All MWHG Blogs

New Volunteering Opportunities: Fundraising, Team Leading and Marketing

October 10th, 2019 by Nikki

For over 20 years, our charity has implemented a range of volunteer-led projects which preserve the wildlife and heritage of the Manhood Peninsula, south of Chichester. We are currently looking for motivated individuals to take on key voluntary leadership roles within our Group, to promote and support the expansion of this vital conservation work. 

If you are interested in taking on one of the following volunteering opportunities, please contact Leanne Clements, our Community Conservation Project Officer, at:

T: 07798 618575
E: lclements@mwhg.org.uk

Community Conservation Assistant 

Our community conservation assistant will be supporting the community conservation officer in their project to recruit volunteering teams, which take care of their local environment. Engaging with the public in person and through promotional material, will be vital to the role.

Read the full community conservation assistant role description here.

Volunteer Co-ordinator

The volunteer co-ordinator will work to recruit, induct and train volunteers. They will take a friendly approach to volunteer engagement and organise volunteering activities. 

Read the full volunteer co-ordinator role description here. 

Events Team Leader

Our events team leader will be responsible for supporting other team members in planning events, as well as coordinating their own events, with a view to increase opportunities for learning and engagement with the wider community.

Read the full events team leader role description here.

Events Assistant

The events assistant will join the events team leader and other team members, in attending local events. The assistant will enthusiastically promote the work and aims of the group.

Read the full events assistant role description here. 

Community Fundraising Team Leader

The community fundraising team leader will co-ordinate approaches with the community fundraising assistant to raise unrestricted funds, process grant applications and develop our online giving. 

Read the full community fundraising team leader role description here.

Community Fundraising Assistant

Our community fundraising assistant will use marketing skills and create promotional material, to raise funds. The assistant will work with the community fundraising team leader and will support local people who wish to fundraise for us. 

Read the full community fundraising assistant role description here. 

Work Party Team Leader

The work party team leader will be trained to run practical conservation activities across the Manhood Peninsula, for small groups of volunteers. Ensuring the safety of volunteers at events is a key responsibility for this role.

Read the full work party team leader role description here. 

Transforming the Forgotten North Mundham Canal

October 4th, 2019 by Nikki

The FLOW (Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands) Project team began their ambitious autumn/ winter 2019 work schedule of restoring wetland across the Manhood Peninsula, with a plan to revitalise the relic North Mundham canal. 

The abandoned stretch of canal, part of the Arundel and Chichester canal, was chosen as a prime site to develop for its potential to both prevent ground-flooding in the surrounding area and become a bio-diverse ‘corridor’ for wildlife to inhabit. 

A digger drives into the canal to remove built-up silt © Jane Reeve 2019

The first point of action for the team, was to increase the canal’s water holding capacity using well proven techniques of digging out high silt deposits and removing vegetation which has encroached into the water. For these stages of work, experts from MT-Excavations and Blue Cedar Tree Surgeons, were brought in. Prior to this work, the canal could barely be seen!

Before removal of overgrow vegetation (east end view of the canal) © Jane Reeve
After removal of overgrown vegetation (east end view of the canal) © Jane Reeve
Before (west end view) © Jane Reeve
After (west end view) © Jane Reeve

Also joining the FLOW team, were enthusiastic volunteers ready to tackle the huge task of clearing the relic stretch of the canal, which had become filled in overtime due to neglect. Green material left over from this landscaping was re-used by the volunteers to create a dead-hedge and natural barrier, between the path and canal. 

Volunteers cut-back vegetation overshadowing the relic canal and public footpath © Jane Reeve
Dead hedge creation in progress, after clearing the relic canal area © Jane Reeve

In just a few days, the FLOW team and their incredible volunteers made a huge difference to the canal. 

FLOW work every Wednesday to Saturday over autumn and winter, to transform many un-managed wetland sites across the Peninsula, beneath Chichester. In the spring, they follow up this landscaping work by planting trees and other native flora and in the summer, they survey these locations for wildlife, to monitor the effectiveness of their work. 

Learn more about this project and how to get involved:

FLOW Field Officer, Chris Drake (left), with volunteers on a well-earned break © Jane Reeve

Post by Nicola Timney

Dear Subscribers: Transitioning to MailChimp Emails

September 6th, 2019 by Nikki

Dear Members, Volunteers and Subscribers to Our Newsletter,


Please note that you will start receiving our communications, currently sent out by Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group [MWHG] member Pam Barnes, through the email marketing service, Mailchimp. Any emails you receive from us via Mailchimp will have been written and sent by the familiar staff, members and project leaders, who currently correspond with you.


Emails from us will be delivered from ‘Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group’, contain a reply-to email address ending in ‘@mwhg.org.uk’ and will contain our registered office details at the end of the email: ‘55 High Street, Selsey, West Sussex PO20 0RB’. Options to change your email preferences or to unsubscribe, plus links to sign up to our other subscriptions will also be available at the end of each email. Emails will transition to being delivered through Mailchimp, from September 16th 2019 – please check your email account’s promotions and spam folders, if you do not see correspondence from us after this date.


Members


If you have previously signed up as a member, either online through our website or via a paper form, you will receive emails regarding membership related news and events. By continuing to subscribe to this membership news, your membership status is confirmed on our database.

Volunteers


If you have previously signed up to be a volunteer on our website, have been a volunteer who has asked a project leader to email through upcoming events to you, or if you expressed an interest in volunteering when signing up to be a member, you will receive volunteer related news and events. By continuing to subscribe to this volunteering news, your volunteer status is confirmed on our database.


Newsletter Subscribers


If you have previously signed up to be a member, as stated above, or have signed up to receive the newsletter via the subscription form on our website, you will receive all new newsletter releases. By continuing to subscribe to the newsletter, your subscription status is confirmed on our database.


Why the Change to Mailchimp?


By transitioning to using the Mailchimp service to manage membership and volunteer contact details, we will not only be able to deliver secure email communications with our supporters, but we will also be able to bring you news at a frequency of your choice and we can interact with you through our emails more directly. For example, emails regarding upcoming events will allow you to ‘click and confirm’ your attendance, within the email itself.


Mailchimp is an established service used by many organisations – you likely receive a number of emails delivered by Mailchimp already, sometimes with their logo removed from the email itself – which takes subscriber’s data privacy seriously. Read Mailchimp’s privacy policy here: https://mailchimp.com/legal/privacy/


Please do not hesitate to send any questions you may have regarding this change, to Nicola Timney at: hello@mwhg.org.uk

Nature’s Positive Impact on Mental Health: Kim’s Story

August 27th, 2019 by Nikki
© Nicola Timney

This article was featured in our 2019 Spring Summer Newsletter – read the full newsletter here.


Life is a Ditch

 

Hi, a little about me; I’m Kim, 61 years old and this is how I found MWHG and how it has helped me through a traumatic time.

For 7½ years, along with my husband Mick, I travelled France, Spain, Scotland and all over England in our large motorhome. We did this full time as we sold the family home. During our travels we had come across lots of different sites of nature in the countryside of Europe and the UK. We are very avid walkers and love wildlife, flora, fauna and take an interest in the environment.

We sold the motorhome last June 2018 and moved permanently to West Wittering in July. We were keen to meet new friends and explore the area. It was on one of our walks that we came across a leaflet at The Wad, regarding volunteering for MWHG. After discussing it I emailed Jane Reeve who emailed back with details of the next group working at Itchenor Pond in Dec 18 / Jan 19. We went along in the afternoon and met Christopher Drake and the team of volunteers. He chatted to us about the work and introduced us to the members. This really whetted our appetite and we decided we wanted to join this wonderful worthwhile group, which we did in January 2019.

