Milton's Hidden Seashore

Engaging People at Milton Locks

Wildbeach, Milton Locks © Paul Gonella

Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, between January 2016 and June  2018, the Milton’s Hidden Seashore  project worked to bring Milton Locks nature reserve back to the heart of the community.

During this time , over 4600 people participated in  events, education sessions, talks and other activities aimed at introducing people to their local nature reserve.

Milton Locks is a small two acre coastal nature reserve. What makes this place so special is the abundance of wildlife that can be observed, from birds such as oystercatchers and curlews, to salt marsh plants, and reptiles such as common lizards. As well as its significance for wildlife, the site also has a rich heritage. It started life as part of the Portsmouth to Arundel canal which opened in 1823 and was home to a houseboat community in the mid 20th Century.

Friends of Milton Locks blog    Events at Milton Locks

Project Activities

The activities of the project were focused around three themes, each highlighting the diversity and unique character of the reserve

Milton's Muddy Shores

Mud is marvellous and gravel is great. The seashore at Milton Locks provides a habitat for many plants and animals. Our shoreline safari provides opportunities for hands-on close encounters with coastal wildlife and inspires children and adults to take care of their hidden seashore.

A Grassland Adventure

Come on an adventure with us as we identify and investigate the animals and plants of the Milton Locks grassland habitat. Enjoy opportunities to catch, observe and classify minibeasts, explore the world of plants and discover much more in the long, whispering grass.

Locked in the Past

Journey back in time with us as we discover the historical tales of our hidden seashore and the surrounding area. Bronze Age and Saxon archaeological finds, wrecked boats, legendary characters and even a mysterious ‘ghost’ canal are just a few pieces of historical jigsaw. Explore the past with us at Milton Locks.

Art outdoors at Milton Locks nature reseve

© Paul Gonella

Local people and Milton Locks

Milton Locks nature reserve is an ideal place for local people to have first hand experiences of the wildlife on their doorstep. It is also a great place for young and old alike to enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of time spent outdoors and to learn about the natural and historical heritage of their area.

What have local people said about Milton Locks?

"We had a wonderful time and loved how much enthusiasm and patience the whole team put in to give us a fantastic morning out! My children absolutely loved it!" - parent who attended a family event

"In protecting this small yet significant part of the locks, you will be safeguarding a unique opportunity for city children to experience nature first hand." - Kevin Doyle, resident of Milton

Learning at Milton Locks

During the course of the Milton’s Hidden Seashore project, we worked with many schools, pre-schools and community groups, offering them outdoor learning and play experiences based around the three themes of the project.

What have teachers said about Milton Locks?

"The children loved the visit and remembered lots of details in follow up Science work." - Year 4 teacher

"Thank you…will be recommending to other teachers…Lots of great questioning going on." Year 6 teacher

Make a booking

To organise a self-led school or group visit, please email jess.parsons@hiwwt.org.uk to book a date.

To organise a visit led by one of our Outreach Education team, please email outreach@hiwwt.org.uk

Volunteer and and child at Miltons Locks nature reserve

Documenting Milton Locks' heritage

As part of Milton's Hidden Seashore, we worked with local media partners Strong Island Media to produce a unique short film about the amazingly rich heritage of Milton Locks. Together we gathered local people’s memories and archival film and photos of the area’s past, and celebrating the growing community exploring and celebrating Milton Locks nature reserve today.  

Generations have enjoyed the tranquil beauty of this section of Portsmouth’s coastline - from the painter Edward King and the houseboats of the 1940s, to today’s photographers and wildlife enthusiasts. The film can be watched in full below:

Life on the Water's Edge documentary © Strong Island Media

Discover Milton Locks today

Though Milton's Hidden Seashore has come to an end, there are plenty of ways to get involved. Why not download our guide to discover wildlife year-round, or bring your family to one of our upcoming events.

Girl at Milton Locks nature reserve

© Paul Gonella

Milton Locks Wildlife Tots

Join our Milton Locks Tots sessions, taking place on Tuesday mornings, from 10.30-12noon.

Wildlife Tots is a chance to take your under-5s to explore the great outdoors with the expert guidance of our staff and volunteers

Find out more
Seasonal wildlife guide for Milton Locks

Seasonal wildlife guide for Milton Locks

Guide

Discover Milton Locks

Download our Milton Locks discovery guide, including top tips on what wildlife you can see there all year round

Download