Work is to start soon on one of Gosport’s most important historic sites, to protect the structure and make it a more attractive place to visit.
Bastion No. 1, near Trinity Green and Gosport’s waterfront, was part of the town’s 17th century earthwork defences. It is a scheduled ancient monument and a park, but has become overgrown and at risk of damage.
Gosport Borough Council is now planning to open up the site by clearing undergrowth, shrubs and selected trees, nearly all invasive sycamores. The work will also involve removing litter and mending fences. This project will help protect the structure and discourage anti-social behaviour on the site, which has included setting fires, drink and drug activity and graffiti.
The work is scheduled to be done this autumn, and will take about six weeks. The site will be closed during the work.
The project has been carefully planned to minimise disturbance to wildlife. Key trees on the site will be preserved, including examples of yew, oak, bay and ash. Trees where bats may roost will be protected. Sycamores, which have spread on to the site, are non-native trees and their continued growth is a threat to the historic structure. The project will explore the possibility of seeding part of the area with wild flowers.
The work has been made possible by a £45,000 grant secured by the council from the government’s Coastal Revival Fund, which is designed to help kick-start regeneration of heritage sites that are at risk.
Bastion No. 1 is an earthwork fortification with a moat. It had guns mounted in brick-lined emplacements with munition stores at the base of its ramparts. It is part of the Gosport Lines, one of the most extensive surviving historic earthwork ramparts in the country, designed to create a fortified town and prevent enemy forces bombarding and seizing Portsmouth Harbour.
This is one of the first planned regeneration projects under the new Gosport Heritage Action Zone set up by the council and Historic England. The ultimate aim is to showcase the town’s historic fortifications and make them more accessible and attractive for residents and visitors.
Cllr Mark Hook, Leader of the Council, said: “This is an exciting first step in our efforts to protect and enhance Bastion No. 1, and the rest of the Lines, for residents and visitors.
“Because it’s become overgrown, the bastion has attracted anti-social activities, which put people off from using the area as a park. The plant growth also threatens the structure itself. We want to open the area up and make it a place everyone can enjoy, that shows off a remarkable example of military construction.
“We’re grateful to local people and ward councillors for their help, and for the assistance of the Coastal Revival Fund. We look forward to more work to improve the bastion and our other heritage treasures.”
Local ward councillors Cllr June Cully and Cllr Keith Farr have backed the project. In a joint statement, they said: “We’re delighted that the first stage of restoration works to Bastion No. 1 has been agreed. It’s important to prevent further damage and deter anti-social behaviour.
“Through the Coastal Revival Fund, the work can start to make this major part of Gosport’s ramparts a go-to destination for walkers, those interested in the town’s history or people just looking for somewhere to enjoy the views and relax.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the conservation team and residents to ensure it will be a highlight of our heritage.” The government’s Minister for Local Growth, Jake Berry, said: “Investment from the government’s Coastal Revival Fund will kick-start vital work to restore this important cultural landmark for the local community and boost tourism in Gosport.”
Source: Gosport Borough Council