All MWHG Blogs

Eileen Savill Award 2017 Results

November 16th, 2017 by Nikki

Mia [left] and Lilah [right] receiving their awards from Dave [centre]

The task for young people this year was to produce a piece of creative writing about minibeasts.

The winner was Lilah [aged 7], for her poem about a butterfly’s life. Told from the butterfly’s point of view, it explored the butterfly’s feelings through its life cycle.

Runner-up was Mia [aged 9], also for a poem but this time it described the variety of minibeasts, their characteristics and behaviours.

Read Lilah and Mia’s poems in our Autumn/ Winter newsletter: coming soon!

Eileen Savill Award carved by Peter Warren

The presentation ceremony took place at the Selsey Centre with family of the winners in attendance, members of the Savill family and friends, as well as MWHG members. The Award, certificates and other prizes were presented by Management Team Member, Dave Haldane, who is one of the group’s experts in identification of flora and fauna.

The girls both received a book about minibeasts and a gift token. And as winner, Lilah also received a book of poems and the Award itself. This year it was a diving Kingfisher, beautifully carved, as always, by Peter Warren.

After the presentations and hearing the poems, both read very confidently and clearly by Lilah and Mia, everyone enjoyed light refreshments and an opportunity to discuss the girls’ work.

The judging team now look forward to planning next year’s award.

 

The Eileen Savill annual Award was created by her family in 2012 to commemorate her work with young people, helping them overcome difficulties in their education and build on their strengths. She was a founder member of the Group and contributed artwork for many MWHG publications in order to celebrate the wildlife and heritage of the Manhood Peninsula.


Post by Joe

 

Our Own Community Champion

November 10th, 2017 by Nikki
Dave Haldane (centre) and volunteers celebrating at East Beach Pond

Dave Haldane [centre] and volunteers celebrating at East Beach Pond

Dave Haldane has won a Community Champion Award as part of this year’s South & South-East in Bloom Awards.

The judges wanted to recognise his unwavering commitment as a volunteer to help maintain various open spaces in Selsey, in particular East Beach Pond and Selsey Common. They were also very impressed with his knowledge of local flora and fauna and enjoyed the wonderful overview he gave of the areas during their judging tours.

He was one of only three people chosen to receive this award across the whole of the South & South-East in Bloom judging area, which includes about 300 communities.

Members of the East Beach Pond Group gathered to celebrate Dave’s award with bubbly and nibbles, at the end of their regular Tuesday afternoon session at the pond.


Post by Joe

Tooled-up for the Task Ahead

October 9th, 2017 by Nikki
Post by Rebecca

On Wednesday morning, a small group of MWHG volunteer leaders and staff took advantage of the autumn sunlight to unpack and label a large cache of new tools. Having been inundated by the newly ordered implements, it was a relief to FLOW Project Manager, Jane, to finally get them all out of the house and stored safely in the container! The tools, amongst which are spades, billhooks, hand-saws and rakes, are a timely acquisition, and have been distributed to different sub-groups for use across the peninsular. The tool’s arrival is also welcomed ahead of the FLOW Project’s busy autumn and winter work programme.

 

© Rebecca O’Dowd

Posing with an array of new tools, and itching to get started with them out in the field.

This addition to MWHG’s work-party resources is a result of a successful application to the WSCC’s Operation Watershed Fund, which was set up to support community and flood group initiatives tackling flood issues across the country. To qualify for the money, MWHG had to demonstrate the wider benefit of its work to the community, through education, training and sustainability- not just direct action- and have the support of the County Councillor. The outcome of that funding application, was that MWHG were awarded an impressive £3000 for new tools. Reflecting on the benefit this will have, FLOW Project Manager Jane Reeve, says “ I am looking forward to the difference this will help us make in enhancing local habitats, such as ditches, ponds and hedges- all of which contribute to controlling surface water and flood risk”. Lots of new tools require lots of volunteers to use them however, and the MWHG and FLOW Project are always looking for more ‘hands on deck’ to help meet their ambitious targets for surveying and improving wildlife habitats, across the Manhood Peninsula.

 

© Rebecca O’Dowd

It was a test of skill, teamwork and ingenuity to assemble to two wheelbarrows!

If you are interested in volunteering for the MWHG or FLOW Project, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We have a variety of volunteer roles available, and a full schedule of upcoming work party events, including regular ‘Flow Fridays’ and ‘Welly Wednesdays’. You can check out our events calendar, or keep in the loop by following us on Facebook @mwhg.page and Twitter @mwhgpage 

For more information on volunteering near you and how you can get involved, please contact Rebecca O’Dowd (Communications and Engagement Officer) on: hello@mwhg.org.uk

 

2017 Annual General Meeting

October 3rd, 2017 by Nikki

Notice of Meeting

Notice is hereby given that the 6th Annual General Meeting of the Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group [MWHG] will be held in the Exhibition Hall at Selsey Town Council Offices at 6.30pm on 26th October 2017 to transact the following business:

AGENDA

  • Opening remarks and Welcome
  • Apologies – please send these to the Chair of the Management Team
  • Minutes of previous AGM meeting
  • Matters arising from minutes
  • Reports and Updates
  • Presentation of Annual Report and Accounts
  • Adoption of Annual Report and Accounts
  • Election of Trustees and Treasurer
  • Members’ resolutions/motions to be put to AGM – proposed resolutions should be sent to the Chair of the Management Team by noon 12th October
  • Any other appropriate business/ questions
  • Closing statements

This will be followed by an illustrated talk by Gina and David Scott about their recent visit to Antarctica.

Light refreshments will be served during the evening.

By order of the Board of MWHG Charity Trustees

Joe Savill, Trustee and Chair of the Management Team:  chairmt@mwhg.org.uk

South & South East in Bloom Awards 2017

September 27th, 2017 by Nikki

East Beach Pond Spring 2017

Each year our members and volunteers work hard to manage special green spaces in Selsey, for wildlife and people to enjoy. Thanks to these efforts, this year we upheld our results in the South & South East in Bloom Awards!

Active member of the Group and working parties that conserve these sites, Sheila, said of the awards given – “We were pleased to maintain our standards in the South and South East in Bloom Awards this year.  We do strive to increase our marks each year and will continue to work hard to gain more in future.”

Selsey in Bloom Award Silver Gilt
Manor Green Park Silver Gilt
East Beach Pond Gold
Sensory Garden (in Manor Green Park) Thriving

Previous results for these spaces and other awards achieved by the Group can be found in our About Us

Sensory Garden, Manor Green Park Spring 2017

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

September 6th, 2017 by Nikki

You can now subscribe to be notified when our newsletter is released!

Already a member? You will be emailed each time a newsletter is published.

Take a look at our newsletter archive for stories from the Manhood Peninsula, progress reports from our project leaders, and more!

Brewery Field Community Open Day – Sunday 20th August

August 14th, 2017 by Nikki

The Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group’s Wildlife Officer, Sarah Hughes, will be at the Brewery Field Community Open Day in Chichester, this Sunday 20th August – come and say hello!

To celebrate the working history of the site, there will be Dray rides, a variety of green activities and more, organized by Transition Chichester and Friends of Brewery Field. Full Event Details on the Transition Chichester Website.

Brewery Field can be found here:

Selsey Lifeboat Launch Day – Sunday 6th August

August 1st, 2017 by Nikki

We’ll be at the Selsey Lifeboat Launch day, amongst the activities on the Lifeboat green.

Come say hello this Sunday, 6th August!

Full details about the day’s events can be found on the Selsey Lifeboat site, here.

New Job Opportunity – FLOW Communications and Engagement Officer

July 17th, 2017 by Nikki

 

FLOW – Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands Communications and Engagement Officer [Heritage Lottery Funded]

£24,000  pa

pro rata for 2 days a week

Fixed Term contract to the end of December 2020

 

Based: Selsey office/home-working

Closing date: Monday 14th August

Start date: As soon as possible

The Manhood Wildlife & Heritage Group is a registered charity, run by volunteers, which has been working to improve the environment of the Manhood Peninsula [south of Chichester] since 1997 – presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2010.

FLOW is an HLF funded Project to survey, primarily, the ditch and hedgerow networks of the Manhood Peninsula, then to plan and make improvements, in terms of wildlife value and sustainable water management. It is intended that much of the work will be carried out by volunteers and the successful applicant will have a vital role in recruiting volunteers and engaging the wider community more generally in project activities. They will also be responsible for publicising and promoting the project, as well as reporting on progress with it.

This is an exciting opportunity to work within a small friendly team, for a volunteer-led, local charity, to make a real difference to the wildlife, people and landscape of a special place in West Sussex.

Click the links for a full job description and an application form.

 

Spring/ Summer Newsletter 2017

June 14th, 2017 by Nikki

Read our new Spring/ Summer Newsletter.

FLOW 2017 Wetland Habitat Assessment and Improvement Plan

June 7th, 2017 by Nikki

 

The Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands project’s most recent survey reports that planned improvements to ponds, ditches and other habitat in the Manhood Peninsula will increase natural water storage from heavy rainfall, benefiting both people and wildlife.

