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History, environment and conservation

We conducted an investigation into the use of manned models for training mariners in ship handling 1979.  At the time the National Maritime Institute (now British Maritime Technology) was using manned models to examine the manoeuvring characteristics of large VLCCs, and therefore it was agreed that they might be suited for the training task.

Subsequently, two models became operational at Warsash in that role in 1980 on the original ship handling lake at Marchwood. Venture and Pioneer are still in use today as part of the greatly expanded fleet ranging from a passenger ferry/ro-ro of 27,000GT through to Venture itself at 300,000 dwt.

As part of a £2.7 million investment plan to keep Warsash at the forefront of maritime training, Timsbury Lake was acquired in 2009.  Work on remodelling of the lake and the purpose-built teaching block and workshop began in September 2010 and was completed in April 2011. The facility was officially opened by Southampton Solent University’s Chancellor, Admiral The Right Honourable Lord West of Spithead, in June 2011.

Environment and conservation at Timsbury Lake

Ducks at Timsbury LakeThe University’s ecological management plan, prepared in accordance with Natural England and local planning requirements, has ensured the development of the site as a haven for wildlife. 

Swans, geese, great crested grebes, herons, kingfishers and a variety of wildfowl inhabit the lake whilst the surrounding woodland supports finches, tits, nightingales, woodpeckers and buzzards.  Evidence of otter visits and deer, grass snakes, slow worms, newts and water voles have all been recorded, together with several species of bat.  A major feature of the project was the reinstatement of water vole habitat and an artificial otter holt was also constructed.

Hampshire County Council’s Highways Department and ecologists, together with the Romsey Society, were consulted regarding the archaeological assessments and landscape work.

Sympathetic consideration for the existing landscaping, wildlife and amenity features was also included in the planning. Mitigation measures included additional tree planting, selective removal of the minimum number of trees, a landscape and ecological management plan, reinstatement of access tracks and a natural finish to buildings. Renewable technologies were incorporated into the design in order to minimise the carbon footprint of the project.