Friends’ achievements include clearing Victorian laurel and bamboo. Native species are regenerating and bird life is increasing. Dr Beddow’s house burnt down c1996 and was replaced by a modern home.

Summary

A remnant woodland of the Forest of Bere; and a productive area for Hart Plain House in the early C19. It is now 3.2 hectares of protected woodland of veteran trees with two meadows, one south and the other on the former garden plot on London Road. Wildlife habitat and complementary visual gap to Queen’s Enclosure. Substantial remains of walled garden, including brickwork, well, gravel paths, sprigs of box edging and stumps of fruit trees. Lodge now a private house.

HGT Research: Summer 2000


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