Report

“The HLF FLOW study of the East Wittering and Bracklesham Parish ditch system took four months to complete and used a scoring system to analyse the main attributes of the ditches. This included drainage, environmental and biodiversity aspects. In this time 31 ditches and waterways were surveyed…” Read the full report here.

Appendixes

Photo examples

Action Plan

 

Upcoming Event: FLOW Drop in Results Session

May 29th, 2017 by Nikki

Eileen Savill Award 2017: Wild Writing

May 3rd, 2017 by Nikki

The Award is now in its sixth year and for 2017 we want you to celebrate the world of minibeasts in a piece of creative writing.

Much of the rest of the natural world depends on minibeasts so they are very special, yet we can see them every day. Think of butterflies, bees, bugs, beetles, moths, dragonflies, worms, woodlice, ants and spiders. The list is endless…

We would like you to produce a story, poem, letter, diary, speech or rap about a minibeast or minibeasts. It can be presented as: a handwritten piece, a word document – with or without illustrations – a storyboard/ comic strip, a video, a sound recording or an animation. Text may be scribed or typed by a friend or adult but all words and illustrations must be the work of the entrant.

Ideas to get you writing

  • Produce a picture book – older writers could write and illustrate one for a younger audience. There are plenty of great picture books with minibeasts as subjects to give you ideas
  • Write a letter from a minibeast to the human race explaining the problems they are facing and what we could do to help them
  • A minibeast autobiography – imagine you are a minibeast telling your life story or part of it
  • A minibeast faces a problem/challenge in their life and your story is how they tackle it – it could be a new housing development, a polluted pond, food shortage, etc.
  • An imaginary encounter with a minibeast – perhaps you have somehow shrunk to enter the minibeast world so everything is now life size
  • A minibeast on a quest meets other minibeasts and learns about them as they help out, or not
  • What would our world be like if ants, spiders, bees or any other minibeast ruled the planet, instead of humans?
  • A minibeast’s diary – see the world through their eyes for a day or days
  • A letter/ email from the minibeast family describing what they do for us for free and how things would be different without them
  • What would be on the menu at the Minibeast Summer Ball? – can you produce a beautifully illustrated copy for this grand event
  • How about an interview with a ‘celebrity’ minibeast – what would you want to ask?
  • The amazing range of fabulous features of minibeasts could be good themes for raps and poems
  • The story of a minibeast growing into a beautiful adult – rather like ‘The Ugly Duckling’

The judges will be looking for an engaging plot or theme, the thoughtful choice of language as well as some understanding of minibeasts. So write about what you know or do some research or, better still, find some minibeasts and watch what they do.

We welcome entries from any young person below 25 years of age who lives on the Manhood Peninsula or attends school there. Prizes will be awarded for different age categories, depending on the spread and number of entries, and an overall Award winner chosen.

The closing date for entries is the 31st July 2017 and you may submit your entry any time before this date.

All entries must be accompanied by the following information:

  • Name and age of entrant
  • Name of who to contact and their email or telephone number

Entries can be either sent to 28 Vincent Road, Selsey, West Sussex, PO20 9DQ (collection can be arranged if required) or emailed to chairmt@mwhg.org.uk

 

New Autumn/ Winter Newsletter

December 7th, 2016 by Nikki

Read our new Autumn/ Winter Newsletter.

autum-winter-2016-newsletter-blog-pic

FLOW – Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands Field Officer

November 25th, 2016 by Tom

FLOW – Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands

Field Officer [Heritage Lottery Funded]

£18,720  pa

pro rata for 4 days a week

Fixed Term contract to the end of December 2020

Location: Manhood Peninsula, West Sussex

Based: Selsey and from home

Closing date: Friday 9th December

The Manhood Wildlife & Heritage Group is a registered charity, run by volunteers, which has been working to improve the environment of the Manhood Peninsula [south of Chichester] since 1997 – presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2010.

FLOW is an HLF funded Project to survey, primarily, the ditch and hedgerow networks of the Manhood Peninsula, then to plan and make improvements, in terms of wildlife value and sustainable water management. The aim is to ensure that the wetland habitat is connected and managed to a high standard so that it functions for people and wildlife. It is intended that much of the work will be carried out by volunteers.

The successful candidate will have experience of managing volunteers, ecological field surveys and practical habitat improvement work. They will have knowledge and experience of writing management plans and practical hands-on experience of land management for nature conservation, particularly in relation to wetland habitats. They will be able to work independently as well as part of a team. A full, clean driving license is required as travel to areas that are often not accessible by public transport will be necessary.

This is an exciting opportunity to work within a small friendly team, for a volunteer-led, local charity, to make a real difference to the wildlife, people and landscape of a special place in West Sussex.

Job Description

Application Form

FLOW logoHLFHI_2747

FLOW Project Launch

November 1st, 2016 by Nikki

Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group (MWHG) has received a grant of £545,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands (FLOW) project.  This project will be working to improve and enhance wetland habitat across the Manhood Peninsula (MP) over the next four years.

vole-launchThe MWHG have previously successfully carried out mapping projects in Birdham, West Itchenor and West Wittering Parishes and the results of the survey work can be seen at www.mwhg.org.uk. Working with Chichester District Council, West Sussex County Council, and the Environment Agency, information is shared and sustainable solutions sought for persistent flooding issues with wildlife and people in mind. We will be surveying East Wittering and Bracklesham Parish until February with the parishes of Earnley, Sidlesham, Selsey, Hunston, North Mundham, Donnington and Apuldram to follow.

With the help of trained volunteers, the project will carry out essential survey work of the existing wetland network and map the findings to make them accessible for a wide range of audiences. Where environmental or flood issues are identified, solutions will be sought and physical work carried out where appropriate and possible.  Focus will be on building strong relationships between stakeholders to support a cohesive approach to wetland management across the Manhood Peninsula. Using tithe and old maps from the past, relic ponds and ditch systems are identified for recovery so that water can be held back away from people and properties.

The wetland network of the MP is currently a strong hold for the UK’s endangered water vole population that live in the ditches and ponds. Chichester and Pagham harbours, which flank the MP, have international significance as wetland habitats because of the wildlife they support.

flow-launchSome improvement work will involve contractors and machinery but people power will be required to cut back vegetation and open up ditches.  Working parties will be organised with plenty of refreshments and it is an opportunity to learn more about your local environment, meet new friends and have fun with a sense of satisfaction at the end of it.  We have carried out work in neighbouring parishes and made difference with volunteer groups that meet regularly to look after their local environment.  Please contact us and get involved!

We will be hosting an event at Bracklesham Barn on Thursday the 8th December 2016 at 10.00am – 12.00 midday for local people to come and tell us about flooding issues they have had, draw on maps to pin point problems, and to see the work that we have carried out in previous studies. Please do come along!

Please contact us at flow@mwhg.org.uk for more information or if you would like to volunteer.

logo FLOW logo HLF logo

FLOW – Communications and Engagement Officer

October 28th, 2016 by Tom

FLOW – Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands

Communications and Engagement Officer [Heritage Lottery Funded]

£24,000  pa

pro rata for 2 days a week

Fixed Term contract to the end of December 2020

Based: Home-working preferred

Closing date: Friday 18th November

Start date: Beginning of January 2017 or sooner

The Manhood Wildlife & Heritage Group is a registered charity, run by volunteers, which has been working to improve the environment of the Manhood Peninsula [south of Chichester] since 1997 – presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2010.

FLOW is an HLF funded Project to survey, primarily, the ditch and hedgerow networks of the Manhood Peninsula, then to plan and make improvements, in terms of wildlife value and sustainable water management. It is intended that much of the work will be carried out by volunteers and the successful applicant will have a vital role in recruiting volunteers and engaging the wider community more generally in project activities. They will also be responsible for publicising and promoting the project, as well as reporting on progress with it.

This is an exciting opportunity to work within a small friendly team, for a volunteer-led, local charity, to make a real difference to the wildlife, people and landscape of a special place in West Sussex.

Job Description

Application Form

FLOW logoHLFHI_2747

 

2016 Eileen Savill Award

October 28th, 2016 by Tom
7th October 2016 Eileen Savill Award
2016 Eileen Savill Award winners

2016 Eileen Savill Award winners

For the first time this year the Award was sponsored through our partnership with Vitacress.  The Award and First Prize went to 17 year old Hannah Farrant for her skillful landscape painting of a view over the new RSPB reserve at Medmerry. Once again local wood carver and MWHG member Peter Warren provided the Award, a carving of a robin with its head tucked under its wing.  Prizes were also awarded in the 5-7 and 8-11 age groups.  They went to Matilda Rey-Barriero, Mia Chung, Ruby Bensley, Elizabeth Broadbridge, Bethany Middleton and Sofia Casali for artwork depicting their observation of nature.  The ceremony took place at the Selsey Centre, watched by the families of the prize winners and members of MWHG, with all the winning artwork on display.  Presentations were made by Leah Mathias-Collins, Conservation Officer of Vitacress.
Vitacress

Beaches cleaner than last year

September 28th, 2016 by Tom

Two teams of our volu­nteers carried out su­rveys and beach clean­s for the Marine Conservation ­Society’s (MCS) annua­l Beachwatch weekend on 16th-18th Septembe­r.  This year’s event­ was special as an in­ternational survey of­ rubbish on beaches w­as carried out by the­ MCS.  These surveys ­provide data that ind­icates the changing p­icture of rubbish bei­ng deposited on our s­hores – volume, and s­ource where possible ­- examples: the fishi­ng industry, picnicke­rs, rubbish from ship­ping, as well as any ­creatures that have b­ecome entangled in ru­bbish and died as a c­onsequence. One team ­surveyed at East Beac­h, Selsey, and the ot­her round Selsey Bill­.  Both were pleased ­to report less rubbis­h being collected thi­s year, and the East ­Beach team met three ­local members of the ­public who said they ­picked up rubbish reg­ularly whenever they ­went on the beach.  T­hat’s fantastic, and ­thanks are due to all­ those folk who take ­the trouble to keep t­he beaches round the ­Manhood Peninsula rub­bish free, as well of­ course to our loyal ­and hard-working volu­nteers.

