Berewood children's growing success

 Children from Berewood Primary School were delighted to see that 390 acorns they collected and planted last autumn have grown into 273 oak saplings up to half-a-metre tall.

This month saw more than 50 children from the school re-potting the saplings as part of a public art programme for the Berewood site in the West of Waterlooville Major Development area.

This potting session is one of many events in It takes 700 acorns to grow a boat, a community growing project that will eventually lead to 700 oak trees being planted by local volunteers in Berewood as the development grows.

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

“The young people involved in the planting will grow up with the trees and with the sculptures that have inspired the planting initiative. Our community-minded school was very keen to be involved in this community project from the outset and are looking forward to helping with other aspects of the programme.”

Max, aged six, a pupil from Berewood Primary School, added:

“You have to plant the acorn, water it and give it sunlight. It takes ages for the tree to grow. I can't wait for the plant to grow into an oak tree. I can't wait for the park to be done and play with our oak ships on the lake. The project is important because trees help us breathe and because we are Oak Class!”

Funded by contributions from developer Grainger PLC, It takes 700 acorns to grow a boat, is the first of a three-strand community engagement project being carried out by the public realm artists, Wayward, who won the contract to create two art features in the Berewood site.

Grainger are working with Winchester City Council and Havant Borough Council 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 ship-building.

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 will also have benefits for the local landscape and environment.

The second strand of the community engagement will be a Berewood Nautical Forest School, exploring the ancient woodlands of the Forest of Bere and teaching people about its extraordinary history.

The third strand, Model Boat Building workshops, will be held at the International Boat Training College in Portsmouth teaching people how to craft boats to use on the model boat pond, an integral part of the structure in Town Park.

These three community engagement projects are 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 any residents 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