Campaign to save woodland oasis from sea

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NATURE-lovers are hoping to hold back the tide and save a stretch of beautiful seaside woodland.

Parts of Nore Barns Woods, in Emsworth, are in danger of falling into the sea unless a bank is built to give protection from the spring tides.

Under threat are at least six mature oak trees, vegetation and part of the footpath.

The Friends of Nore Barn Woods are spearheading a campaign to raise £18,000 to build an earth bank to conserve a 330ft stretch of the southern shore which isn’t protected.

Havant Borough Council owns the woods but does not have the money to pay for the work.

But if the Friends raise the cash the council has agreed to prepare the plans, ensure all permissions are in place, oversee the work and engage contractors.

Bruce Darby, chairman of the Friends of Nore Barn Woods, said: ‘If we do nothing we risk losing not only some mature trees, vegetation and soil, but part of the shore footpath could go too. Our counts show that hundreds of people walk to and through the woods each day.

‘So we are campaigning to raise funds to do something about this stretch of shoreline.’

The woods are a 10-minute walk west from the centre of Emsworth and overlook Chichester Harbour.

They are designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Pledges running into thousands of pounds have already been made and the Friends are applying for grants which they hope will help them reach their target by the autumn.

Mr Darby said: ‘We recognise that this is a fragile shoreline environment and great care will have to be taken to protect the foreshore and the bird life during any work.

‘If we can raise the money in the next few months then early autumn work on the shore would not interfere with the over-wintering bird population.’

Rachel Moroney, senior community project officer at the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, said: ‘The Friends of Nore Barn Woods do a tremendous job in looking after the woodland both for wildlife and visitors.

‘We support their work on conserving this part of the shore of Nore Barn Woods.’

Contributions have been made by Emsworth Horticultural Society and Emsworth Tree Wardens.

Chichester Harbour Conservancy and Friends of Chichester Harbour have also pledged support.

Donations large and small from the public and other local businesses and organisations are welcome.

To make a donation call treasurer Pat Balchin on 01243 377404 or e-mail her on patbalchin@gmail.com

Go to norebarnwoods.org.uk.