South and South East in Bloom Awards 2016

September 20th, 2016 by Tom
Sensory Garden in Spring

Sensory Garden in Spring

Sensory Garden in Autumn

Many congratulations to our brilliant Selsey Volunteers, you have done it again! The awards won by your efforts are listed below:

Manor Green Sensory Garden: Level 4 Thriving
Manor Green (small park): Gold
East Beach Pond (small conservation): Gold and Best in Category
Selsey in Bloom: Silver Gilt

We are proud of you!

East Beach Pond in Autumn

East Beach Pond in Autumn

Spring/ Summer Newsletter 2016

August 9th, 2016 by Nikki

Read our new Spring/ Summer Newsletter.

spring summer 2016 newsletter

 

FLOW Report: Ditch Assessments Results and Improvement Plan

June 1st, 2016 by Nikki

pond

The FLOW project has released a report on the findings from ditch assessments carried out across the West Wittering Parish. These findings have been used to create a plan to help wildlife and prevent flooding, by improving wetland conditions.

Report

“The HLF FLOW study of the West Wittering Parish ditch system took eight months to complete and used a scoring system to analyse the main attributes of the ditches. This included drainage, environmental and biodiversity aspects. In this time 255 ditches and waterways were surveyed…” Read the full report.

Appendix (Photo Examples)

Read the appendix.

Eileen Savill Award 2016

May 23rd, 2016 by Tom

WILD ART

The Award is now in its fifth year and for 2016 we want you to celebrate local wildlife with a piece of artwork.

It can be of any subject – plant, animal, your favourite wild place or view. But it must be based on first-hand observation somewhere on the Manhood Peninsula, not copied from pictures or photos – unless you took them, of course.

You can use any media, so it can be a drawing, painting, collage, sewing or 3-D work, etc. The choice is yours.

We would like you to provide a title which includes details of the subject and its location e.g. ‘A young Blackbird feeding in my garden in Selsey’

We welcome entries from any young person below 25 years of age. Prizes will be awarded for different age categories, depending on the spread and number of entries, and an overall Award winner chosen.

The closing date for entries is 31st July 2016 and you may submit your entry any time before this date.

All entries must be accompanied by the following information:

  • Name and age of entrant
  • Title of artwork
  • Name of who to contact and their email or telephone number

Artwork should be sent or delivered to 28 Vincent Road, Selsey, West Sussex PO20 9DQ. Collection can be arranged, if required.

For further information email chairmt@mwhg.org.uk

GET INVOLVED IN WILD ART

Vitacress

Sponsored by VITACRESS

Invitation to the West Wittering FLOW Outputs Session

May 11th, 2016 by Nikki

invite june 1 FLOW

FLOW Project May 2016 e-bulletin

May 11th, 2016 by Nikki

Click here to view the full e-bulletin.

may 2016 e bulletin 1

 

Coffee Morning for Sussex Wildlife Trust

March 24th, 2016 by Nikki

SWT coffee morning

FLOW Project – January 2016 e-bulletin

January 25th, 2016 by Tom

Click here to view the full e-bulletin.

jan 2016 flow project news

New Newsletter

December 15th, 2015 by Nikki

Read our new Autumn/ Winter Newsletter.

thumbnail 2015 aw newsletter

Nature Walks to Put in Your Diary

December 2nd, 2015 by Nikki

Click on the poster to get a printable pdf of our upcoming walks through Selsey.

selsey walk 2015 - 16

What is FLOW?

November 9th, 2015 by Nikki

Flow is our newest project. Meet the FLOW team and find out more about how the project will prevent flooding and protect wildlife, at one of our open events this weekleaflet 1.1

leaflet 1.2

AGM 2015

October 22nd, 2015 by Tom

2015 AGM with Agenda

MINUTES OF THE AGM 2014

Update on East Beach Pond

October 2nd, 2015 by Dave Haldane

The volunteers of the East Beach Pond Group were awarded a gold in the conservation category of the South and South East in Bloom 2015. The small group of volunteers who meet here three times a month, and devote a further day to Selsey Common, were over the moon with this recognition of their achievement. This ecologically important site has been regularly maintained by volunteers for almost a decade. The judges scored the site 174 points out of 200 and we are already planning next years work schedule so as to maintain this high standard.

Exciting Job Opportunities in Wetlands Project

August 25th, 2015 by Tom

The FLOW project has created two new part time jobs – Project Manager and Wetlands Field Officer

FLOW – Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands Project Manager

£24,000 pa      pro rata for 4 days a week

Fixed Term contract for 8 months with a possible extension to 2020

Closing date: Friday 4th September

The Manhood Wildlife & Heritage Group is a registered charity, run by volunteers, which has been working to improve the environment of the Manhood Peninsula [south of Chichester] since 1997 – presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2010.

This post will initially deliver a Wetlands Condition Assessment programme , identifying opportunities to improve the wetland network on the Manhood peninsula, working with volunteers, key organisations, landowners and the local community. The aim is to ensure that the wetland habitat is connected and managed to a high standard so that it functions for people and wildlife.

The successful candidate will have experience of managing projects, programmes and contracts, as well as managing volunteers and working with local communities. In addition, they will need to possess an ecological background and knowledge of the associated legislation.  They will have knowledge and experience of writing management plans and practical hands-on experience of land management for nature conservation, particularly in relation to wetland habitats.  They will be able to work independently as well as part of a team and be required to line manage an assistant.  A full, clean driving license is required as travel to areas that are often not accessible by public transport will be necessary.

For further details and how to apply email chairmt@mwhg.org.uk or ring 01243 607104

FLOW – Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands Field Officer

£18,000  pa

pro rata for 4 days a week

Fixed Term contract for 8 months with a possible extension to 2020

Closing date: Friday 4th September

The Manhood Wildlife & Heritage Group is a registered charity, run by volunteers, which has been working to improve the environment of the Manhood Peninsula [south of Chichester] since 1997 – presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2010.

This post will initially assist in the delivery of a Wetlands Condition Assessment programme, identifying opportunities to improve the wetland network on the Manhood peninsula, working with volunteers, key organisations,  landowners and the local community. The aim is to ensure that the wetland habitat is connected and managed to a high standard so that it functions for people and wildlife.

The successful candidate will have experience of managing volunteers, ecological field surveys and practical habitat improvement work. They will have knowledge and experience of writing management plans and practical hands-on experience of land management for nature conservation, particularly in relation to wetland habitats. They will be able to work independently as well as part of a team. A full, clean driving license is required as travel to areas that are often not accessible by public transport will be necessary.

For further details and how to apply email chairmt@mwhg.org.uk or ring 01243 607104

HLF logoFLOW logo

 

Exciting News for all MWHG members

August 25th, 2015 by Tom

It is with great pleasure that the MWHG Trustees and Management Team can now announce that the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded us a new grant.  This grant is called Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands, FLOW and has its own logo.

Following the success of the 3 year Water Vole Project , we applied for money with the aim of improving and enhancing the network of wetlands habitat across the whole of the Manhood Peninsula thus connecting up our internationally important wildlife sites.  This new grant provides the opportunity to create a much improved peninsula and help reduce flood risk.

Two pilot projects have taken place in the Parishes of Birdham and West Itchenor, with the support of the Parish Councils and local Flood groups. MWHG carried out an assessment of the current wetlands system and produced a costed list of management actions required.

The HLF award comes in two parts – a Development Phase (9 months) to trial our plans then, if approved, a second Delivery Phase grant to carry out all the necessary work. Provided everything runs smoothly, the project will continue for 5 years with funding to a total of  half a million pounds. Two new part time jobs will be created – those of Project Manager and Wetlands Field Officer.  MWHG has also been provided with an HLF mentor, Paul Walshe, who has both local and national knowledge.  Indeed, he designed the HLF landscape-scale awards.

Thank you to the many local organisations which supported our application.

HLF logoFLOW logo

 

New Newsletter

August 3rd, 2015 by Pam

Summer Newsletter 2015

New Newsletter

April 20th, 2015 by Pam

Spring Newsletter 2015

Eileen Savill Award 2015

October 1st, 2014 by Tom

Time for a Challenge

We would like to invite you to take part in the Eileen Savill Award this year. This is an Environmental Award we organise for young people.

