"let's go for a little walk....."

For anyone not familiar with the park and/or its facilities, please join with the The Friends of Leesland Park for a virtual walkaround of the park and to look at what is on offer. 

We begin our walk 'meeting' at the Daisy Lane entrance - a gate and fence structure immediately behind Whitworth Close and in close proximity to Leesland Federation Schools. From this particular vantage point the park opens out in front of you with the boundaries clearly visible. Stepping through the entrance we find ourselves on a large area of grassland which is widely used by young and old for such pursuits as park football, practising golf swings, flying model aircraft and dog walking. The parkland is also the venue for the now legendary ParkFest, an annual event that has featured the musical delights of the Kelly's Tattoo, The Monkey Butlars and Mista Messy to name just three bands. The music supported by a range of activities, charity stalls and workshop sessions. (Please visit the ParkFest tab for details of the next/latest event).

Keeping to the left of the parkland we follow the fence line/hedge that provides the border with Whitworth Close. The planting of this hedge which consists of alder, blackthorn and hawthorn was one of our first major projects and was designed to help bring the flourishing bramble under control. A rich crop of blackberries can still be harvested annually from the bramble that remains. Part way along this path we have our first opportunity for a rest and a look at what is going on around us by making use of the picnic benches located here (recycled of course).

Reaching the top of the parkland, we cross the tarmac path entering from Lavinia Road and enter the Sensory Garden zone. The first item you will spot is the 2015 introduction of a memorial garden in memory of local florist Heather Ayling (Zodiac Flowers). We then move into the shade of our hornbeam avenue - unfortunately the original concept for this area proved unmanageable for the volunteers but was subsequently rescued by the Community Payback and GBC Green Teams. In addition to the Heather Ayling Memorial Garden other items of particular interest in this area of the park include our unique carved wooden 'totem' pole markers, made from new railway sleepers and depicting our individual senses and overlooking this zone our 'Green Man' sentinel. This an imaginative piece of recycling utilising a former telegraph pole. Having completed your walk through Hornbeam Avenue, you will come across our sundial feature, to tell the time simply stand in the middle of the dial (thereby acting as a human gnomon) and work out the time from your shadow. Don't forget to add an hour for BST! 

From the Sensory Garden viewpoint we are in a position to observe the 3 formal activity areas on the park - the children's play area, sports area and skatepark. Both the skatepark and play area have benefitted from continued development activity, the latter through a grant from Community Spaces (Big Lottery) secured by the Friends of Leesland Park.  

Leaving the Sensory Garden behind and passing behind the skatepark you will see to your left what appears to be a large and unkempt area of the park. This something of a deliberate choice while the options for the light railway were being considered. In 2012 we entered discussion with other locally based organisations to consider the possible installation of a forest garden here but sadly that did not come to anything. The trees, shrubs and vegetation found here do however provide a rich habitat for the bird population. 

With the skatepark on our right we head back up the parkland noting the conservation area to our left and further ahead the Leesland orchard. The conservation area is managed with nature's assistance and is home to numerous fauna and flora. The more observant among you may have spotted the interpretation board sited just outside of the conservation area's boundary. Closer investigation will reveal this is part of the Gosport Heritage trail and provides a potted history of the area you are currently standing on.

In the event you decide to deviate from our walk and enter the conservation area, you might just be able to spot the remaining evidence of our once bog garden. Conceived in a spirit of great enthusiasm and involving the use of countless Marks and Spencer plastic bags and a veteran fire-engine the project proved to be wrongly positioned and failed to hold water...Oh well back to the drawing board with that one.

Back on the parkland and with the conservation area now behind us we can see the orchard more clearly, the plot further identified by a suitably inscribed piece of Purbeck stone. Planted in the orchard are a number of English fruit trees among which are apple, cherry, pear, meddler, quince and crab apple. In 2012 volunteers planted a fruit hedge along the boundary between the fruit trees and the parkland evidence of which is now very visible. Plants for the hedge donated as part of a nation-wide programme. Peering through the hedgerow to the rear of the orchard will provide you with a view of the Moreland Road allotments while in the centre of the orchard you will see our English Oak rural bench. Our adventures in timber extraction and onward building can be seen by visiting the Park Bench Blog pages. The bench replaced our much loved 'sound seat' believed to be the only structure in Gosport visible from space! Sited just in front of the bench there is a particularly interesting interpretation board depicting examples of the flora and fauna to be found in the park. The poster originally painted by a local resident but recently digitally reimagined due to water damage. Elsewhere in the orchard you will spot a rather unusual installation consisting of a semicircle of chestnut poles enclosing an interpretation board - this the start to Ruth's Trail.

We are back on the boundary this time adjacent to Daisy Lane, by turning are able to follow the grass track back to our original starting point.    

That then is the end of our walk, we hope you enjoyed this virtual introduction and have found the information useful as well as entertaining. We sincerely hope that you are now ready to visit the park for the first time or perhaps to rediscover this little gem at the heart of our community.

A map of the park can be found by clicking on the following link: Welcome to Leesland Park

And finally if you have any suggestions for revising/updating our site please get in touch by using the form in the  Contact Us link.