The University Botanical Garden is located in the valley behind the sports hall on the University campus. It was developed after World War 2 and provided a variety of plants and habitats. It fell into decline in the 1990s because of financial difficulties, but the future is now more assured with a ten year restoration plan in place.
Work was started before World War 2, but had to be held in abeyance during hostilities. Further land was bought in the 1950s.
Restoration is now in progress. The pond has been enlarged and is said to contain great crested newts. Thirty three new native trees have been planted in addition to existing rare trees, and the rockery is being restored. There is a badger set in the woodland slope.
A steering committee has been set up to oversee the long term restoration plans, which includes representatives from Southampton City Council, Plinke Landscapes (project planners), Biological Science Faculty, Director of Facilities and others, and a ten year plan is in place to improve the Botanical Gardens for educational and public recreational purposes.
Requirements for a Botanical Garden were brought before University College by the Professor of Botanical Science between the wars. Work was started before World War 2, but had to be held in abeyance during hostilities.
After the war the site of the Highfield Brickworks was bought by the University and allocated to the Botanical Gardens. Work re-commenced on the laying out of the gardens. Further land was bought in the 1950s which included a pond. The University was granted the Royal Charter in 1952. The following year work started on the construction of the research greenhouse. In the mid-1950s land recently purchased near the east end of the right of way across the valley, was also allocated to the Botanical Garden. A large area between the stream and common was cleared. In order to enlarge the garden, the right of way was diverted after approval at a local enquiry, and the cypress hedge extended along its full length.
By the 1990s the garden had developed into five parts comprising terraces, herb garden, pinetum, pond, and glass house. In the late 1990s the garden fell into decline because of financial difficulties. The upkeep was passed from the Biology Department to the Estates and Buildings Department, and in 1999 the garden was temporarily closed for repairs.