The Award has two aims: firstly, to celebrate those who are already caring for their local environment and, secondly, to encourage others to get involved. In previous years we have concentrated on the first aim by seeking nominations. This year we want to focus on the second, by encouraging young people to carry out a long term study of one aspect of the natural world. Their observations and findings can be recorded in any way they choose, such as a video, journal, artwork, CD, DVD, spreadsheet, etc., or any combination of these.

A winner or winners in each age group will be chosen and all will receive prizes. An overall winner will gain the Award.

The natural world is so diverse that the choice of subjects is extensive. The list of suggestions is by no means comprehensive and I am sure that imagination will reveal many more, so don’t be limited by it.

The Challenge

To study an aspect of nature for a year and to record your observations and findings

 Award Guidelines

  • There will be 4 age groups: 4-7 years, 8-11yrs, 12-16yrs and 17-24yrs
  • Observations may be recorded in any way you choose – artwork, photography, writing, on CD or DVD, as a spreadsheet, etc, or any combination
  • Winners will be selected for each age group and an overall winner of the Award chosen from these. All winners will receive prizes.
  • All projects/studies must be submitted by 1st July 2015. These can be collected or sent to 28 Vincent Road, Selsey, West Sussex. PO20 9DQ
  • The following information must accompany each submission:
Name and Contact details of entrant[s] Age(s) [at date of submission] Title/description of project/study

 

  • Although the study must be long term – covering all the seasons, the frequency and total number of observations/visits is up to you.
  • Winners will be notified by September 2015.
  • Entrants do not have to live on the Manhood Peninsula but the observations must take place there
  • Please indicate that you are taking part by emailing Joe [email below]

Suggestions for projects/studies – A Year in the Life of…

  • a tree
  • a hedge
  • a pond
  • a lawn
  • birds at feeders
  • a container garden
  • a metre square of grass
  • a metre square of soil
  • life under a stone
  • a log pile
  • a minibeast tower
  • a flower border
  • an old wall
  • a bush or shrub
  • a particular plant
  • artificial habitats
  • an area of seashore, park, reedbed, garden, meadow or any other local patch of nature

Or any idea of your own!

Contact Joe on 01243 607104 or email joesavill@fsmail.net for further details or support.

Eileen Savill lived in Selsey for almost 50 years and devoted her life to encouraging young people by teaching for 23 years at Manhood School [now The Academy, Selsey]. She always saw the potential in young people and nurtured it, even when others had written certain young people off. She was a founder member of the MWHG and contributed artwork and photographs to many of the group’s publications. Eileen loved the area and was passionate about preserving and celebrating its heritage. She was also an active volunteer in many of Selsey’s groups, including the RNLI and Camera Club. She spent her life giving.

Water vole habitat work in Sidlesham

June 24th, 2014 by Jane Reeve

A ditch in Church Farm Lane, Sidlesham that links two ponds together has had a make over in the last few months.  The roadside ditch has had water voles living in it for the last few years but one section was getting very overgrown and water voles were no longer using it.  Bring in the Water Vole Patrol and over a couple of days the site was transformed, the water exposed and sunlight able to hit the banks allowing a greater biodiversity of vegetation to grow up.

IMG_2209Before

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_2210After

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water Vole trapping at the Medmerry realignment

June 24th, 2014 by Jane Reeve

In March, MWHG volunteers plus the University of Brighton carried out water vole trapping on the Medmerry realignment site.  we were looking to make sure that water voles were still making a home of some of the pre-existing ditches and to check to see if any of the new ditches designed as good water vole habitat had water voles in them.

We did find water voles, and lots of them, but not in the new habitat which was still quite raw and new.

IMG_2240Medmerry site – original ditch

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_2235Water vole being checked for its condition

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eileen Savill Award 2014

April 10th, 2014 by Tom

TIME TO PRAISE YOUNG PEOPLE

Do you know young people who truly care for their environment?

 

The Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group[MWHG]  is seeking nominations for the Eileen Savill Award. This is a new annual award for young people, under 25 years of age, who contribute to the conservation or celebration of the landscape, wildlife or heritage of the Manhood Peninsula, or help others learn about this special place.

 

The award is open to individuals or groups who have shown enthusiasm and commitment towards practical conservation work or learning about the wildlife and/or heritage of the area or celebrating it through art, photography, writing etc. Those nominated do not have to live on the Manhood Peninsula but their activities must relate to it.

 

Examples of actions meriting nomination could include:

 

  • Setting up a wildlife garden
  • Working for a Green Group or Gardening Club in school
  • Taking part in survey work
  • Regular volunteering for an environmental or heritage group
  • Keeping a nature diary or records of sightings
  • Helping to clean up an area
  • A research project
  • Helping others to understand more about their local heritage or wildlife
  • Leading practical conservation tasks
  • Writing, art or photography inspired by local landscapes, wildlife or  heritage

 

We welcome nominations for individuals, family groups, children/students at school, college or university, cubs, scouts, brownies, guides, members of other youth groups as well as members of conservation or history/heritage groups. Previous nominees may be nominated again.

 

The winner of the award will receive a commemorative trophy and a prize chosen to support the winner’s activities. The presentation will take place in September, 2014.

 

Last year’s winner, Stephanie Robinson, was nominated for her volunteering with the education department at Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve. The runners up were Joshua Dobbins: recognised for his practical work for wildlife in Sidlesham, and The Spaceman Community Project:  a group improving East Beach play area.

 

MWHG will be 17 years old this year. During this time it has received both local and national awards for its success in engaging people in action for local wildlife and heritage, as well as its educational work.

 

Eileen Savill lived in Selsey for almost 50 years and devoted her life to encouraging young people by teaching for 23 years at Manhood School [now The Academy, Selsey]. She always saw the potential in young people and nurtured it, even when others had written certain young people off. She was a founder member of the MWHG and contributed artwork and photographs to many of the group’s publications. Eileen loved the area and was passionate about preserving and celebrating its heritage. She was also an active volunteer in many of Selsey’s groups, including the RNLI and Camera Club. She spent her life giving.

 

 

Nomination forms can be downloaded here: Nomination form – 2014

or are available from

Joe Savill – 01243 607104.

 

Completed forms should be returned to Joe Savill, 28 Vincent Road, Selsey, West Sussex. PO20 9DQ   joesavill@fsmail.net

 

Deadline for entries is Thursday 31st July, 2014

 

Illustrated talk – Adventures of the Outdoor World

February 12th, 2014 by Tom
Michael Blencowe is giving an illustrated talk in Selsey shortly:
Thursday, 27th February, 7.30pm
St Peter’s Church Hall, St Peter’s Crescent, Selsey
Subject: Adventures of the Outdoor World
Those who attended the Butterfly course he took on our behalf last Spring will know what an excellent speaker he is and may welcome the chance to hear him on a different subject; those who missed the course may be pleased of another opportunity to hear such an excellent speaker.  Michael was actually elected as “speaker of the year” in his home town of Lewes when he lived there and is an untiring worker and enthusiast for wildlife in general and butterflies in particular.
Admission is £1.50, there will be refreshments and a raffle and all profits will go to Sussex Wildlife Trust.  All are welcome and are guaranteed a good evening!

Hedgerow Update January 2014

January 28th, 2014 by Felicity McStea
MPFm 16.01.14 Hazel Catkins - © FM - Comp
Hazel Catkins – ©2014 Felicity McStea

Our mid January maintenance working party was greeted by the sight of this young hedgerow’s first hazel catkins (Corylus avellana) waving in the breeze. Volunteers dodged a couple of heavy showers to do a morning’s tidying and transplant suckers of blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) to fill some of the gaps where hedging plants had failed, as  reported previously.

A Robin (Erithacus rubecula) was our constant companion, foraging in the ground that we had disturbed.  Sightings also included two Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba); Magpie (Pica pica); Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) and a Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) flying low over the field’s winter mustard crop.  We heard Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) and Dunnock (Prunella modularis) in more established hedges nearby and two Redwing (Turdus iliacus) as they overflew the site.

MPFm 16.01.14 Work Party - © FM - Comp

Volunteer Working Party – ©2014 Felicity McStea

 

Bonfire at Florence Pond, Nov 2013

November 22nd, 2013 by Jane Reeve

We carried out a bonfire of all dead material created at the start of October by the TCV, and our volunteers, clearing the hedge and cutting back the bramble.  We picked a dryish day and came prepared with fire lighters and kindling and before long it was really going.  There was a lot of material to burn but with the help of a trusty team from the ASHE group the dead branches, bramble and laurel was all burnt. Well done!

Before

We set up a fire site and then carefully lifted material into the fire – this way no hedgehogs or other animals could get accidently incinerated or burnt.

After

The fire was allowed with kind permission of the farmer who has been very supportive of all our work at Florence Pond.

 

Bushell’s Pond with water in it!