The work is very varied and can be quite hard at times, but we get a lovely “green workout” – no need for the gym! The work involves digging, planting wetland plants, clearing invasive weeds, planting trees, scattering wildflower seeds and grasses, and of course watering where we can. We work every Wednesday, 9.30am – 3.00pm and some Thursdays and Saturdays. I don’t do a Friday as I have counselling on that morning due to reasons I will explain later. We have done ditch surveys with Christopher which is so interesting and made us realise how important surveying these ditches are. We take our grandchildren out on walks when we have them and always take bags and litter pickers with us (supplied by Jane). The two young ones, Elsie aged 8, and Matilda aged 3, are so excited about this and always ask to go litter picking. They are like little sponges and are so eager to learn about nature and saving the planet. They have both made posters for Jane about littering, plastic and how it is damaging the planet.

Just recently while visiting Triangle Pond, Birdham, to see how the planting was coming along, we met a gentleman walking his dog. He stopped us to chat about the wonderful job the volunteers (along with Jane and Christopher) had done and I was proud to say I was part pf the group.

During a recent visit to Chichester Canal we were lucky enough to see three water voles and as we know they are in decline we were absolutely thrilled, and I managed to get a clear video recording of one swimming across the canal. We have recently had a wonderful day out with the group to Binsted Woods surveying dormouse and the day was perfect with very knowledgeable wonderful people.

We are always provided with tea, coffee and cakes and they get special cakes for me as I am gluten free. Everything is provided; gloves, tools etc. I would highly recommend volunteering for this wonderful group.

I have suffered from depression (counselling on Fridays) due to childhood abuse by my adoptive father as a young child and young adult. After he died in October 2017 I went to pieces and finally told my doctor who referred me to PARCS for counselling. Joining the MWHG had “saved” me so I can put everything into the work, which keeps me focused and stops me thinking of what has happened to me.

Kim

Thank you for sharing this personal experience, Kim. It is proof in action that involvement with nature can help mental as well as physical health. The Editor [MWHG Newsletter]

Info and Activities at Eco Chi’s Market Stall

August 18th, 2019 by Nikki

Our Communications and Engagement Officer, Emily, will be joining the Eco Chi Stall situated near Chichester Market Cross on Wednesday 28th August. The stall is run by Transition Chichester’s Eco Chi Group. More info can be found here.

 

Emily will be there to deliver information about the Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands project, and to talk to people about the importance of our local wetlands and resident wildlife. Emily also has a growing background in wild pollinators and botany, so can answer any questions you may have about gardening for wildlife and wildflowers. There will be some fun wildlife-focused activities for children also including mask making and insect ID games!

 

Wednesday 28th August

12pm – 4pm

The “Eco Chi” Market Stall

North Street, near Chichester Market Cross

 

Please email esabin@mwhg.org.uk for more information on this event.

North Mundham Parish Drop-in Information Session

August 18th, 2019 by Nikki

The Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group invite you to join us for our North Mundham Parish Drop-in Information Session.

Find out what we are doing in North Mundham this year and why we are surveying wildlife on the Manhood Peninsula.

Enjoy a short presentation about the FLOW project
Look at what we have found in other parishes
Find out how you can get involved

Thursday 5th September 2019

7pm – 8:30pm

North Mundham Village Hall

PO20 1LA

Refreshments provided

For more info on this event, please email hello@mwhg.org.uk

August Bank Holiday Weekend Selsey Heritage Exhibition

August 16th, 2019 by Nikki

Our Changing High Street

This August Bank holiday weekend, stop by our exhibition at the Selsey Pavilion to see a collection of photos showing the transformation of the high street! The exhibition is open to visitors between 10am – 4pm Sat 24th & Sun 25th and from 10am – 2pm Mon 26th.

Read about our Selsey Photo Archive Project and how you can get involved. 

The Re-introduction of White-tailed Eagles

July 2nd, 2019 by Nikki
White-tailed Eagle

 

This article was featured in our 2019 Spring Summer Newsletter – read the full newsletter here.


The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation and Forestry England have recently been granted a licence by Natural England to re-introduce white-tailed eagles Haliaeetus albicilla to the Isle of Wight. The five-year programme will begin with the release 6-8 juvenile birds this summer. It is hoped to establish a small base population in the Solent area from Poole to Pagham, with birds eventually spreading out along the South Coast. Studies in the Nederland’s have shown that the species are content to nest in populated areas.

White-tailed eagle prey on fish and water birds but will also scavenge readily. Most of the water birds taken by eagles are thought to be injured or sick, with carrion making up around 30% of their diet during the winter months. Fish form an important part of the birds’ diet during the spring and summer, when we can expect to see them fishing for abundant species like grey mullet Mugil cephalus, found within the shallow waters of our estuaries and harbours.

Disturbance caused by the eagles to wading birds is understood to be similar to that of peregrine falcons Falco peregrinus. Prey species quickly become accustomed to their presence, if they are not so already – breeding colonies of gulls and terns are very adept at mobbing and driving off the eagles.

As well as the conservation benefits, it has been shown that in areas where white-tailed eagles have been re-introduced previously, they have generated significant benefits for the local economy. The Isle of Mull for example, receives up to £5 million per year through eagle related tourism.

I will be looking out excitedly for these birds later in the year. With their impressive 2 m – 2.4 m wingspan supporting a 3.5 kg – 7.4 kg bird, they will be certain to turn a few heads!

Sources:

www.roydennis.org/isleofwight

www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/white-tailed-eagle


Post by Nick Gray

Newsletter Spring Summer 2019

June 11th, 2019 by Nikki

Download the PDF version

Management Matters

As last issue, I would like to begin by welcoming a new member to our staff team. Leanne Clements has joined us as our new Community Conservation Officer, replacing Jan Atkinson. I know that many of you have already met Leanne or communicated with her and she’s been delighted with your warm welcome. The main purpose of her post – funded by the Postcode Local Trust and the Tesco Bags of Help scheme – is to set up independent volunteer groups in other parishes of the Manhood. This has always been a central aim of the group, but apart from the ASHE group – thanks especially to Veronica Wilkes – our established groups are still Selsey based. The extensive Manhood-wide work of the FLOW Project has now created the opportunity to develop these new groups so our hopes are high.

The Management and FLOW teams have been planning events for the summer. So, amongst others, look out for more details of Love Parks Week, including activities at East Beach Pond and Manor Green Park in June, Lifeboat Day at the beginning of August and a Selsey Heritage Exhibition at the end. If you would like to help with any of these events, do get in touch.

As FLOW progresses, thoughts are now turning to succession planning. The Management Team is determined to ensure that the phenomenal efforts of Jane, Chris, Emily and all their wonderful volunteers are built upon. Ideas are being developed, so watch this space.

Other updates include the Management Team’s submission to the Chichester District Council Local Plan consultation, in which we strongly supported the establishment of the Strategic Wildlife Corridors proposed. Huge congratulations go to Sarah Hughes and her colleagues at CDC for their detailed work in developing these. Also a new Safeguarding Children Policy has been produced – thanks to Val Gatehouse – and is available in the Members Only section of the website. It applies to all volunteers so do have a read.

As I write this, I’m still digesting David Attenborough’s powerful documentary: ‘Climate Change: The Facts’ and thinking about the world my granddaughter may inherit. I for one will be increasing efforts to reduce my carbon footprint and continuing to add my voice to all the others demanding action now. As a group, we can take comfort in all the carbon capturing trees we are planting and wildlife observations we are recording – these help to build a picture of how nature is coping with a changing climate. But, climate change is the greatest threat to all the work we’ve done, and continue to do, for wildlife on our low-lying peninsula.

Finally, please keep using your blue Co-op members’ card when you shop in Selsey Co-op and others. When I last looked, more than £370 had been raised for us so far.

All the best and have a great summer.

Joe Savill

chairmt@mwhg.org.uk

Community Conservation Officer

Last year a bid to the Postcode Local Trust was successful which enabled the appointment of a Community Conservation Officer to deliver a twelve-month project. I was delighted to be selected for this exciting role. Nature and heritage conservation is a huge passion and I have been fortunate to have spent the last twenty plus years working in senior leadership positions for the RSPB in Dorset, the National Trust in Wiltshire and as Director of Amberley Museum. I run a small building business with my partner Rich from our ‘wildlife surrounded’ home in Parham, near Amberley, I am a devoted (and often exhausted!) auntie of three, I love walking the South Downs with our two dogs and can’t resist a quality G&T.


