Conservation in Emsworth


Situated at the top of Chichester Harbour, Emsworth is sheltered from the elements and is popular with sailors, artists, naturalists and walkers alike. 
The Two tidal Mill Ponds to the east and one to the west of the town
 are host to a variety of wildlife as is Brook Meadow also to the west of the river. Historical documents show that the meadow has been a grazes water meadow since at least the mid 19th century and wild life surveys have recorded a wide variety of plants and animals including the endangered water vole.

Emsworth plays host to a wide variety of migrating birds every year - some such as Brent Geese coming from Siberia,   - which join the many wading birds on the salt marsh around the foreshore not to mention Emsworth's notorious community of beautiful swans!

Emsworth has four principal Conservation groups each caring for a part of Emsworth's natural heritage.

Brook Meadow Conservation Group
Brook Meadow is a six acre Local Nature Reserve right in the middle of Emsworth. The main entrance is from Palmers Road Car Park off North Street.

The site has over 300 species of trees and plants, including wild orchids. Rare sedges have led to the Meadow being designated a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation. The River Ems, which flows through the Meadow, contains several species of fish and a highly prized population of Water Voles. Birds, butterflies and insects abound.

Brook Meadow Conservation Group manages the site on behalf of the owners, Havant Borough Council, and carries out conservation work.

The Group was formed by local residents in 2000 to protect and conserve the natural environment of Brook Meadow and its wildlife for the benefit and quiet enjoyment of the general public and their dogs.

A cheerful band of volunteers meets on the first Sunday and third Thursday each month from 10.00-12.00 to carry out maintenance and conservation work. This includes mowing grass paths, clearing rank vegetation, picking up litter, keeping the River Ems clear of obstructions, servicing gravel paths and caring for trees, hedges and plants. Coffee, tea and biscuits are enjoyed at half time and tools and gloves are provided. Our Leaders are trained in risk assessment, first aid and leadership skills. Regular surveys are carried out on the water voles, butterflies, birds, bats, insects and plants. 

Volunteers of all ages and physical abilities are welcome. There is a job to suit everyone. Training is given to operate the power scythe and brush cutter. The Group has public liability insurance and a safety and risk assessment talk precedes each Work Session.

Website: link to 
Contact: Secretary, Jennifer Rye 
T.. 01243 376926

The Friends of Holly Bank Woods
An area of woodland to the north of Emsworth in Hampshire. The area was acquired by Havant Borough Council in 1996 (with a 999 year lease) and is designated a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC). Major works completed by Havant Borough Council, with practical help from the Friends of Hollybank Woods, during last four years have included path clearance, formation of a new circular walk, a new bridleway which is now in use and estate style fencing has now replaced much of the old chain link at Dymoke Street and Spencer Road. Winter 2005 - 2006 has seen further glade creation and whilst work party days have now finished for the season as spring approaches (nesting time), further work and improvement is being planned for winter 2006 - 2007.  


The Friends of Nore Barn Woods
Nore Barn Woods consists of two areas of woodland adjacent to the Foreshore and a part of Maisemore Gardens, Emsworth. Public access is via the end of Warblington Road where it is possible for a small number of cars to park. The site is nominally managed by Havant Borough Council but a small group of local volunteers, The Friends of Nore Barn Woods, have undertaken to investigate improvements and maintenance of the site under the auspices of the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers.


The Slipper Mill Pond Preservation Association
The tidal-filled Slipper Mill Pond lies to the East of Emsworth where the River Ems enters Chichester Harbour and the sea.
It is a unique brackish wildlife habitat with:

  • over 25 species of birds

  • more than 60 different plants and trees on its banks

  • breeding ground for many fish, especially grey mullet

  • many different animals in its muddy bottom - 2 protected species of mud invertebrates and an interesting tube worm

This historic pond dating from the 1760s has 34 owners who have charged the Slipper Mill Pond Preservation Association with its care and maintenance for the quiet enjoyment of the public.


The Friends of Emsworth Waysides
The Friends of Emsworth Waysides is a new conservation group set up in September 2009 by a number of local residents who were concerned at the mowing and chemical spraying by the Council and its contractors of roadside verges and other small areas around the town.


Chichester Harbour Conservancy
The Conservancy was established by the Chichester Harbour Conservancy Act 1971. Its duty is the conservancy, maintenance and improvement of the Harbour and the Amenity Area for recreation and leisure, nature conservation and the natural beauty. The Conservancy also acts as the Joint Advisory Committee for the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Chichester Harbour is internationally important for birds and for its coastal habitats. You might not think that harbour wildlife is unusual enough for that, but although in the southeast of England there are quite a lot of wet and muddy bits, over the whole of Europe these estuarine ecosystems are rare. Wetlands, including coastal areas, are one of the most threatened and diminishing habitats internationally. 

A huge variety of plants and animals live in and around the harbour. Some are hidden in the mud, or are underwater, so it's not immediately obvious what is there. Others are very easy to see. Whatever it is, we can help you find out more. 

The harbour held an average over the last five winters of nearly 47,000 waterfowl. That makes it the most important single site on the south coast of England for these birds. It ranks in 27th position nationally.

  • It has internationally important numbers of 5 species of wildfowl and waders It is nationally important for at least 8 further species.

  •  It has the 7th largest area of saltmarsh in Britain.

  • At least 25 nationally rare species of plants and animals occur - and that's not including non-breeding birds.

An area of mudflat similar to that occupied by a dinghy could hold 40,000 tiny Laver spire shells, 60,000 Corophium shrimps, 50,000 Baltic Tellin shellfish or up to 500 Ragworms. 

 There are underwater slippers, spiders and peacocks (limpets, crabs and worms), dahlias, carrots and gooseberries (anemones, sponges and sea squirts)!

A video taken on a couple of bright early spring mornings (March 2012) of some of the Birdlife (Great Tit, Blue Tit, Robin, Mallard, Wren, Water Rail, Treecreeper and Nuthatch) around the small local nature reserve of Brook Meadow in Emsworth.


These Photos courtesy of Brian Fellows (Brook Meadows Conservation Group)



External Links

Brook Meadows Conservation Group

Friends of Holly Bank Woods

Friends of Nore Barn Woods

Slipper Mill Pond Preservation association

Chichester Harbour Conservancy

Chichester Harbour Trust


Contact:  T. 07804554515  E.