November 8th, 2013 by Jane Reeve

After the hard work in October, when the TCV came and cleared all the bramble form Bushell’s pond, it was great to see that there is finally water in it.  we need to have a continual plan to keep it clear of rubbish and to populate it with other marginal vegetation but it is now looking like a pond.  It was very encouraging to see a water vole in the ditch just a few metres away – on the opposite side of the road to the farm entrance.  This ditch was dug out earlier in late summer but had been dry for 3 months.  Yellow iris and water cress is sat on the bankside and will be used to populate the pond.  The water vole was seen excavating a burrow in the bank in the long grass and then swimming underwater to the other side.

Willow removal from Sheep Dip Pond

October 26th, 2013 by Jane Reeve

Natural succession can slowly fill ponds with vegetation and willow and to maintain biodiversity ponds have to be managed.  Sheep dip pond has had water vole records for the last couple of years but has slowly been over taken by willow.  After a dry summer with little rain, there were no water voles as the water left the pond.  This was an opportunity to tackle the willow, remove it and to open up the pond for other vegetation to exploit the increased light levels.

Before                                                                After

Water Vole trapping on Chichester Canal Oct 2013

October 26th, 2013 by Jane Reeve

We had a very enjoyable water vole trapping session on the Chichester canal, the Birdham section, at the beginning of October 2013.  Trapping water voles requires a license from Natural England and must be related to a scientific project that will benefit the species.  Rowenna Baker from The University of Brighton is carrying out DNA analysis of water voles to better understand their relationships and dispersal in different habitats.  Rowenna has been using the population on the Chichester canal as one of her study groups and this is the 3rd trapping session that she has carried out.

The first stage of the trapping is to put out 50 traps over a kilometre stretch.

Then the traps are baited with apples and filled with hay and carrot.  On this occasion the apple and carrot were kindly provided by Nature’s Way – 10kg of carrot and 50 apples.  The traps are then checked morning and night – the difficult bit is getting the water vole out of the trap!

 

Once a water vole is caught – it is ‘processed’.

First the individual is checked to see if it has already been caught and micro-chipped in a previous session.  If not it is weighed, sexed, its condition assessed, and then it is micro-chipped.

The water vole is then placed in a Pringles tube and released back into the canal where it was caught.

The water vole trapping did not catch as many water voles this year as we have in previous years.  in total we got 7 individuals, which compared to 18 in Oct 2012 is significantly less.  There may be a number of factors that has caused this drop.  The water levels in the ditches and ponds across the peninsula have been very low as a result of a dry summer and this has also affected the canal.  The canal banks had been strimmed removing much of the bankside vegetation and the open water of the canal is dominated by a thick pond weed.  These may all be factors that have made trapping water voles more difficult this year.

The Water Vole Patrol all had fun with the trapping, not sure the water voles enjoyed it quite so much!  Thanks to Rowenna and Pete for including us in their project.

 

Trust for Conservation Volunteers visit

October 25th, 2013 by Jane Reeve

We were lucky enough to have 10 volunteers, and 2 leaders, from the Trust for Conservation Volunteers spend a Water Vole Weekend with us at the start of October.  They spent two and a half days tackling large habitat restoration jobs and really put in lots of hard work.

We also fed them, with the help of many MWHG volunteers, and ensured that they had lots of fun and knew how the work was going to improve habitat for water voles.

The corner of Florence Pond before:

And after:

 

Dinner for 12!

The work to clear Bushell’s Pond in Almodington was also a triumph with lots of keen hands.

Before                                                                        After

   

 

TCV Weekend 3-6 Oct

October 13th, 2013 by JohnH

Us hosting the event proved to be a great success, The weather stayed fine, an enjoyable time by all those involved. A big thank you to all volunteers who made this happen.

John Hiscock

Volunteers from round England join in to help MWHG

September 7th, 2013 by Jill Sutcliffe
Installing coir rolls in a ditch to aid water voles

Volunteers hard at work, photograph by Jane Reeve

A dozen people who are involved with the Trust for Conservation Volunteers are visiting the Manhood Peninsula at the beginning of October as part of their working holiday.  The extra hands will be a great asset and will help with work to improve the habitats on the peninsula.

Water Vole Patrol

September 7th, 2013 by Jane Reeve

The water Vole Patrol are a group of volunteers that work in the countryside of the Manhood Peninsula with farmers and other landowners to secure the long term future of the nationally rare and endangered water vole.  The key to their long term survival is connecting up the small colonies that live across the area in ponds, ditches, rifes, reedbeds and canals, to encourage genetic diversity, to ensure dispersal of young and to allow movement during environmental stress, and finally, American mink eradication.

The water voles do not always live in pristine and quiet waterways.  One colony of water voles lives in the Bremere Rife in Hunston and this a fairly urban stretch with a fast busy and noisy road adjacent to it. There is some vegetation but the site of the most active burrows are found close to a pub and the water course here is full of litter and broken glass.  Water voles seem to adapt and be very loyal to burrow systems.

Hedgerow Update September 2013

September 7th, 2013 by Felicity McStea

Two and a half years have passed since we planted the new hedgerow at Mile Pond Farm. A dry start led to a quarter of the young hedging plants failing in their first year. Of those surviving, some have fared better than others. Those at the lower (wetter) end of the site have put on the most growth.

Once the hedgerow is fully established, we hope to hone our hedge laying skills. In the meantime, maintenance working parties keep down the worst of the pernicious weeds growing in the hedge line. However, we do leave a few flowering plants to add interest and to benefit the insect world. Side trimming and topping will ensure growth does not encroach on The Salterns Way Cycle Path, nor obstruct views across the fields to the South Downs.

© 2011 Felicity McStea

At 7 months – Oct 2011

 

 

 

© 2013 Felicity McStea

Great Willowherb (Epilobium hirsutum)    growing in hedgerow – Aug 2013

 

 

© Felicity McStea

At 2½ years – Sept 2013

 

 

 

 

 

SWALK BBQ

September 7th, 2013 by Bill Martin

SWALK BBQ held at The Shack on 9th August to celebrate 4 years since the first SWALK.

Sidlesham Recreation Ground and Community Orchard

September 4th, 2013 by Gina
Planting the Community Orchard

Planting the Community Orchard

We work with Sidlesham Parish Council to manage the woodland strip adjacent to the childrens’ playground, and we assist with management of the Community Orchard, planted in 2012 with heritage fruit trees.  Each tree has been ‘adopted’ by a member of the community.

Beachwatch Big Weekend 2013

July 29th, 2013 by Tom
East Beach, Selsey
Saturday 21 September 3:30pm – 5:30pm
Beachwatch is a national event held annually by the Marine Conservation Society the third weekend in September.  MWHG organizes the clean-up at East Beach, Selsey, in conjunction with the Mulberry Divers, who clean below the waterline at the same time. 
All rubbish collected is recorded, weighed and the information sent to the MCS for their records and use in publicity.
It is a good family event and the reward is a super barbecue organized by the Selsey Lions. See Poster for details.
PLEASE BRING A PAIR OF STRONG GLOVES WITH YOU!

Graylingwell Park Summer Garden Party & Scouts Children’s Day – Saturday 6th July 10.00 – 16.00

June 13th, 2013 by Sarah

An event for the whole family.
We look forward to seeing you there

Click for A4 Poster

Open Farm Sunday – 9 June 2013

June 6th, 2013 by Sarah

Open Farm Sunday – links people, wildlife & the farming community.

This year’s Open Farm Sunday will be held at Caroline’s Dairy, Marsh Farm & Chalder Farm (access via Church Farm Lane, Sidlesham, Chichester).

For SAT NAV use PO20 7RE then follow the Open Farm Sunday signs.

 

Highlights include:-

  • Hosted tours of the dairy
  • Watch pregnant cows being scanned
  • Find out about the amazing wildlife we have
  • See the cows being milked (between 2pm and 4pm)
  • Pond dipping
  • See Caroline’s Dairy ice cream being made, buy to eat on the day and take home
  • BBQ
  • Afternoon tea and cake
  • Make a bug home to put in your garden with the RSB

     

     

Open Farm Sunday 2013

Click for a poster

Open Farm Sunday is a fantastic opportunity for everyone, young and old, to meet the farmers who grow their food and care for the countryside.

 

To find out more, please visit – http://www.farmsunday.org/ofs12b/home.eb

We look forward to seeing you there.

 

Local Development Framework Response

June 3rd, 2013 by Gina
Manhood Peninsula

Aerial view of the Manhood Peninsula

Chair Dr. Jill Sutcliffe has responded at length to the consultation on behalf of the group.  The main point of the response is that Biodiversity and Green Infrastructure should be given significant priority in planning matters. For full details of the response contact Dr. Sutcliffe. Email: chairman@mwhg.org.uk

Eileen Savill Award 2013

March 30th, 2013 by Tom

TIME TO PRAISE YOUNG PEOPLE

Do you know young people who truly care for their environment?

 The Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group[MWHG], a registered charity,  is seeking nominations for the Eileen Savill Award. This is a new annual award for young people, under 25 years of age, who contribute to the conservation and celebration of the landscape, wildlife and heritage of the Manhood Peninsula, as well as for those who help others learn about this special place.