©  Leanne Clements

My role is all about working to ensure a sustainable volunteering future for the group, engaging our local community to help keep the Manhood Peninsula special. Since starting at the end of February I have been identifying the most urgently needed volunteering opportunities which will provide support and sustainability. The primary focus is on setting up Parish-led volunteer groups across the Peninsula, creating deep and lasting relationships and secondly on recruiting volunteers for roles which directly help the management team and Trustees, including volunteer coordination and communications, work party team leaders, and events and fundraising teams.

I would love to hear from you if you have any ideas and suggestions, if you know a friend or relative who would be keen to join us, you may even be interested in helping in an additional or different way yourself. If you would like to chat about new volunteering opportunities or learn more about the Community Conservation Project do get in touch at lclements@mwhg.org.uk

Leanne Clements MWHG Community Conservation Officer

Project Officer’s Update

I had an excellent start to the New Year, obtaining my hazel dormice licence, which entitles me to survey these amazing creatures for scientific or educational purposes and I received a ‘Individual Award for Exceptional Service’ from Chichester District Council. Working together we can achieve so much positive action for our precious and vital wildlife. I have had the pleasure of working with a range of groups, which include; County/District & Parish Councils; wildlife groups; Men’s sheds; local residents and developers.

Over the winter period I continued with the engagement of dog walkers at Chichester Harbour, highlighting the important role we have as dog walkers not to disturb the protected winter waders from feeding and resting, as this is just one of many pressures they are under.

I continue to work in schools, with a range of wildlife focused sessions, this is heart-warming as these little people are passionate about wildlife, their planet and the positive role they can play.

Great thanks and appreciation go to Trevor, Chris and Tom, who covered my session of hedgelaying at Tuppenny Barn and did an amazing job. Also thanks to Keith and Georgie (Chichester Harbour Conservancy) for covering the tree planting session at Apuldram Church and for their assistance (with the Friends of Chichester Harbour) at the ditch/hedgerow in Southbourne.

As always the Sussex biological recorders’ seminar in February was the yearly tonic for any negativity, as seeing so many amazing, passionate volunteers/ecologists etc. shows all is not lost so long as we work together. We were fortunate to promote the proposed Wildlife Corridors, enabling us to ask for help with gathering further vital evidence for this policy to be adopted in the Local Plan.

Sand Piper © Alun Lee

I am surveying the corridors between Chichester Coastal Plain and the South Downs National Park. This has been an amazing experience, exploring and recording wildlife with a team of volunteers.
The highlights have included water voles (obviously); bats; birds (including the Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos); insects etc. and ancient woodland/hedgerow indicators, such as Dog Mercury Mercurialis perennis; Wood Anemone Anemone nemorosa and Butcher’s Broom Ruscus aculeatus. This shrub has spikey looking leaves, but they aren’t leaves, but modified stems. The flowers come out of what looks like the middle of the leaf, which is related to the lily and was used by butchers to clean the butchers block. It grows in ancient woodland in soil that hasn’t been disturbed for centuries.

This summer I will be back in Selsey promoting the Selsey Bathing Water Enhancement Project, which includes ‘Yellow Fish’ & ‘Rain Down the Drain’.

This project will clarify to the general public in and around Selsey about how an outdoor drain is different than a household drain, where it goes and why you can’t pour waste substances down them. Road and surface water drains are designed to carry only rainwater, usually to the nearest watercourse. Pouring waste liquids such as engine or cooking oil, paints, chemical wastes, detergents and even litter down these drains causes pollution to enter the watercourse, affecting water quality and harming fish and wildlife.

Under the ‘Yellow Fish’ campaign we will spray paint ‘Yellow Fish’ stencils on the drains that affect East Beach Pond and Selsey Bathing Waters; working in schools and with local groups and organisations over the summer period, finishing with a beach clean and survey at East Beach Pond in September, under the Marine Conservations Society’s Big Beach Clean.

‘Yellow Fish’ – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/avoiding-pollution-yellow-fish-scheme ‘Only Rain Down the Drain’ – http://lovemybeach.org/rain-down-the-drain/

Again, it is down to volunteers that so much positive work, benefiting wildlife can be achieved and it is such a pleasure working with them.

A big THANK YOU to all volunteers.

Sarah Hughes

Congratulations on receiving CDCs Individual Award for Exceptional Service, very well deserved! The Editor

The MWHG HLF FLOW Project

IMPROVEMENT WORK OVER THE WINTER PERIOD OCTOBER 2018 – MARCH 2019

We have had the busiest work period ever and the hard work and commitment of our volunteers has been awe-inspiring. We are making a huge difference and our work can now be seen in seven parishes.

Sidlesham Parish

One of our most visible sites is Willow Glen on the B2145 in Sidlesham and we have completely changed the look of this site by cutting back and removing willow, digging it out and deepening the base, planting a mixed native fruiting hedge along the back, seeding with wildflowers, installing coir rolls and a range of wetland plants.

We have worked on a relic pond on Ham Road called Sheepwash pond that was so overgrown that no pond was visible. Once checked on tithe maps the outline shape could be seen. The only clue there had been a pond was the willow. Volunteers worked hard to open this area up and then a digger came in and started work. A deep area was created and then the rain came so we will continue this work next season. A dead hedge was put at the front to use the material generated and to form habitat, and also to offer this site attractive to fly tippers some protection.

Last year when surveying the Sidlesham parish we came across a large ditch with a wide verge at The Elms, Ham Road, which had not been managed for 30+ years and which was dark and dried up and very shallow. After a BioBlitz to record species in the summer, we carried out clearance work and then used contractors to remove some of the willow and dig out the ditch. We then seeded with wildflowers, installed a coir roll and planted lots of wetland plant species. The adjacent road has experienced much flooding in the past but with a large grip put into the verge the water now drains into the ditch and is held there.

The FLOW team were contacted by WSCC Highways about an area of Ham Road / Easton Lane that flooded continually, and we came up with a plan to reinstate a pond that had been on the 1846 tithe map to hold some of the water off the road. We carried out the digging work and WSCC put in a new headwall to protect the culvert under the road. We have since planted it with wild fruit trees, a coir roll and wetland plant species to try and combat the high levels of nitrates and phosphates suspected to be coming off the adjacent fields.

Hunston parish

We have been working on Spire Cottage pond in Church Lane to improve its biodiversity and this year we dug it out so that it can hold water for longer. We have now planted a mixed native fruiting hedge to protect it and to make it looked loved and also created small copses by grouping trees. We have planted coir rolls and wetland plants here and are getting the local community involved in species surveying of the site.

West Wittering

We have been working on the large wetland area at Cakeham Manor Estates since the start of the project and divided up the site into three sections, working on one area each year. We finished the last of our big work this year and so in the future light management only should be required. We always had strong support from local residents at this site and all our hard work has been rewarded with water voles moving in and kingfishers flying the length of the waterway. We have cleared areas of the bank of Hemlock Water Dropwort and then seeded with wildflowers. We have also installed coir rolls and wetland plants.

We were approached by West Wittering Estates to manage a stretch of wetland that they own adjacent to that of Cakeham Manor Estates. They saw what we had created there and asked us for management help. We discovered some invasive species which we have taken steps to remove and then applied for planning permission to get some willow and sycamore pollarded. The Estate then brought in a tree surgeon who carried out the work and left all the wood onsite. We went in and created a dead hedge to use up this material and also to protect the site from dogs and people and to become linking habitat.

East Wittering and Bracklesham

We have been working on a large pond at Hilton Business Park as this has potential to hold a lot of water year-round. We had previously used many volunteer sessions opening it up and this year started digging it out in October – and then the rain came! We will have another go later this year, but it is responding well, and local residents tell us it is a hot pot for wildlife now.

