Working in partnership with the Forestry Commission, the Alice Holt Community Forum (AHCF) and the South Downs National Park Volunteer Ranger Service, the Alice Holt Arboretum Restoration Project (AHARP) has the following aims:
1 To restore the arboretum to its status as a tree collection of national importance, whilst recognising the sensitive nature of the site;
2 To restore and enhance biodiversity within the footprint of the arboretum;
3 To promote the quiet enjoyment by the public of the site’s arboretum interest and ecological value and, for this purpose, to improve accessibility around the site, but at the same time to conserve the intimate scale and wild character of the site;
4 To conserve, display and interpret the best examples of the existing specimen trees;
5 To plant new trees to increase the diversity and value of the collection for science, recreation and education; and to enhance the ecological value of the site;
6 To identify specific conservation projects which can be implemented using volunteer effort and external financial support, thereby fostering a sense of shared responsibility for our natural environment;
7 To identify an appropriate monitoring regime to record and help interpret ecological change over time;
8 To improve ecological connectivity between the Arboretum footprint and biodiversity hotspots within the wider landscape of Lodge Enclosure e.g. Bentley Station Meadow SSSI;
9 To provide an educational resource for all ages.
Since the beginning of 2011, with the help of a band of volunteers, paths have been scraped, scrub cleared, wildlife habitats created, trees planted, welcome signs erected, picnic benches installed and views opened up. Fifty dormouse boxes have been purchased and installed with the aim of monitoring the dormouse population under the National Dormouse Monitoring Programme. The Forestry Commission has undertaken a major thinning operation, which has opened up the arboretum to more light and enhanced the setting of the specimen trees, leading to a large tidying up operation by volunteers. The Community Forum, working with Binsted Parish Council, has successfully raised funds from Hampshire County Council and the South Downs National Park Authority to enable the path network to be restored. All specimen trees have been logged on a national database via a state-of-the art GPS mapping system and individually tagged. A tree trail, with tree labelling, has been established showing 30 of the specimen trees.