The award is open to individuals or groups who have shown enthusiasm and commitment towards practical conservation work or learning about the wildlife and/or heritage of the area or celebrating it through art, photography, writing etc. Those nominated do not have to live on the Manhood Peninsula but their activities must relate to it.

Examples of actions meriting nomination could include:

  • Setting up a wildlife garden
  • Taking part in survey work
  • Regular volunteering for an environmental or heritage group
  • Keeping a nature diary or records of sightings
  • Helping to clean up an area
  • A research project
  • Helping others to understand more about their local heritage or wildlife
  • Leading practical conservation tasks
  • Writing, art or photography inspired by local landscapes, wildlife or  heritage

We welcome nominations for individuals, family groups, children/students at school, college or university, cubs, scouts, brownies, guides, members of other youth groups as well as members of conservation or history/heritage groups. Previous nominees may be nominated again.

The winner of the award will receive a commemorative trophy and a prize chosen to support the winner’s activities. The presentation will take place in September, 2013.

The first award, presented last year, went to 18 year old Matthew Totham for his practical conservation work with the Chichester Ship Canal Trust.

MWHG is over 15 years old this year. During this time it has received both local and national awards for its success in engaging people in action for local wildlife and heritage, as well as its educational work.

 Eileen Savill lived in Selsey for almost 50 years and devoted her life to encouraging young people by teaching for 23 years at Manhood School [now The Academy, Selsey]. She always saw the potential in young people and nurtured it, even when others had written certain young people off. She was a founder member of the MWHG and contributed artwork and photographs to many of the group’s publications. Eileen loved the area and was passionate about preserving and celebrating its heritage. She was also an active volunteer in many of Selsey’s groups, including the RNLI and Camera Club. She spent her life giving.

Nomination forms can be downloaded here: 2013 Nomination Form

or are available from:

Joe Savill – 01243 607104.

Completed forms should be returned to Joe Savill, 28 Vincent Road, Selsey, West Sussex. PO20 9DQ   joesavill@fsmail.net

Deadline for entries is Wednesday 31st July, 2013

Haydon’s Pond

March 22nd, 2013 by Gina
Working in Haydon's Pond

Working in Haydon’s Pond
©2011 tba

We have been working at this roadside farm pond in Almodington for two years now.  We had a lot of work to do clearing out an accumulation of rubbish and dead tree branches.  A long spell without rain the first summer meant the pond dried out and we could get right in there!  We used the dead branches to create a dead hedge on the east side of the pond which forms a new habitat.  We took down some overhanging branches to open up the pond to daylight.  We also cleared the ditch feeding the pond.  Tracks of deer and badgers were found in the mud when this dried out. Two pond dips,one when we commenced work, when there seemed to be very little life, and  at the end of the first year, showing a greatly increased number of invertebrates, prove our efforts are successful.  Water voles have also returned to the site.  This very wet period has meant the pond is almost permanently flooded, and we have been unable to do much, but an owl box has been erected as a Barn Owl uses the area.

Florence Pond, Sidlesham

March 22nd, 2013 by Gina

Florence Pond is adopted by Sidlesham Parish Council and MWHG has entered a formal Agreement with the PC to improve biodiversity and manage the pond on their behalf.  Work will start at the end of the summer but surveys of flora and fauna will take place during the summer months.

ASHE Group

March 22nd, 2013 by Gina
Refreshments after a hard day's work

Refreshments after a hard day’s work ©2011 Adam Johnson

ASHE stands for Almodington, Sidlesham, Highleigh and Earnley. Most of our work is involved with restoring rural ponds but we are also involved with Sidlesham Recreation Ground, where we are creating a ‘woodland walk’ adjacent to the childrens’ playground and helping to plant a community orchard nearby.

Marine Matters

September 17th, 2012 by Bruce
Common Tern

Common Tern seen on Pagham Walk ©Bruce Wilkinson

Manhood Marine Matters has been funded by the Chichester District Council coastal pathfinder grant which aims to raise awareness about marine issues on the peninsula. To that end the MWHG has been able to purchase some field guides and some equipment, lead monthly guided walks based at Pagham Harbour and arrange a series of talks on marine topics in Sidlesham.

 

Mile Pond Farm

September 17th, 2012 by Bruce
Hedge Planting Mile Pond Farm

During March/early April 2011, MWHG planted over 170m of hedge at Mile Pond Farm (SU 850 032). A mix of Hawthorn, Hazel and Willow were planted along the margin of the field behind the Apuldram Centre.

Hedges are an important aspect for wildlife – providing a haven for mammals, birds, bats, etc. and also providing a wildlife corridor

Leader: Felicity McStea

Manor Green Park Site

September 17th, 2012 by Bruce

Sensory Garden ©2011 Bruce Wilkinson

Manor Green Park (SZ 859 939) is in a newer development area of Selsey behind the Selsey Centre. There is a small group of enthusiatic volunteers who look after the Sensory Garden as well as helping with maintenance of the park and the new orchard of old English apple trees. We are currently looking for more volunteers so as to be able to increase the scope of our work.

See the Diary of events for planned activities.

Selsey Medical Centre

September 16th, 2012 by Bruce

Selsey Medical Centre: (SZ 854 935)

Aromatic Garden;

Leaders: Barbara Bond and Gerry Williams

Selsey Common Site

September 16th, 2012 by Bruce

Sulphur Tuft ©2011 Dave Haldane

Selsey Common (SZ 865 931) is on the seafront in Selsey adjacent to the fishermans huts by Kingsway. Activities include bramble clearing, land management to encourage biodiversity and wildlife surveying

See the Diary of events for planned activities.

Leader: Dave Haldane.

Bracklesham Site

September 16th, 2012 by Bruce

MWHG has cleared and brought back to life, the stream running around Bracklesham Bay Park:(SZ 809 966). It was previously overgrown with trees and brambles and full of rubbish.

Bracklesham Bay Park ©2010Trevor Gibson-Poole

Activities continuously required include bramble clearing, rubbish removal, letting light in for wildflower diversity, habitat maintenance and water vole Surveying.

See the Diary of events for planned activities

Water Vole Trapping

September 16th, 2012 by Bruce
Water Vole Trapping

Sophie, Jasmine, Ann, Sheila, Rowena and Pete ©2012 Jane Reeve

We had a great time with Rowenna Baker of Brighton University trapping water vole along the Chichester Canal in May. Sixteen different volunteers helped out over four days with morning and evening sessions, opening up the traps, checking the contents and resetting them.

Rowenna is looking at the dispersal of water voles in different habitats and how that affects the genetic diversity in the population. The Chichester canal was chosen as it has a continuous stretch of about 1 kilometre of water vole habitat and will reflect genetic diversity of this special peninsula population.

Row, John,Dave, Ann, Jasmine, Christina and Sophie ©2012 Jane Reeve

Once a water vole was caught we had the difficult task of transferring it into a bag. It was then weighed, sexed, its condition assessed, a hair sample taken for DNA and then pit tagged (micro chipped).

Female juvenile ©2012 Jane Reeve

The weather was wet and the tow paths got very muddy but over the four days 15 individual water voles were trapped. The team had a huge amount of fun helping with this research and as well as seeing water voles close up and being handled they also saw many individuals swimming across the canal and on the banks.

It was a great opportunity for the volunteers that spend a lot of time surveying for water voles but never seeing these shy creatures, to get to study them at close quarters and to contribute to important scientific research.

Row and female juvenile ©2012 Jane Reeve

Rowenna has carried out some analysis and has estimated an adult population of approximately 21 along that stretch with a density of about 1 water vole every 48 metres, which is good this time of year.

A more robust statistical analysis can take place in the autumn when we have carried out the next round of trapping and have more data. We will be able to see the growth of the population over this season, with lots of dispersal from the site so hopefully they can find suitable habitat in the surrounding farmland ditches!

Thanks again to everyone for their input.

Water Vole DNA Study

September 16th, 2012 by Bruce

Email 29 March 2011 – From Jane Reeve, WaterVole Project Officer; Subject: DNA Study

” Dear Water Vole Patrol,

I have had an email from Rowena Baker, the PhD student carrying out work on water vole DNA, about trapping water voles along the Chichester canal in May. She and I have been working together to identify sites for her to work on in and around the peninsula and she is starting off on the canal.

She is going to be trapping water voles (she has a licence) removing a hair sample for DNA analysis, and possibly pit tagging them. She will be putting 8 traps out and checking them between 4.00 – 5.00pm in the evening and at 6.30am in the morning. She will be doing this on Monday 7th May thru until the last day of Thursday 10 May.

Many of you may be meeting her at the Amberley training session on the
14th April and we can have a chat with her about it then but it will be a chance to see water voles closeup, hurrah!

Let me know if you are interested in getting involved, which date, morning or evening and I will pass this on to her. She could really do with the help and it is lovely to raise our profile too.

Thanks everyone,

Jane watervoles@mwhg.org.uk

Crablands Meadow Site

September 16th, 2012 by Bruce

Crablands Meadow (SZ 847 935) is a designated SSI with a significant orchid population. MWHG help with it’s managment and activities include orchid Counts, willow coppicing and bramble Clearing. The orchid counts take place in June while other activities are when required.

