Grow, grow, grow your boat

Press Release: 07/12/2015


More than 120 children from Berewood Primary School have been collecting and potting acorns to grow 700 oak trees as part of a new public art programme for the Berewood site in the West Of Waterlooville Major Development Area.

The trees will be planted by local volunteers in Berewood as the development grows.

Funded by planning contributions from developer Grainger PLC, the acorn-planting project is one of a number of strands of community engagement being carried out by the public realm artists Wayward who won the contract to create art features in the new Town Park and at the gateway to the Berewood site.

Grainger, working with Winchester City Council and Havant Borough Council, see the public art as a way to enhance the high quality housing being built, and to create a distinctive identity for the new neighbourhood. Wayward are developing large-scale pieces made from steel and oak trees, reflecting the historical importance of the area in providing wood for shipbuilding.

The number 700 is significant for the project, as historical sources say that it took 700 mature oaks to build the hull of the HMS Victory. By growing these trees, the community is planting a forest which could, in theory, build a new ship but which will also have benefits for the local landscape and environment.

Deputy Head Teacher at Berewood Primary School, Viv Kies, said:

Our new community-minded school is surrounded by beautiful woodland. The children really enjoyed collecting acorns from the forest floor and then planting them, one for each child at the school. We showed Oak and Ash classes (combined Year 1 and Year 2 pupils) how to do this and then they demonstrated to the older children how to select and plant their acorns. The children understood that it will take years for them to grown into mature oak trees. We are looking forward to participating in other elements of the arts programme.

Chris Fletcher from the developer for Berewood, Grainger PLC, added:

The oak trees will eventually be planted on the Berewood development, growing with the children and the new development, for future generations to enjoy.

Other aspects of their community engagement programme will include a Berewood Nautical Forest School, exploring the ancient woodlands of the Forest of Bere and teaching people about its extraordinary history. There will also be boat-building workshops so that people can create boats to use on the model boat pond which will be an integral part of the structure in Town Park. This community outreach work is designed to involve people in the public art programme from the outset, and will be delivered in close collaboration with local residents, arts and heritage organisations and amenity groups.

Place-making and public art agency Futurecity are curating and managing the project on behalf of the West of Waterlooville Arts Advisory Panel, which includes elected district and parish councillors as well as technical officers from each Council. The Panel is keen to hear from a resident living in the development who would like to participate in future meetings. Residents should contact Jaime Bridges, Havant Borough Council’s Community Development Officer, at