Portsmouth woodland walk to be created thanks to £20,000 grant

TRANQUIL Hilsea Lines in Portsmouth.  Picture: Allan Hutchings (120258-868)
TRANQUIL Hilsea Lines in Portsmouth. Picture: Allan Hutchings (120258-868)
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HISTORIC Hilsea Lines is to get a new woodland walk thanks to a £20,000 grant.

A Woodland Improvement Grant has been handed to Portsmouth City Council by the Forestry Commission to give the beauty spot a makeover.

The funds will be used to build new paths and improve existing ones, put up information boards and put new seating in the area.

A new woodland walk will be marked out to help guide nature-lovers through the area.

Linda Prior, secretary of the Ramblers’ Association Portsmouth Group, said: ‘It’s great to see this area is getting a bit of attention because it’s a really nice walk up there, but it does need a bit of an upgrade.

‘It will be good to have footpaths with clearer markings that make it easier for people to get around, and make them feel safer out there.

‘Hopefully once all the new plans are in place it will encourage more people to go walking in the area and enjoy visiting the north of the city, as well as the south.’

The improvement plans were developed through feedback from volunteers and users of the area, and the work will be carried out over the next five years.

In addition to the £20,000 grant, funding for up to £10,000 is also available for woodland maintenance and planting – a considerable boost to the £2,000 normally available to maintain the site each year.

Cllr Lee Hunt, the city’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport said: ‘This is fantastic news for Hilsea Lines and the many people who enjoy visiting the site to enjoy a taste of the country in the city.

‘Woodlands today have great potential as a community resource for education and recreation.

‘This extra funding means there will be more woodland accessible for free for the public to enjoy and support for the maintenance of important habitats for wildlife.’

Hilsea Lines covers just under 200 acres and contains woodland, hedgerows, meadows, water areas, and marshland.

The area also includes fortifications built during the 19th century on the orders of the Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, to protect the northern flank of Portsmouth from attack by the French.