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Gosport Borough Council

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Carters Copse Heritage Area

Heritage Area

Introduction

Carter's Copse is a woodland in the Alver Valley. It is bordered by Howe Road and Grange Road, with Alver Meadow to the South and Home Heath to the North. The Copse came into Borough ownership in 1971 and is used by the public as a popular walking area.

The woodland contains a Scheduled Ancient Monument - a Norman fort or Motte and Bailey. A circular walk around the copse, passes through live habitats; mature woodlands, alder carr, reedbed, gorse scrub and grassland glades.

 

Carter's Copse is named after Reverend Carter who was a large landowner in the Rowner area in the 1840's. Later the land passed into the ownership of the Ministry of Defence, prior to being conveyed to the Borough Council. Rumour has it that remnants from the Grange airfield were buried in the Copse.

Legend also claims Rabbit Skin Jack, a poacher haunts the Copse. He apparently hung himself in `Dead Man's Hollow' within the Copse, using his bootlaces.

 

 

The Motte and Bailey

Constructed by the Normans at the time of the Conquest, this is the oldest known fortification in Gosport. The structure was used to defend a crossing point on the River Alver from invasion.

On the edge of the escarpment is a mound. A wooden stockade would have been built on top of this. At a lower level there would have been an enclosure, extending South East, surrounded by a bank (the Bailey).

 

Oak Woodland

The mature oaks are probably in the region of 150-200 years old. The oak tree can support up to 350 different insect species and so provides a solid base to the food chain. Other tree species include hawthorn, holly and silver birch. The ground layer consists of butchers broom, bluebells, bramble and bracken. Green and greater spotted woodpeckers are often heard, as well as the more usual blackbirds, wrens and robins. The bramble, as well as a good food source, provides cover for small mammals such as wood mice and bank voles.

 

Alder Carr

Central to the Woodland is the alder carr, a wet area dominated by alders of variable ages. The ground here floods regularly and tends to remain wet for most of the year. A specialised flora has developed including marsh marigolds, yellow loosestripe and branched bur-reed. The alder carr is largely undisturbed. It is an area rich in wildlife. Siskins are often seen feeding in the alder canopy in winter.

 

Reedbed and Pond

To the East is a one acre reedbed. Recent management has restored this reedbed by removing willow scrub and bracken, so preventing drying out of the area. The reedbed supports a number of warbler species. The pond in the South East corner has a boardwalk beside it. Occasionally a pair of mallard ducks can be seen here. This is a relatively recent pond created by volunteers.