The long ditch in Tile Barn Lane was identified as having potential during our ditch surveying phase and we have worked hard on it to open it up using volunteers, dig it out with contractors, plant a new mixed native hedge, seed it and put in wetland plants. We hope to see a real biodiversity increase here and already water crowsfoot has moved in without our help so hoping water voles find it suitable in a year or two.

A small but linking pond on the Bracklesham road corner had trees removed from it last year and this year we asked the landowner to dig it out. Spinney Pond still needs further digging and we hope to do this at the end of the year as it still did not retain water over the winter.

Bracklesham Barn ditch was worked on this year to open up one side of the bank and remove all the debris and rubbish that we find on this site. Volunteers removed bramble and litter and we reinforced the dead hedge along the edge to try and create some protection.

Earnley

In the Somerley area of Earnley Parish there has been persistent flooding and we have tried to create more tanking areas using relic ponds while also improving the wetland value of the areas. Sparrow Cottage has been a site where we have reinstated a relic ditch, planted a wildflower bank, put in a linking pond, cut back some shading trees over a rife and ditches, and planted wetland plants and installed coir rolls. The site has responded, and water voles are now using the rife where previously there were no signs as there was little light and no diversity of plants.

Hedgehog Hall pond is linked to Sparrow cottage and we have just started to work here, opening it up and taking back some of the trees to get more light in. towards the end of the year we hope to carry out some digging work to deepen it so it will hold water for longer.

Mill Pond house is in the same area as the two above properties and has a large pond in it that was dug out to improve tanking by the Parish Council. We had added some wetland plants so that it becomes a piece of valuable wetland for water voles and other species.

Haydons pond has been on our radar for a while and we have started to manage it. We have opened it up and reduced the height of some of the leaning willows and it maybe dug out later this year. We are mindful the rare oak aphid lives on an oak tree on an island within the pond. We hope the pond will improve in biodiversity with more light let in.

West Itchenor Parish

We continue to advise the Parish council on management of the West Itchenor village pond and have carried out monthly working parties opening up key areas, removing Hemlock Water Dropwort, planting a native species hedge, installing stakes and binders, coir rolls and a greater range of wetland plants. Water voles have now moved into the pond after being absent for nearly twenty years so we must have been doing something right!

Birdham Parish

We have three linked ponds in Birdham that we have been working on with the parish to improve their biodiversity and to increase their water holding capacity. Kingfisher pond has been transformed with willow removal, coir rolls and digging out.

Birdham Village pond has been taken on as, after years of water vole presence and some harsh management by the parish council and their subsequent disappearance, we decided that we would try and get them back. We have taken down the height of the shading trees and plan a light dig of the silt late summer. We will leave the banks as they are and encourage a better range of wetland species to colonise.

We started work on Triangle pond and copse after being approached by the landowner for help. This is a key site as it links the two other ponds but was completely overgrown with a shallow ditch, blocked culvert and heavily shaded. We had some challenges to overcome with spoil dumping by a WSCC contractor but that got sorted and the volunteers worked hard to open it up and to find the edges of the ditch banks. With selective sycamore tree removal and willow thinning this site has now had a footpath created and a large ditch and pond area dug in. The banks have been seeded and a mixed native hedge planted along the front. Coir rolls and wetland plants will finish the site for this year.

DITCH SURVEYING

As well as all this hard-physical improvement work, we have had volunteers still carrying out the allimportant ditch and hedgerow surveying that informs our work. They continue to go out in challenging weather and to collect the data that is so valuable to the project.

Donnington

We have had a single volunteer complete all the ditch surveys across this parish in just a few months and he is a total hero. Chris and I hope to turn this data into maps and a report in the near future.

Hunston

We have had a volunteer carrying out surveys of this parish estimate we are 60% through. We are also supporting this parish to identify their environmental assets and to carry out species data gathering ahead of writing their Neighbourhood Plan.

Selsey

We have had a couple of volunteers go out and collect ditch data and are hoping to finish the surveying in this parish in the next few months.

North Mundham

We have just started to make contact with this parish and to approach landowners about access to land. We will hope to recruit volunteers from this parish to help us with the surveying.

Apuldram

We have approached a key landowner in the parish and hope to start surveying here over the next month.

OTHER WORK

Mink monitoring

We have been managing and carrying out mink monitoring across the area with financial support from Barfoots, RSPB and Vitacress. Key trained volunteers have been very diligent and committed in carrying out this work as a mink has ben seen about but has remained elusive despite great efforts to catch it. We are exploring another strategy that involves a device that lets the trap contact a mobile phone if it is triggered – we’ll keep you informed of the results!

Education

Emily, the FLOW Communications and Events Officer, has been teaching in schools and focusing on the importance of ditches and wetland to people and wildlife.

WHAT’S NEXT?

We have a busy program of attending events like fetes and village fayres on the Manhood Peninsula over the summer and Emily will be heading that up. She could always do with help as it is fun with a cheery team to put out the word about what we do and why and to recruit new volunteers to help with our work.

Species surveying and habitat surveying

We will have a busy program of species and habitat surveying over the summer and need lots of help with butterfly, moth, bird, reptile, floral and small mammal surveys. We want everyone using iRecord to get our biological data into the Biodiversity Records Centre as this valuable information is needed to protect our wildlife and landscape.

Reports written by the FLOW project
The reports can be seen here for the West Wittering Management Plan, the East Wittering and Bracklesham Management Plan and the Earnley Parish Plan. The Sidlesham and Donnington Plans will be over the next couple of months and we will hold information events in those parishes.

BIG THANKS 

Thanks go to all the volunteers that have helped us with surveying, admin work, tools, physical work, refreshments, mink monitoring, carrying equipment, turning up whatever the weather, the smiles, laughter and support.

Jane Reeve

Volunteers © 2019 Jane Reeve

The First FLOW Coffee Morning

Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, FLOW is a major conservation scheme to restore the drainage function of wetland on the Manhood Peninsula and provide essential habitats for wildlife. Volunteers are instrumental to the success of the project and the FLOW team would not be able to complete their mission without their hard work! With a cake-loving workforce and three years-worth of parish improvements to share, the team invited the local community to join them for their first ever coffee morning, on April 13th.

Over thirty regular FLOW volunteers and members of the wider Group, plus individuals new to the project, came along to see the results of the restoration work to date and get inspired about the positive changes being made to ditches, hedgerows and the local environment as a whole. For some contributors to FLOW, the event was their first time meeting the whole team, as these participants complete ditch condition surveys independently, outside of the regular Wednesday, Friday and Saturday group working sessions. It was encouraging for the team to see a representative from Birdham Parish Council attend, since collaboration with governing bodies has been a priority for the team to create a permanent solution to wetland management.

Attendees discussed the long term aims of the project over maps showing the results of extensive FLOW surveys. These maps highlighted locations which had inadequate vegetation, a high risk of flooding and wetland features that would benefit from considered management. From these findings, the team planned to bring their work to more parishes, as well as train and support volunteer-led groups to care for their local watercourses, with FLOW Communications and Engagement Officer, Emily, and Community Conservation Project Officer, Leanne, leading the exercise. Two grandchildren of FLOW volunteers at the event, were particularly passionate about helping the environment and were keen to learn more from MWHG members about the wildlife that could be helped through the project.

After a successful first coffee morning, the FLOW team were excited to continue hosting these social meetings and planned to move the regular event to different parishes, take attendees out to visit wetland sites and even complete some bioblitz’s during the summer months.

If you would like to know more about the FLOW project or are interested in getting involved, look out for notices of upcoming coffee mornings on www.mwhg.org.uk and on social media ‘@mwhgpage’, where you can meet and talk to the team and existing FLOW volunteers, or get in touch with the FLOW Communications and Engagement Officer at ‘hello@mwhg.org.uk’.

