BROOK MEADOW – Homepage
Brook Meadow is a lovely wet meadow in Emsworth, a small town in the south east corner of Hampshire in the UK. It consists of 5 acres of grassland, surrounded by woodlands and flanked by two streams. It is full of birds, insects and wild flowers. It has two attractive interpretation boards with original artwork from a local wildlife artist (see below) and four signcases with news and photos.
It refreshes the senses and uplifts the spirits.
What more could you ask?
How to get to Brook Meadow
Brook Meadow is situated on the eastern side of Emsworth. Grid Ref: SU 751060. From east to west it extends from the industrial units in Palmer’s Road to the gardens of the cottages in Lumley Road; from north to south it extends from the railway line to the A259. Its dimensions are approximately 400 metres by 250 metres, or approximately 5 acres. The nearest car parks are Bridge Road (free!) and Palmer’s Road Car Park behind Tesco Express in North Street (Pay and Display).
The above sketch map shows the three entrances to the meadow marked with Xs.
The North Gate is at the bottom of Seagull Lane, a turning off North Street just south of the railway bridge. Go through a kissing gate and over the wooden bridge which spans the River Ems into the main meadow. Note: there is no parking down Seagull Lane.
The Lumley Gate is accessed from Lumley Road. Turn left along the public footpath opposite The Rookery and over the small bridge, then right though the gate to the left of wooden 5-barred gate. Alternatively, you can walk up the footpath along the western side of Peter Pond and after passing Gooseberry Cottage, turn left into the meadow.
The South Gate is accessed from Palmer’s Road Car Park. In the north eastern corner of the car park, next to the recycling bins, is the start of a riverside path which goes through Palmer’s Road Copse. Walk through the copse with the River Ems on your left for about 100 yards. Then turn left over the wooden bridge and then left again through a wooden entrance gate into the southern part of Brook Meadow.
Map of Brook Meadow
Here is a more detailed map of Brook Meadow and its immediate environment. The Brook Meadow site is coloured green. Roads and paths are red and the river, millstream and millpond blue. The railway runs across the top of the map and the A259 road through Emsworth along the bottom. The gasholder (D) has been demolished, but the industrial complex is on the left and Lumley Road on the right.
Access points . .A – Seagull Lane . . . B – Lumley gate . . . C – South gate
Features . . . E – Lumley Road Copse . . . F – Palmer’s Road Copse . . .G -Palmer’s Road Car Park.
The Interpretation Board
The artwork for the board shown above was done by local wildlife artist Marian Forster. Marian worked with the then chairman Brian Fellows on the design of the board for a whole year. It was finished in February 2004. The artwork is frequently said to be the best of any reserve in the country! Two interpretation boards showing the pictorial map are located in strong metal frames in Palmers Road car park and at the Seagull Lane entrance.
In 2005 the group donated Marian’s original painting to the Emsworth Museum in North Street where it could be seen and appreciated by everyone. Below is a photo of Marian with David Willetts MP at the official ceremony celebration the handing over the painting to the museum on 26 March 2005.
Brook Meadow is designated as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation and is also a Local Nature Reserve. It has been managed by the Brook Meadow Conservation Group since Year 2000 on behalf of the owners, Havant Borough Council. Documents show that Brook Meadow has been a water meadow since the middle of the 19th century.
A Brief History of Brook Meadow
Documents show that Brook Meadow has been a water meadow since the middle of the 19th century. The meadow has been owned by Havant Borough Council since July 1990 when it was purchased from the Mitchell family who used to reside in “Constant Springs”, the large house on the north side of the railway through which the River Ems runs before it goes into Brook Meadow. The meadow gets its name from a Brook Farm which was located on the east side of North Street in the middle of the last century, roughly opposite to where St James Road now enters North Street.
The 1838 Tithe Map and Schedule (Warblington, Ref F7/243/1-2) indicates that Brook Farm had pastures and orchards down to the river, all of which are now built over. The area on the other side of the river, i.e. our Brook Meadow, was described in the schedules as “water meadows”, which presumably means they were regularly flooded from the river.Below Brook Farm the 1838 map shows the river flowed into a millpond. This was presumably created to provide a head of water for Emsworth Flour Mills at the bottom of Queen Street. Although there is no longer a millpond at this point it must have a very long history in view of the fact (as indicated by David Rudkin in his book “The River Ems”) that there had been a mill here at least as far back as the Doomsday Book of 1086.
‘Brook Meadow Through the Ages’ by Frances Jannaway is an 80 page illustrated booklet with lots more information about this history of the meadow and the conservation group. Price of £2.50 available from Pam Phillips E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a commemorative plaque on the north bridge for two airmen who lost their lives when their plane crashed on brook Meadow in 1944
Here is a link to some memories by Adrian Voller of the collision which claimed two airmen’s lives. . . http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/22/a1138222.shtml