BEAUTIFUL woodland that was in danger of being lost to the sea has been saved.
Following a fundraising campaign, work finished this month on new sea defences at Nore Barn Woods.
The woodland, near Emsworth and on the waterfront of Chichester Harbour, has suffered tidal erosion over a 100m stretch of shore for several years.
Two years ago the Friends of Nore Barn Woods raised funds for an earth bank to protect oak trees.
But the storms of last winter inflicted far more damage to the earth bank than had been predicted, so better sea defences became urgent.
Now the bank has been reprofiled, strengthened and coated with interlocking concrete Armorloc blocks to ensure the woods are protected for future generations to enjoy.
Public money could not be used for the work as defences are aimed at protecting homes and businesses rather than open spaces.
Mike Thomas, project co=ordinator for the Friends of Nore Barn Woods, explained: ‘We have been overwhelmed by the strong public support we have received and the money donated. Our tea party in June raised £1,700 and we reached our target of £44,500 shortly after that.
‘Many individuals and organisations have been extremely generous in their support of the project. We are grateful to all of them.’
The work was overseen by the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership and carried out by contractor Colas.
Roy Ewing, chairman of the Friends, said: ‘Our role is to help manage the woods effectively and ensure that they remain a valuable community resource as part of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty of Chichester Harbour.
‘The line of oaks along the shore was under threat and these have been saved. The protection of the shore here is vital so that future generations can continue to enjoy this delightful woodland.’
Volunteer fundraiser Maggie Gebbett added: ‘It’s been a long process to get to this stage. We are grateful for the stalwart support of organisations like the Friends of Chichester Harbour, the Conservancy, Coates Charitable Trust and also the hundreds of local people who have been such generous donors of both time and money. We also had the wonderful support of ocean rower, Roz Savage, who helped publicise our work.’
The Friends run work parties to maintain the woodland.
Further information is at norebarnwoods.org.uk.