Nicola Timney

The Re-introduction of White-tailed Eagles

The Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation and Forestry England have recently been granted a licence by Natural England to re-introduce white-tailed eagles Haliaeetus albicilla to the Isle of Wight. The five-year programme will begin with the release 6-8 juvenile birds this summer. It is hoped to establish a small base population in the Solent area from Poole to Pagham, with birds eventually spreading out along the South Coast. Studies in the Nederland’s have shown that the species are content to nest in populated areas.

White-tailed eagle prey on fish and water birds but will also scavenge readily. Most of the water birds taken by eagles are thought to be injured or sick, with carrion making up around 30% of their diet during the winter months. Fish form an important part of the birds’ diet during the spring and summer, when we can expect to see them fishing for abundant species like grey mullet Mugil cephalus, found within the shallow waters of our estuaries and harbours.

Disturbance caused by the eagles to wading birds is understood to be similar to that of peregrine falcons Falco peregrinus. Prey species quickly become accustomed to their presence, if they are not so already – breeding colonies of gulls and terns are very adept at mobbing and driving off the eagles.

As well as the conservation benefits, it has been shown that in areas where white-tailed eagles have been re-introduced previously, they have generated significant benefits for the local economy. The Isle of Mull for example, receives up to £5 million per year through eagle related tourism.

I will be looking out excitedly for these birds later in the year. With their impressive 2 m – 2.4 m wingspan supporting a 3.5 kg – 7.4 kg bird, they will be certain to turn a few heads!

Sources: www.roydennis.org/isleofwight

www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/white-tailed-eagle

Nick Gray

Article by Richard Williamson in the Chichester Observer 11 April 2019

Despite plastic pollution, habitat destruction and extinction of our precious wildlife species across the globe there are armies of determined people who want the planet to stay blue. They are in our backyard too.

One such group of volunteers lives south of the city of Chichester and they call themselves the Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group.

They have once again worked all through the winter making the lovely Sussex Plain with all its little meadows and hedges and ponds and streams and old oak trees a more healthy environment for all of us to enjoy. They have sent me their autumn and winter report.

Mums, dads and children down on the Selsey peninsular and along the harbour walls have been carefully managing this secret world of water voles and herons, bumble bees and dormice so that the water flows and some sunlight gets through the canopy to refresh the pond sedge, the dragonfly, and the wild orchid as well.

The area is a miniature Amberley Wildbrooks, which is itself now well guarded as an international treasure that must never be destroyed as it nearly was back in the 1970s.

Londoners in their tens of thousands escaping the pressure of grinding traffic and air pollution on summer days come down here to the coast and breathe again as they trundle gratefully through the last ten miles to the Witterings and the seaside carpark.

The MWHG newsletter has on its front cover a photo of a winter scene with snow surrounding a newly cleared stream winding through the trees.

It reminded me of an Edward Seago oil painting of a Norfolk Broadland scene. Again, a reminder of an international treasure. (In case you don’t know Seago’s works, they are all in Royal and international collections now but superb reproduction plate books are available and well worth seeing to show you what I am talking about).

Apart from riparian maintenance, the MWHG monitors all species and their records are held by the Sussex Biological Records Centre and National Biodiversity Network and they have been short-listed for an award by NBN. Access the work at www.mwhg.co.uk.

Some people have questioned the work on pond and ditch clearance which can seem a violent intrusion upon the landscape as it is carried out. But without this management work, waterways silt up, dry out, and become woodland.

That is fine up to a point but in these days of limited resources there are some rare and very beautiful species that can be seriously disadvantaged and die out since fresh water habitats are far more rare than natural woodland.

Amberley Wildbrooks mentioned above would turn into woodland if not managed, with the loss of 360 species of flowering plants, and also birds with specialised requirements such as snipe and reed warblers.

So trust the team of volunteers working down on the Manhood peninsula for they are led by experts such as Jane Reeve and Sarah Hughes.

Now you know what I am going to say last of all don’t you? If this article gets just one more volunteer to join the friendly group we shall all be very pleased. You will be welcomed with open arms. Nothing could be more useful or healthy for you to get involved in.

The Eileen Savill Award 2019

Has there ever been a better time to praise young people? All around the world they are taking a stand to ensure their future and that of the planet by demanding action on climate change and biodiversity loss.

The Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group [MWHG] is again seeking nominations for the Eileen Savill Award. This is an 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

• Campaigning on environmental issues

• Tackling plastic pollution

• 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 locally hand-crafted trophy and a prize chosen to support the winner’s activities. The presentation will take place in the autumn.

Eileen Savill lived in Selsey for almost fifty years and devoted her life to encouraging young people by teaching for twenty-three 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.

Do you know a budding Greta Thunberg or someone with a similar passion for preserving our green planet?

Submit your nominations to us online or download a nomination form here.

Joe Savill

Selsey Photo Archive Project

In 2018 Selsey Town Council received a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a project to preserve and make accessible a significant collection of photographs from Selsey Society’s archive. The project, made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, will focus on creating a dedicated website as an invaluable photographic resource for everyone. It has brought together volunteers from the community with members of the Manhood Wildlife & Heritage Group, Selsey Town Council, former members of Selsey Society, and expert staff from the West Sussex Record Office who are providing full training and guidance.

The Selsey Society, which dissolved in 2015, collected a wide-ranging collection of several thousand photographs, postcards and other artefacts. The collection has images dating from the 19th century to the present day and covers significant topics unique to Selsey and rare in Sussex, such as lifeboats, coastal erosion, the fishing industry, railway carriage homes, the Selsey Tram light railway, caravan and holiday parks. The collection, according to Selsey Society’s constitution, was to pass directly to the Record Office in Chichester but this would have, potentially, made it less accessible for the people of Selsey and beyond. This project aims to resolve this issue by making it accessible to all whilst ensuring the long-term preservation of the originals in the Record Office.

After initial training by Record Office staff, volunteers have been cataloguing the collection using a detailed spreadsheet produced by the Record Office. Important details, such as description, date, location, etc, about each photo are recorded as accurately as possible. So far more than 2,500 photos have been catalogued. During this process photos are being selected for the initial 500 to be displayed on the website. The next stage will be scanning the selected photographs and preparing them for uploading onto the website. A team has recently been engaged to design and build the site and the design process is just beginning. It is hoped that the website will go live sometime in the autumn.

A Selsey heritage exhibition, in partnership with Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group, is planned for the August Bank Holiday weekend. It will focus on the history of Selsey High Street and will include images from the collection.

The project has been very fortunate to have recruited an enthusiastic and committed group of volunteers but more help would still be valuable. Anyone joining us will benefit from training, provided by Record Office staff, in cataloguing, scanning and conservation techniques, as well as the sheer joy of viewing and researching fascinating images from Selsey’s past, not to forget becoming part of a very welcoming volunteer team which has a real say in the project’s development.

Anyone who is interested in volunteering should contact Selsey Town Council on 01243 605803 or email enquries@selseytowncouncil.gov.uk or email the Project Co-ordinator at chairmt@mwhg.org.uk

Joe Savill Project Co-ordinator

Biodiversity/ iRecord

I joined the MWHG as a volunteer at the end of 2018, with FLOW and general conservation in mind. At one of the volunteer briefings, Jane talked about biodiversity and iRecord. Their website makes it easier for wildlife sightings to be collated, checked by experts and made available to support research and decision-making at local and national levels. By registering with iRecord, your sightings are shared with the recording community, and you have access to dynamic maps and graphs of your data, thereby making a contribution to science and conservation.

In January 2019, I started reporting sightings via iRecord of birds in our garden, and also in the three hedgerows that surround our housing estate near Drift Road, Selsey. Most of these sightings are for common garden birds (albeit some are on the RSPB’s red list): starlings, blackbirds, robins, sparrows etc. I report these sightings via a phone app; this is very easy to use and keep track of what’s been sighted e.g., where seen, bird type, abundance etc. The sightings are then checked by an expert at iRecords, and the outcome confirmed by email; normally “Accepted as considered correct”.