See the Diary of events for planned activities

Leaders: John and Jane Reeve, John Hiscock.

East Beach Pond Site

September 16th, 2012 by Bruce

East Beach Pond ©2007 Sarah Hughes

East Beach Pond (SZ 865 934) is in Selsey and is managed by MWHG for people and wildlife.

There are regular meetings on most Tuesday afternoons.

See the Diary of events for planned activities

The leader is Rex Clements.

Mapson Farm

May 24th, 2012 by JohnH

We visited Mapson Farm today to complete a Water Vole Survey to help Jane

Reeve with the overall mapping of Water Voles on the Manhood Peninsula last month.

 

Brown Tail Moths Problem

May 15th, 2012 by Bruce

A public information bulletin regarding the current invasion of the Brown-tail moth caterpillar across the Manhood Peninsula.

The Selsey Heritage Trail

April 26th, 2012 by Bruce

Joe Savill, a founder member of the MWHG group, is the Selsey Heritage Trail Coordinator and is responsible for the display of Blue Plaques in Selsey.

The Selsey Heritage Trail Leaflet

The Selsey Heritage Trail Leaflet ©2011 MWHG

The Blue Plaques Scheme highlights the places where important people in history lived and worked as well as the locations of significant events and shows off Selsey’s remarkable heritage, uniting the past and the present.

The Plaques cover a very wide diversity of local history varying from people such as Colin Pullinger, remembered for his mousetrap to Edward Herron-Allen, the celebrated polymath whose interests and acomplisments included violin makeing, local and natural history, Persian translation and palmistry. He was the author of many books, both academic and ocassionally novels of somewhat doubtful repute.

Events and locations include the construction of the Mulberry Harbours, RAF Selsey and the Gibbet Field.

The publications section of the MWHG has produced a leaflet illustrating three walks that visit all 12 Blue Plaques in Selsey.

Water Vole Surveying

April 16th, 2012 by Bruce

The Water Vole

Water Vole

Adrian Thomas ©2009

The water vole is an endangered species and we have the only native wild population in West Sussex on the Manhood Peninsular. Help us find out where they are and how many we have!

We are looking for volunteers to get involved in surveying sites on the Manhood Peninsular in 2012.

If interested, please contact Jane Reeve, the MWHG Water Vole Project officer on email: watervoles@mwhg.org.uk

 

Water Voles Signs

April 16th, 2012 by Bruce
Water Vole Drawing

Water Vole ©2008 Peter White

Surveying carried out in the Manhood area by our group have found very encouraging signs of water vole activity. The results are sent to the Biodiversity Record Centre and have provided the most complete and detailed records for all of Sussex. We are very fortunate in having such a strong population of this endangered mammal. However, as so many of us know, seeing signs of the creatures is not the same as seeing them in the flesh! They are very elusive and even if you are lucky enough to have a quick glimpse, photographs have so far escaped us.

The following pictures were taken during a survey at Medmerry in 2009.

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Water Vole Ditch

Water Vole Ditch ©2009 Cynthia Lawson

This is an example of good water vole habitat – open water with good cover at the side and plenty of varied and fresh feeding material.

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Water vole latrine

Water Vole Latrine ©2009 Cynthia Lawson

We are not entirely happy to confirm water vole presence without a good bit of poo!

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Water Vole Burrow

Water Vole Burrow ©2009 Cynthia Lawson

A typical burrow will have feeding remains at the entrance. Feeding stations are the most common sign of water vole presence. The voles cut lengths of reed at a 45degree angle until they come to a succulent enough piece to eat. The discarded pieces build up into piles which can act as boundary markers to vole family territories. When they move territory, the female will often mark the pile further by using it as a latrine.

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Water Vole Footprints

Water Vole Footprints ©2009 Cynthia Lawson

And sometimes you will find a good footprint!

Dave’s News 2

November 29th, 2011 by Bruce

News from Dave Haldane

November Fungi

November was a wonderful month, not only for the splendid weather but also for the abundance of fungi to be seen around the local area. Very noticeable were the Mycena and Marasmius species found in large numbers along the grass verges in the residential sector. Eye catching in their abundance, these small fungi are however difficult to identify and usually require a sample being taken for closer inspection. Also found here, although in smaller numbers, were clusters of Coprinus atramentarius with their gills rapidly liquefying as an aid to spore dispersal, hence the name ink cap and the smaller Fairies bonnets Coprinellus disseminatus which is very fragile and crumbles rather than deliquescing.

A Yellow-stainer mushroom

Yellow Stainer ©2011 Dave Haldane

Another species often found growing on grass verges, is the edible mushroom look-a-like Agaricus xanthoderma . It is not dissimilar to the edible variety but caution is required if a gastric upset is to be avoided. This species is flatter on top and a simple identification test is to bruise the cap and lower stem with your finger. Should the pressure produce a strong crome-yellow discolouration which persists, then it is very likely you have a Yellow-stainer mushroom which should be discarded.

The Kingsway

Along the hedgerow skirting the Kingsway I found several Blewits Lepista nuda growing in small groups. The cap, which is buff to violet in colour with the gills veering towards lilac is fairly distinctive and the pleasant smell is a give-away to the more knowledgeable fungi forager.

Sulphur Tuft

Sulphur Tuft ©2011 Dave Haldane

Also close to the Kingsway I found a species usually found in a woodland setting. Sulphurtuft Hypholoma fascicularis seen here growing out of the gravel. This is a saprophytic fungus which feeds from decaying wood such as old tree stumps. The example shown is most likely to have emerged from mycelium growing from a buried wooden perimeter post.

 

 

Fairy rings

Fairy Ring

Fairy Ring ©2011 Dave Haldane

Fairy rings are produced by several species of fungi but one of the commonly associated species is the mushroom Marasimius oreades. This is a small mushroom with a cap which rarely exceeds 5 cm across and ranges in colour from tawny to pale brown. The photograph shows one of several distinctive fairy rings found on the grass verge at East Beach Pond. A much larger mushroom, again growing in a ring or horseshoe shape, is the Clouded agaric Clitocybe nebularis. This spectacular species is normally found under heavy scrub and has a pale grey colour cap and can reach 15 cm across.

The Earth Star

Geastrum Triplex

Fairy Ring ©2011 Dave Haldane

The earth star is one of the oddities sometimes encountered when rummaging among the hedgerow leaf litter. I have seen only two species Geastrum pectinatum growing under privet on Selsey Common and a recent find, believed to be a Collared earthstar G. triplex growing under heavy scrub over chalk in the Brandy Hole woods. The cylinder shaped fruiting body acts in the same way as a puff ball by discharging its spores from a small central opening when pressure is applied.

Manor Green

To find attractive little Puff balls you need go no further than Manor Green where Bovista plumbea and Lycoperdon perlatum were frequently observed during October and November.

To sum up: You need not be an expert to try your hand at identifying and recording fungi but you do need to be very knowledgeable if you intend to eat what you find.

Dave’s News 1

September 29th, 2011 by Bruce

News from Dave Haldane

This is the first of what l hope will be a regular blog on the MWHG website. The content will consist of items of interest relating to the natural history and heritage across the Manhood Peninsular. Its prime aims are to bring to the members attention up to date news on topical issues and hopefully provide a valuable supplement to the quarterly edition of the MWHG Newsletter. To achieve this we will require regular contributions from other members. Contributions can be e-mailed to Dave Haldane.

East Beach Pond Selsey.

The recent Gold Award at the South and South East in Bloom was a fitting reward for the dedicated work carried out by the regular members of the East Beach Pond sub group. We were however disappointed to have lost valuable marks because of a problem relating to public access. The netlon path which helps stabilise the ground has a tendency to buckle as a result of root disturbance. Despite our best efforts at root pruning and relaying the netlon surfacing, we failed to impress the judge on this issue. This will now be a priority task.

Ducks Hiding

Ducks Hiding ©2011 Dave Haldane

At long last, after many attempts by Mallards to successfully rear a brood beyond the first three weeks, one mother duck has achieved some small success by raising two of her clutch of five ducklings. The mother is very vigilant and the youngsters, who are not quite fully developed, have become masters of concealment.

Earlier broods were lost to predation by the Heron, Carrion crows, Herring gulls, Brown rats and Foxes. One unfortunate duckling was even killed when it was drowned by a Mallard drake, according to information passed to the group.

Knoppers

Knopper gall ©2011 Dave Haldane

There are two young English oaks Quercus robur growing on the East Beach Pond site. Both have played host this year to several gall inducing Oak cynipids (Gall-wasps). The Marble gall Andricus kollari, Cherry gall Cynips quercus-folii, Ramshorn gall Andricus aries, Spangle gall Neuroterus quercus baccarium and the interesting Knopper gall Andricus quercus calicis. The latter is caused by a gall wasp which lays its egg in the emerging acorn often distorting its development and destroying its seed. Galls arise as a result of a growth reaction by the host to an invasion by a parasite. The resulting gall with its nutritious tissue is associated with the reproduction cycle of the parasite. Small infestations rarely harm the host plant.

Selsey Common.

