2020 End of Year report – A busy year in lockdown

The Watercress Way At Dusk

Trustees Mike Collis and Kim Adams look back on 2020 and what the charity has planned for 2021.

This has been a difficult year for the charity with the restrictions during the Covid pandemic. We were unable to run our normal range of activities and fundraise. Despite this, we have had a busy year planning for the future and adapting our activities.

We have recruited 3 new trustees, Stephen Jeffery, Chris Brunskill and Emma Banks, to consolidate and extend our range of skills.

The 10 trustees have continued to meet monthly via Zoom and have set up 13 sub-groups to develop the range of our activities from Fund Raising to Volunteering. Zoom allowed our AGM to function effectively too.

We revised and updated our Strategic Plan which you can download here. We shared it with a wide range of interested stakeholders including The Watercress Line and South Downs National Park.

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  • A series of guided walks in the summer as part of the 8 Walk challenge to complete the whole trail
  • Regularly updated the website and social media. On Facebook we increased to 1,151 followers and a reach of 23.6 k people. On Instagram and Twitter we now have 464 and 84   followers respectively.
  • Have set up our own YouTube Channel Watercress Way Charity – YouTube
  • Improved the Walk Cycle Ride pages to provide guides for users for the whole route and for shorter options
  • Updated the Down the Line page with the addition of a summary of the history of the two railways
  • Maintained the Wonston bridge site and improved the route through Sutton Scotney
  • Helped clear railway paths when tiers and lockdown allowed access. We assisted the Worthys Conservation Volunteer group on habitat improvements at Broadview and Worthy Down Platforms
  • Mentored 5 DoE students from Peter Symonds and St Swithins school
  • Conducted tree and bat surveys
  • Developed a permanent Children’s ladybird trail, launched for the Christmas holiday

Local Engagement:

  • Gained several significant and strategically located new sponsors: The Chestnut Horse and The Bush pubs
  • Obtained funding from Hellards Estate Agents for a guide book which will be published in 2021
  • Liaised with Hampshire County Council to produce Covid secure working practices and risk assessments for all our activities
  • Worked with Winchester City Councils on obtaining new rights of way and helped plan a new path along the disused railway line at Top Field, Kings Worthy
  • Continued to develop plans for disabled access to the Martyr Worthy mile of disused Watercress Line
  • Liaised with South Wonston Parish Council concerning improvements to the Ox Drove and the ramp to the railway cutting

 Plans for 2021 (when possible)

  • Install the 10 benches generously donated by Alresford Rotary Cub
  • Install a mag post funded by Winchester City Council for children to examine leaves and insects
  • Have stands at local shows and fetes
  • Run a series of guided walks
  • Continue to enhance the biodiversity of the trail through volunteer sessions


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