In March/April this year, I received an unexpected email saying that my tree sparrow (Passer montanus) sightings were “Awaiting review”, with the following additional comments: Hello David – this is a very scarce species in Sussex away from the two breeding areas on the Pevensey and East Guldeford Levels (East Sussex). Did you manage a photograph and have a more precise record of abundance? Local experienced birders are checking the ‘sparrows’ in Selsey as this is a very unusual species away from the two small breeding colonies in East Sussex.

The RSPB website shows UK conservation status for tree sparrows as red; the highest conservation priority, with species needing urgent action. I will be paying more attention to my sparrow sightings from now on, in particular abundance and photographs. It’s good to know that there is someone at iRecords reviewing sightings. In addition to my local area, I have seen sparrows around the recreation ground at Oval Lane/ Grafton Road, Selsey Bill.

The point of this article in the MWHG newsletter is twofold: I would endorse Jane’s advice and encourage everyone to register with iRecords. If you are already registered with iRecords, report sparrow sightings in the Manhood Peninsular!

David Wyatt

Life is a Ditch

Hi, a little about me; I’m Kim, 61 years old and this is how I found MWHG and how it has helped me through a traumatic time.

For 7½ years, along with my husband Mick, I travelled France, Spain, Scotland and all over England in our large motorhome. We did this full time as we sold the family home. During our travels we had come across lots of different sites of nature in the countryside of Europe and the UK. We are very avid walkers and love wildlife, flora, fauna and take an interest in the environment.

We sold the motorhome last June 2018 and moved permanently to West Wittering in July. We were keen to meet new friends and explore the area. It was on one of our walks that we came across a leaflet at The Wad, regarding volunteering for MWHG. After discussing it I emailed Jane Reeve who emailed back with details of the next group working at Itchenor Pond in Dec 18 / Jan 19. We went along in the afternoon and met Christopher Drake and the team of volunteers. He chatted to us about the work and introduced us to the members. This really whetted our appetite and we decided we wanted to join this wonderful worthwhile group, which we did in January 2019.

The work is very varied and can be quite hard at times, but we get a lovely “green workout” – no need for the gym! The work involves digging, planting wetland plants, clearing invasive weeds, planting trees, scattering wildflower seeds and grasses, and of course watering where we can. We work every Wednesday, 9.30am – 3.00pm and some Thursdays and Saturdays. I don’t do a Friday as I have counselling on that morning due to reasons I will explain later. We have done ditch surveys with Christopher which is so interesting and made us realise how important surveying these ditches are. We take our grandchildren out on walks when we have them and always take bags and litter pickers with us (supplied by Jane). The two young ones, Elsie aged 8, and Matilda aged 3, are so excited about this and always ask to go litter picking. They are like little sponges and are so eager to learn about nature and saving the planet. They have both made posters for Jane about littering, plastic and how it is damaging the planet.

Just recently while visiting Triangle Pond, Birdham, to see how the planting was coming along, we met a gentleman walking his dog. He stopped us to chat about the wonderful job the volunteers (along with Jane and Christopher) had done and I was proud to say I was part pf the group.

During a recent visit to Chichester Canal we were lucky enough to see three water voles and as we know they are in decline we were absolutely thrilled, and I managed to get a clear video recording of one swimming across the canal. We have recently had a wonderful day out with the group to Binsted Woods surveying dormouse and the day was perfect with very knowledgeable wonderful people.

We are always provided with tea, coffee and cakes and they get special cakes for me as I am gluten free. Everything is provided; gloves, tools etc. I would highly recommend volunteering for this wonderful group.

I have suffered from depression (counselling on Fridays) due to childhood abuse by my adoptive father as a young child and young adult. After he died in October 2017 I went to pieces and finally told my doctor who referred me to PARCS for counselling. Joining the MWHG had “saved” me so I can put everything into the work, which keeps me focused and stops me thinking of what has happened to me.

Kim

Thank you for sharing this personal experience, Kim. It is proof in action that involvement with nature can help mental as well as physical health. The Editor

Manor Green Park

It has been a busy time at Manor Green Park! After consultation with Selsey Town Council, it was decided to remove the low rail fence around the orchard and include that area into the general park. The few remaining apple trees will continue to be looked after and the empty plots filled in and grassed over.

In the rough area next to the orchard, commemorative trees were planted some years ago and these, too, have had mixed success. One which was lost was planted in memory of Bill Lelliott and it was a pleasure to obtain a replacement Rowan for his widow, Dee. Dee came along with her son Jonathan to see the new tree and help plant cowslips, another favourite of Bill’s, around it.

For some time now, the rockery in the Sensory Garden has given concern. All efforts to keep it looking attractive and weed-free have failed. When it was suggested that a Lavender Bed would look good there, the idea was seized upon; the time of year was right and there was no stopping us! A variety of small, healthy, English lavenders have been planted and will be tended carefully. We are delighted with the result.

The Sensory Garden will be part of Open Garden Day on 2nd June this year and we hope some of the lavender will be flowering by then to give a really good show.

We have also continued to improve the bed along by the Nursery and are reaping the rewards, with the planting looking much more mature and colour being maintained over much longer periods.

Selsey Town Council has asked Manor Park to be part of the Love Parks Event on Sunday, 23rd June. Many attractions are planned, and Manhood Wildlife and Heritage volunteers have once again come up trumps by offering full support. It is hoped to have a moth trap, reptile sheets, a music attraction and other activities and to attract more interest and appreciation of the lovely area from the many visitors to the park.

Sheila Wilkinson

East Beach Pond

In October 2018 contractors began installing a large foul water sewage pipe along Beach Road Selsey. A sizable storage compound housing plant and materials was set up in the East Beach car park. Signs and bollards were placed across the whole site with several finishing up in the pond. The low water level in April allowed us to extract the majority of these from the murky water. This construction work has taken far longer than the original six month estimate and the long suffering residents have lived with the daily sound and vibrations of excavators and pumps, coupled with the stench of diesel lingering across the area.

A drop of 30 centimetres in the pond water level over a two month period gave us cause for concern. The construction company said they weren’t to blame but when an engineer from CDC investigated, his conclusion was that low winter rainfall had lowered the water table but the excavation work, which required ground water being pumped out and released south of the pond, may have contributed to this. With no water entering or discharging the pond soon stagnated which seemed to encourage reed growth. At the end of April, after light rain, a trickle was noted at the inlet which seemed to confirm the engineer’s assessment.

A barren site on a slope at the north entrance has been improved using small turfs. Again we sourced our turf from the car park grass verges where it spreads onto the concrete surface. It has been four years since we cut the verges and during that period the grass had spread about 20 cm. Although the turfs consist of ragged clumps, some with soil and others just a network of roots bound together by windblown grits, they do the trick. By roughing up the soil prior to laying the turfs and adding silt from the pond margin to raise the thinnest ones, the finished effect is acceptable. The unevenness will soon find its level and as the wildflowers and perennial grasses develop, the scars will be hidden.

Brent Lodge released five juvenile swans on the pond in the early part of 2019. In February their tranquil existence was disturbed when two adult swans returned to the pond. The adults looked as though they were establishing territory, which meant the youngsters were constantly being attacked. Three of the five got the message and left but a pair chose to hold out. The adults created a platform of reeds and continued to harass the two remaining youngsters. This display of territorial dominance is natural and provides an important lesson for the youngsters but it was unfortunately misinterpreted by a few local people. Upset by the viciousness of the adult’s behaviour someone started circulating the story of the aggressive swans of East Beach Pond. Sarah and I received e.mails, as did others who were drawn into this farce and the story even reached the local newspapers. Meanwhile the two juveniles sought refuge elsewhere but when a week later the adult birds abandoned the site the youngsters returned and have become firm favourites with local people.


Dave Haldane

Heritage Trail Leaflets

Two Heritage Trail leaflets have been produced in conjunction with local businesses:
The Old Piggery Cafe have ‘sponsored’ a trail which visits the castle and chapel at Church Norton and Billys-on-the-Beach have funded another trail which explores Earnley Church, RAF Earnley and Medmerry Nature Reserve.