The Brown tail tussock moth caterpillars, which at this time of the year are tucked up within their web tents, have recently been controlled by chemical treatment. Operators working on behalf of Chichester District Council were forced to take action to reduce the 500+ individual webs covering much of the bramble. The caterpillars are covered in barbed hairs which they shed freely and should they come into contact with skin will cause varying degrees of irritation and occasionally lead to breathing difficulties, if inhaled. The use of chemicals was sanctioned solely in the interest of public health and safety. Warning signs have been placed around the site.

Special congratulations to Selsey Town and Manor Green who shared in the environmental awards at this year’s South and South East in Bloom ceremony at Fontwell Park.

 

Sightings 2 by Peter Driscoll

September 19th, 2011 by Bruce

Summer 2011

Summer is a difficult season for sightings. It is not that there are not plenty of individual specimens to observe and record – far from it. It is more that populations of many species tend to disperse – often to secret or inaccessible spots. With the countryside full of such individuals or pairs my reader is not going to be greatly excited by a report: Blackbird 5. The job of the Sightings columnist is much easier in those seasons when large flocks can be counted with precision and confidence and comparisons drawn with earlier years.

Exceptions to this rule are birds, such as terns, that nest in colonies and which can be observed, counted and even ringed as whole populations. Here, another issue arises as ‘bad guys’ may read an article about a particular nesting site and join the foxes, uncontrolled dogs and other marauders in disturbing would-be nesters. Of course, not all disturbance is wilful but especially for ground-nesting species an off-the-lead dog always represents a potential threat whether or not it is in hunt, play or potter mode. This summer at Pagham Harbour the failure of the 8-10 pairs of common terns to rear any young at all is put down to disturbance – which might include a fox. It is good to be able to report that some little tern chicks survived to the end of July and that lapwings and redshanks also raised young. It is sad to have to be cautious in reporting this success in case disclosure of a breeding site leads directly or indirectly to disturbance of one kind or another.

One summer visitor who had something to shout about was the Sidlesham cuckoo. I suppose the average predator is unlikely to connect the urgently repeated call of the male cuckoo with the furtively deposited egg or the monstrous chick bullying its unsuspecting foster parents. So the breeding cuckoo can afford to make as much noise as he wants attracting mates and cheering our hearts. For there can surely be no other two-note phrase that is so instantly recognisable or so welcome to our northern ears. I am pleased to report that the Sidlesham cuckoo not only ‘sang’ for several weeks from 10 April but once deigned to show himself high in the robinia tree in my garden that is alternately a roost for a pair of wood pigeons, a watch tower for the magpies who have their nest in the neighbour’s garden, and a vertical feeding table for the locally resident green and greater spotted woodpeckers. I am sorry to say that this was my first live sighting of a cuckoo although I did once find one dead on the lawn.

Noteworthy visitors to Pagham Harbour over the past few months have included: hen harrier, marsh harrier, black redstart, short-eared owl, red kite and 2 ospreys.

My pond project continues but this is a pond without water as the water table appears to have fallen far below the deepest part of the pond, or rather hole in the ground. Tempted though I am to buy a liner I have decided to persevere for 3 more seasons in an effort to create a natural pond. I am strengthened in this resolve by my experience of last winter, when the surface of the water in my garden was level with the top of the grass – at least a metre higher than it is now. So, I am watching keenly as summer turns to autumn, accompanied by strong winds and some rain, but not enough to leave a puddle in my pond, sorry, ‘hole’. As the pond fills, I shall try to seal the bottom and sides with liquid clay but apart from occasional watering of the ‘marginal’ plants that mark what should be the margins of the pond I shall not be using tap water to ‘top up’ any shortfall in natural water supplies. The test will come in the spring of next year – but that is a long way off.

The tree where the buzzards perch is again a centre of activity, with various corvines joining forces to mob generally local kestrels and, as today, a pair of buzzards. The birds of prey see the slender branches as potential vantage points but by landing expose themselves to divebombing attacks by the combined squadron of carrion crows, rooks and jackdaws and the auxiliary wing of magpies and the occasional jay. I don’t know where the buzzards have been nesting – and would not tell if I did.

As autumn approaches, our summer visitors are in the course of, or preparing for, migration to warmer winter quarters. I would welcome reports of latest sightings of swallows this autumn on the Manhood peninsula, plus sightings of other species that seem to you to be late. Likewise, keep an eye out for redwings and fieldfares, which spend their winters here. No prizes, but a friendly competition and a small amateur contribution to science.

We would like to include here records of wildlife you have seen on the peninsula – in your garden, on the shore, or just out and about. Please send your sightings (if in doubt indicate with a ‘?’) to: sightings@mwhg.org.uk

Peter Driscoll

Sightings 1 by Peter Driscoll

June 28th, 2011 by Bruce

Late Spring 2011

The title of this article is not a comment on the weather but is meant to indicate that these notes are additional both to the Spring 2011 Sightings already published and the Summer 2011 Sightings that will appear later. We are taking advantage of the technological change that affects the whole Newsletter to bring the Sightings articles into sync with the actual seasons and at the same time revising the format to give fewer lists and more analysis. Those who want a more scientific approach are referred to the excellent websites of the British Trust for Ornithology (www.bto.org.uk) and Sussex Wildlife Trust (www.sussexwt.org.uk).

The new Sightings will refer occasionally to ‘phenology’ (the study of the times of naturally recurring phenomena, especially in relation to climatic conditions). We British, with our seemingly built-in urge to talk about the weather, would surely be champions in any phenology Olympics. The first cuckoo in spring is eagerly awaited – mine was heard at 11:44 on 10 April this year and continues to sing daily. Likewise, the swallow – with the knowing proviso ‘one swallow does not make a summer ‘ – is for many the ‘harbinger of summer’. I saw one on 11 April but since then none. Meanwhile they have been observed at Pagham Harbour since 22 March. Can you beat that?

Those of us who live ‘on the doorstep’ of Pagham Harbour Local Nature Reserve need sometimes to be reminded of how privileged we are. The Reserve qualifies for protection under a whole range of national and international measures and, using data kindly supplied by Ivan Lang, Conservation Warden, I would like Sightings to give a snapshot of how our key species are doing as well as reporting the numerous rarities that pass through.

In the past few months numbers in some of our key winter species have been as follows:

Dark-bellied Brent Goose 2453
Black-tailed Godwit 155
Northern Pintail 80
Grey Plover 557
Teal 318
Cormorant 105
Slavonian Grebe 4

In future articles I hope to see how these winter populations are faring over time and whether any trends emerge.

Pagham Harbour is also important as a breeding site for a number of coastal and wetland species and as a stopover point for numerous passage species. The latter have now arrived or have passed through on their Spring migration but it is worth singling out the lapwings that are nesting probably as a direct result of a Pagham Harbour project.

A key subject for study in phenology is the geographical spread of life forms perhaps in connection with climatic conditions. Climatic conditions have certainly affected my plans for digging a pond in my garden. I began last autumn when the water table was level with the top of the grass ie there was a centimetre of standing water. This made each spadeful of clay incredibly heavy. As I dug down – in the absence of rainfall – the water table fell ahead of me so that I now have a huge, deep dry hole.

The following is taken from the Met Office UK climate website:

With high pressure influencing the weather for most of [April], it was much warmer, drier and sunnier than normal. The mean temperature was 4.0 °C above the 1971–2000 average and it was the warmest April in the series from 1910, being 0.6 °C warmer than April 2007 (now ranked second). In central England, it was the warmest April for over 350 years. The daily maximum temperatures in particular were well above normal, by as much as 6 °C in the south-east. Rainfall was below normal in all areas — exceptionally so over much of southern, central and eastern England where less than 10% of normal rainfall was recorded. It was the second successive very dry month in these areas. Many places in the eastern half of England recorded less than 1 mm of rain. Provisionally, it was the 6th driest April in the series from 1910 and in East Anglia only April 2007 was drier. Sunshine amounts were generally around 150 per cent of normal, making it the sunniest April in the series since 1929.

The pond is supposed to attract wildlife to the garden and when I saw two mallards swimming, one moorhen wading and a pheasant in the pear-tree I was delighted with the success of my plan. However, my delight, like the pond-water, has gradually drained away and the waterfowl have abandoned us. Of course, many birds have deserted the garden to nest elsewhere. Some, like the pheasant, have come back again, in her case without young, with long-term residents like the blackbirds and robins feeding fledglings in the borders.

Maybe among the birds nesting locally is the blackcap who overwintered this year in Sidlesham instead of chasing back to Africa or wherever? He joined in merrily at the new bird feeding station (2 containers). If he does breed after not migrating then perhaps we are seeing evolution at work?

On the subject of feeding stations, mine is currently subject to non-stop raids by rooks and starlings. However, in February and March it really earned its keep with daily visits from troupes of long-tailed tits and, star of the show with his brilliant red underparts, the greater spotted woodpecker clung with claws and tail to the hanging containers. After a hesitant start, the robins also learned to perch on the wire containers rather than trying to eat while hovering.

We would like to include here records of wildlife you have seen on the peninsula – in your garden, on the shore, or just out and about. Please send your sightings (if in doubt indicate with a ‘?’) to:

sightings@mwhg.org.uk