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Developing a manned model shipping lake at Timsbury

The Warsash Maritime Academy, part of Southampton Solent University, has created a world class manned model training facility for commercial boat handlers. ECOSA carried out a full range of ecological surveys and prepared an ecological impact assessment in support of the development.

Client: Southampton Solent University

Objective: Modification of existing lake as a training facility

The original world-renowned manned model ship handling centre - one of only five in the world - was moved from its 10-acre Marchwood site to Timsbury after it was identified as an ideal site for training for the international shipping industry.

Work has been carried out on the lake to allow for ship models to navigate berths, basins and channels to recreate a variety of port scenarios, canal transits and berthing operations for officers and pilots to practice ship handling skills. It will allow complex maritime manoeuvres to be practiced in complete safety, making it a key training tool for the shipping industry.

As part of the ecological mitigation, ECOSA's ecological contracting team constructed two otter holts, created banks for water voles and enhanced a series of ponds for great crested newt. This has allowed the training facility to be operated at the site while maximising the ecological value of the lake complex.

Ongoing monitoring work at Timsbury Lake shows a thriving ecological community. Both new otter holts are in use and the water vole population has held strong with their new habitat provision fully utilised. The many bird and bat boxes installed on buildings and trees appear to have been popular with a rich variety of species. The great crested newt population has expanded rapidly, endorsing the refurbishment of derelict carp ponds at the site and enhancement works carried out at the former fish rearing ponds to the north of the site.