The History of Nore Barn Woods

‘Nore’ is from an Old English word, borrowed probably straight from Latin ‘ora’, meaning ‘bank’, but in its frequent use on the south coast of England (Bognor, Itchenor , Copnor and Tipner) it has a specialised meaning of ‘firm fore-shore or gravelly landing place’. This certainly fits Nore Barn Woods with its southern boundary of sand and shingle.

The woods are situated on what was farmland, with a long distance footpath route running through it (now called the Solent Way).

1290 to 1340         

The church at Warblington was rebuilt as a consequence of the rapid growth of Emsworth.

The path running from Emsworth to Warblington, now part of the Solent Way through the woods, was colloquially known as the Coffin Way, there being no church in Emsworth and mourners needing to walk across the fields to Warblington for funeral services and burials.


Nore Farm was well established by the early 20th Century. A watercolour painting by H Glanville-Spooner shows Nore Farm house.


Locals called the woods the bushy fields. The bunny fields were the next field to the West.  This field has a drainage pond which is lower than sea level. The pond had an outlet to the sea with an iron flaptrap on the seaward side. Locals called these flaps bunnies - hence the bunny fields.

Nore Barn Woods at the time was an open space populated with scrub, hawthorn, and brambles. The only trees were the oaks along the western edge and a couple of oaks on the South shoreline, the latter eventually lost out due to erosion of the banks with about 4 yards of bank.

The bushy field was a favourite spot for picnics, blackberrying and mushrooming. The hard shingle bank south of Maisemore Gardens was a safe popular place for kids and adults to swim, when the tide was right. It was also popular with courting couples, who made their way there via Love Lane which was a nickname for Warblington Road. 

World War 2

The area was farmed during the War. In the field by Conigar Point there are some brick structures which were used by the Home Guard for target practice.   

At Conigar point during the early war years there was an anti-aircraft gun, and a Royal Artillery unit camped there.          


The farmland around Nore Farm and the woods was sold by Henry Burges, Lilian Burges and Lilian Ward to Noel Norman (a surgeon).

There appears to have been 8 acres of arable and 1 acre of pasture in 1946, but farming soon stopped. It appears that the trees which have grown up on the site since then were planted by wildlife, squirrels and pigeons



The farm was sold by Noel Norman to Havant and Waterloo Urban District Council for £575.


The ‘”Nore Barn” was last shown on maps in 1954.


Maisemore Gardens estate built


Chichester Harbour (including Nore Barn Woods) was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).


The “woods” are first depicted on Ordnance Survey maps


Chichester Harbour Conservancy was set up by Act of Parliament to manage the AONB.


The Friends of Nore Barn Woods were formed.


Nore Barn Woods today are owned by Havant Borough Council and managed on a day-to-day basis by the Friends.

This history was compiled from information supplied by Henry Young of Warblington Farm and John (Jack) Llewellyn of Emsworth, to whom we are indebted. Additional information from the Registry Office Conveyance.





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