©  Bill Martin

Other trails are being developed with Birdham and Mundham Parish Councils. Exhibition:

The ‘Pavilion’ at Chaplins Coffee House has been booked for the August Bank Holiday (24-26th) to stage an exhibition in conjunction with the Selsey Photo Archive Group based on Selsey High Street.

Bill Martin

Land Settlement Association

Weald and Downland
Longport Farmhouse (the former reception to the museum) is now an additional exhibition space and it may be home to an LSA display in the Autumn. It would be great if you could, as you have in the past, help to promote the LSA story by stewarding the display for a morning or afternoon session. I will be meeting with museum staff to discuss the format of the display and will then be able to advise you about actual dates and times.

You will recall that the Godfrey Shirt, who lived in the LSA house which is currently in storage, had also been a founder steward at the museum and has his name on a bench outside Bayleaf House. There is now another LSA/museum connection. Keith Coles, a volunteer at the museum working with the oxen, used to live at No 41 (Rookery Road) on the Chawston LSA in Bedfordshire for 20 years from 1991. The previous owner had purchased the property at the closure of the LSA in 1983. Keith and his wife Linda knew several former LSA tenants and I am currently trying to make contact with John Chinnery (No 22), who may have previously worked on an LSA smallholding in Sidlesham!


When you next visit the Weald and Downland you will see two new buildings and will soon be able to enjoy butter made at the dairy on bread baked at the bakehouse made from the flour which is ground at the nearby mill!

Sad News

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the death of one of the stars of our film – Freda Booth (No 15), who died peacefully at the end of January. Like so many others of you Freda not only made a huge contribution to the LSA, but also to the recording of its history. My condolences to Rosemary, Roger and Bernard.

Museum of English Rural Life (MERL)

I visited MERL again at the end of February to research the early LSA Annual Reports. You may be interested to know that Sidlesham was at the forefront of LSA innovations! In 1937 hen batteries were installed in preference to the more orthodox outdoor system and in 1938 Sidlesham (and Dedham LSA) became central training centres with 292 men admitted before the outbreak of war – 194 went to work on other LSAs and 98 ‘relinguished’ training in the first three months. PTO

Sidlesham Heritage Trail

Beamish Museum

In April I visited Beamish Museum in County Durham. There is a 1900s pit village there, complete with pit pony stables. Beamish also host an annual ‘Yesterday belongs to You’ event for local history groups and I have contacted the organisers in the hope of developing links with some of the families who came to Sidlesham, but then ‘returned north’.


Foxash LSA

I have been contacted (via the website) by someone at Foxash LSA in Essex. Brian Howe came to the estate in 1941 at the age of six, when his father became Orchard Foreman. After the closure in 1983 Foxash Growers and Dedham Vale Nurseries were established, similar to Sidlesham Growers.

Sidlesham School

How times change! In 1939 four new classrooms had to be built to accommodate the influx of LSA families, at least one family had ten children. The school population at that time increased from 120 to 284. In 2019 a total of eleven children (of the 132 at the school) live in former LSA houses – six of them in one class which I led round part of the heritage trail earlier this week.

Tell me a story . . . . .

I have now done 42 presentations to local groups and societies (with a total audience of more than 1600 people) as well as several heritage trail walks. Four more dates are booked for 2019 so if you have friends or family who haven’t seen the archive film, or would like to know more about the LSA and the heritage trail, let me know and I can share the dates.

Only three first names left . . . . No 41 JE Freeman (1950s-60s), No 70 Husband of Joan Holley (1950s-60s) Joan was Secretary of Fletchers Hut & Boatman also No 70 in the 1970s.

Thank you for all your continued support and assistance with this project.

Bill Martin

Medmerry – The First Five Years

To take a quote from a classic 1980’s movie, “If you build it, they will come”. The same can definitely be applied to the Medmerry Managed Realignment Scheme. Five years of monitoring has been completed since the breach in September 2013, covering everything from topography, mud invertebrates, saltmarsh development, fish, breeding birds, molluscs, flowering plants, reptiles, water voles…..the list goes on.

Some of the highlights include breeding waders increasing year on year, with avocets starting to nest in 2013 (one pair) and reaching 36 pairs in 2018. Overwintering wader numbers have trebled since 2014. Despite national trends showing declines in farmland birds, at Medmerry breeding numbers have quadrupled since 2009. Skylarks have trebled in number since 2014. Yellowhammers have increased from 2 pairs in 2014 to 32 pairs in 2018. Nesting Linnets have doubled since 2014, with over-wintering flocks of 1240 plus birds – a new County record.

Annual surveys have sampled over 10,000 fish, identifying 32 species. Gobies, sand smelt, bass and mullet dominated, identifying the site as an important “nursery” for sea fish. Thirteen species of marine mollusc have been identified, four of which have only localised distribution.

And what about the flooding? Well, we have had plenty of named storm events over the last five years and there has been no repeat of the flooding in 2008 which caused £5million worth of damage. Both the marine and freshwater storage areas seem to be performing well and to the specifications they were designed for.

It’s fair to say that the Medmerry scheme is delivering on many levels.

Steve Webster

MWHG COMMUNITY CONSERVATION PROJECT EVENTS CALENDAR 2019

All of the events will have a staff team member on hand, and it would be great if we could be supported by a couple of volunteers at each one. You will have the chance to chat with members of the public, share how we work to protect and preserve local wildlife and heritage, and of course have lots of fun!

If you are free to offer just an hour or two, or stay for the full event, we would be most grateful. We will bring refreshments, but ask that you bring lunch (where required) if you will be able to help for a longer event.

Please take a look at the list and if you are free to support any of the events let me know as soon as possible which ones and how long you are able to offer at lclements@mwhg.org.uk

Event/ Date/ Time/ Activity / Opportunity

  • Selsey Town Council Love Your Parks Week East Beach Pond /Sat 22 June/ 10.30am-3.30pm/ Pond dipping, nature trails, quiz Engagement, awareness raising, volunteer/member recruitment, fundraising
  • Selsey Town Council Love Your Parks Week Manor Green Park/ Sun 23 June/ 10.30am-3.30pm/ Moth trapping, nature trails, quiz Engagement, awareness raising, volunteer/member recruitment, fundraising
  • North Mundham Gala & Flower Show/ 
    Sat 13 July/ Set up from 12 noon Event 2-4 pm/ 
    General awareness, volunteer/member recruitment, activities
  • Binsted Strawberry Fair/ Sun 21 July/  2-4.30 pm/ General awareness, volunteer/member recruitment, activities
  • Sidlesham Village Fete/ Sat 27 July/ Set up from 12 noon Event 2-4pm/ General awareness, volunteer/member recruitment, activities
  • Selsey Lifeboat Station Lifeboat Day/ Sun 4 Aug 10am-5pm/ Engagement, awareness raising, recruitment, fundraising
  • Transition Chichester Brewery Field Open Day/ Sun 25 Aug/ Set up from 10am Event 12-4pm/ Awareness, engagement, recruitment

Copyright 2019 MWHG Editorial and illustration team – Pam Barnes, Carole Hampton, Gina Scott, Peter White

Useful websites

Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group http://www.mwhg.org.uk

Recording the changing seasons – http://www.naturedetectives.org.uk/

Local wood recycling – http://www. aldingbournetrust.co.uk/services_recycling.htm

Local – Bags made from 100% recycled clothing – http://www.thegreendoor.co.uk/

Sussex Bat Group – http://www.sussexbatgroup.org.uk/

UK moths – http://ukmoths.org.uk/

Bug life – http://www.buglife.org.uk/

Mammal Society – http://www.abdn.ac.uk/mammal/ Green shop – http://www.greenshop.co.uk/

Environmental calendar – www.countmeincalendar.info

Swift Conservation – http://www.swift-conservation.org/

Wildcare Shop for products relating to ecology, Park management or conservation. – http://www.wildcareshop.com

