Southampton Airport Aerodrome Safeguarding - Marlhill Copse
Marlhill Copse is an impressive and much-loved part of Southampton’s historic and natural environment. The copse is an Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland, a Registered Park and Garden, and a valued habitat site. In August 2018 Southampton Airport purchased Marlhill Copse, in order to undertake tree management work required under European aviation legislation. Specifically, the airport has an obligation to manage and minimise obstacles that breach a set of 3D safeguarded surfaces around the airfield. These are designed to protect aircraft operating in the area.
As responsible owners, we have a duty of care to the community to keep the woodland a safe and accessible place for all to enjoy. As stewards of this local treasure, we want to protect and enhance the Copse so that it flourishes in the years to come.
Our vision for Marlhill Copse is to deliver a place of extraordinary biodiversity that provides a safe, sustainable, and accessible space which educates, inspires, and is prized by all. Our Woodland Management Plan - a long-term programme that will maintain and enhance the woodland, ensure safety and accessibility, protect and enhance special character, and support vital biodiversity – details how we will achieve our goals.
Woodland Management Plan
We want to protect and enhance the Copse so that it flourishes in the years ahead. However, woodlands do not retain their special character without careful forestry management, and they do not remain safe and accessible without suitable care and attention.
So, following extensive consultation with residents, community groups, councillors, and statutory bodies, Southampton Airport has prepared a Woodland Management Plan for Marlhill Copse.
The Woodland Management Plan is a long-term programme to enhance Marlhill Copse, ensuring that it is healthier, more resilient, and more sustainable by 2030.
It sets out the how we propose to manage and enhance the special character, biodiversity, safety, and accessibility of the Copse over the next 10 years.
You can read a summary of the Woodland Management Plan and also frequently asked questions here.
And the full plan can be viewed here.
Our vision for Marlhill Copse is to deliver a place of extraordinary biodiversity that provides a safe, sustainable, and accessible space which educates, inspires, and is prized by all.
Our Woodland Management Plan sets out how this will be achieved but, in the meantime, we have been taking steps to make Marlhill Copse a better place for all. Recent work has included:
- Installing an accessible kissing gate at the main entrance, with radar key access
- Placing new natural seating throughout the Copse
- Raising a new signpost at the entrance to the Copse, designed and fabricated locally, that will connect to the footpath network envisaged by our Management Plan
- Delivering three information boards to explain Marlhill’s history, wildlife and plant life. With boards forming part of the Mosaic Way with local community group SO18 Big Local.
- Registering a previously undesignated ancient oak with the Woodland Trust
- Clearing routes within the Copse of storm damage
- Planting 20 new trees to celebrate 2019 Tree Week, and 15 new trees following tree safety works in 2020
- Creating new habitat with new log piles and fracture pruning
- Installation of 40 bat boxes throughout Marlhill Copse, which is part of our long-term commitment to enhance and maintain habitat diversity within the woodland
- Selective thinning of Sycamore trees within the woodland, which is a key part of our commitment to promote sustainable woodland management and regeneration in the Copse
If you have any queries or require further information, please contact Marlhill@southamptonairport.com.