MWHG Website www.mwhg.org.uk

New Membership If you are interested in becoming a member please go to www.mwhg.org.uk/get-involved/membership/

Volunteering Subscribe to our volunteering opportunities and get invoived at www.mwhg.org.uk/getinvolved/volunteering/

New content and updates are regularly required for example on wildlife, heritage, etc. All contributions welcome. email: facebook@mwhg.org.uk

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter at “mwhgpage”

Our walks leaflets can be purchased from the following places:
Chichester District Council, Selsey Office Hunston Post Office (Tramway Walks only) Raycraft, High Street, Selsey RSPB Pagham Harbour Local Nature Reserve Selsey Printing and Publishing Selsey Town Council Office

Registered Charity Number 1147335 Company Number 07629112 Printed by Selsey Press on 75% recycled paper

Eileen Savill Award 2019

June 9th, 2019 by Nikki
Eileen Savill Award 2019: [Back row, L to R] Ben (volunteer for Brent Lodge), Hugh (overall winner and volunteer for RSPB), [front row] [left] Joe Savill (Chairman of MWHG), [centre] Luke (from the Academy Selsey), [right] Chris Drake (FLOW Project Field Officer), [remaining four, left to right] Tiffany, Katie, Millie and Maddie (group from the Academy Selsey)
© Nicola Timney November 2018

TIME TO PRAISE YOUNG PEOPLE
Do you know young people who truly care for their environment?

The Eileen Savill Award 2019

Has there ever been a better time to praise young people? All around the world they are taking a stand to ensure their future, and that of the planet, by demanding action on climate change and biodiversity loss.

The Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group [MWHG] is again seeking nominations for the Eileen Savill Award. This is an 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 in one or more of these areas:
• Practical conservation work
• Learning about the wildlife and/or heritage of the area
• Celebrating it through art, photography, writing etc
• Campaigning on environmental issues that affect the area

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
• Organising or taking part in an environmental campaign
• Tackling plastic pollution
• 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 locally hand-crafted trophy and a prize chosen to support the winner’s activities. The presentation will take place in the autumn.

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.

Do you know a budding Greta Thunberg or someone with a similar passion for preserving our green planet?

Nomination forms can downloaded and submitted online [below] or be posted to Joe Savill, 28 Vincent Road, Selsey, West Sussex. PO20 9DQ

Contact details required for this competition are used solely to carry out administrative duties for the “Eileen Savill Award 2019” and will only be held for as long as necessary to provide this service. You may well be contacted for further details if the person/group you nominated is shortlisted for the award.

Deadline for entries is Wednesday 31st July 2019

Download a nomination form 

Submit your nomination online:

Eileen Savill Award 2019 Nomination

Nominations can be also be posted to: Joe Savill, 28 Vincent Road, Selsey, West Sussex, PO20 9DQ.
File types accepted: .doc or .pdf

 

 

Volunteer ‘thank you’ Bioblitz day at Binsted Woods

May 24th, 2019 by Nikki
Ancient Woodland Walk © Emily Sabin

On Wednesday 15th May, the FLOW team took 17 volunteers to Binsted Woods near Arundel for a Bioblitz wildlife recording day. We dedicated the day to our volunteers to say thank you for all the time, commitment and hard physical work that they have given the FLOW project over the recent winter season. We were spoilt with beautiful weather and the opportunity to see a variety of wildlife. Some volunteers brought delicious homemade treats, including scones, cream and jam!

Volunteers © Emily Sabin

Our aim for the day was for the volunteers to have fun and enjoy spending time together identifying a variety of flora and fauna. Binsted Woods is cared for by MAVES (Mid Arun Valley Environmental Survey), a community-based charity set up by Binsted’s farmers and residents in 2015 to conserve the local countryside. MAVES carries out regular flora and fauna surveys, including the dormouse, which we were all very keen to see. Our Bioblitz was guided by Ian Powell, MAVES’ principal licensed surveyor, who was joined by Paul Stevens, Reserve Manager at Arundel Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, and Sarah Hughes, Wildlife Officer for Chichester District Council.

View where A27 bypass would go © Emily Sabin

Binsted Woods is a 250 acre broad-leaved ancient woodland with a high species diversity, adjoining to ancient hedgerows which serve as wildlife corridors around the neighbouring wildflower meadows and arable land. The woodland is intersected by footpaths, enabling anyone to experience the richness of biodiversity. Bluebell walks are an unforgettable experience here, and you might catch a glimpse of roe deer dashing across the fields. If you visit at dusk you can spot an owl silently soaring above its hunting ground. The woods are also home to 14 bat species, 93 bird species (including 20 Red-List species), and an increasing number of badgers, brown hares, foxes and hedgehogs. The wildflower meadows boast a multitude of insects and come alive with the sound of that glorious summer buzz.

Ancient woodland and dormouse habitat © Emily Sabin

Our Bioblitz day started with a mid-morning walk through the ancient woodland, stopping to check a few dormice boxes and finding most were empty, except for a nest of sleeping blue-tit chicks, and a busy tree bumblebee nest with a small cloud of males attempting to attract the queen bee by dancing around the nest hole. We also recorded a variety of plants, including: early purple orchid; wood anemones; primrose; bluebells; butcher’s broom (an ancient woodland indicator species); ferns; mosses, and lichen.

Dormouse © Emily Sabin

In the afternoon we took a different route through the woodland to an area called Paine’s Wood where MAVES has erected lots of dormice boxes. Our licensed dormice handlers checked each box carefully, and – after several were found empty or had other residents – we finally had the magical moment of seeing a dormouse, which was a first time for many of us. The dormice were delicately handled to be examined and sexed.

Dormouse © Emily Sabin

Dormice are delightful and fascinating small rodents and sadly they are threatened with extinction. Their decline reflects the significant loss of ancient woodland habitat and the removal of ancient hedgerow corridors over the last hundred years which are essential for their survival. Paine’s Wood is part of the National Dormice Monitoring Programme (NDMP) and is an excellent habitat for dormice. Fluctuating but good numbers of dormice have been recorded consistently here for 15 years which is an encouraging sign of continued and future presence of local dormice.

Yellow Archangel © Emily Sabin

MAVES continues to gather biodiversity records in Binsted Woods to fully understand this historic environment. Their policy allows data to be shared appropriately to interested people including farmers, landowners and local authorities. Currently, Binsted is threatened by a major road bypass plan which would dissect Binsted village and cut off the ancient woodland from vital wildlife corridors, including the ancient hedgerows and other nearby woodland. Given the prolific biodiversity records gathered here, amidst a backdrop of globally declining biodiversity, it should be impossible to deliver a major road here within the current legislative framework.

Orchid © Emily Sabin

Overall our Bioblitz day was a huge success! We all learnt so much about the local area and the wildlife. Our volunteers had a fantastic day and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of identifying species (and learning lots of new ones) in a beautiful, thriving ancient woodland. A huge thank you to everyone who came along, and to FLOW’s Christopher Drake who organised the event.

For more information visit: www.aruncountryside.org


Post by Emily Sabin

Preserving Selsey’s Past: The Photo Archive Project

May 22nd, 2019 by Nikki
Attendees of the 1909 Selsey Regatta
Selsey Photo Archive Project image, taken at the 1909 Selsey Regatta

Since 2018, the Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group (MWHG) has been working in collaboration with Selsey Town Council, previous Selsey Society members and local volunteers, to archive an extensive collection of photographs and postcard memories of Selsey. The core aims of the Selsey Photo Archive Project are to create digital copies of the thousands of photos originally collected by the now dissolved Selsey Society and to build a website to store and display them, for generations to come. This work, funded by the National Lottery, will preserve images depicting coastal industries, landmarks and individuals from the Selsey area, taken from the 2010’s, all the way back to the 19th century.

Our diligent volunteers, with support and training from the Records Office, have already successfully catalogued over 2,500 photos, a selection of which will be viewable on the dedicated website, planned to be published this coming Autumn. An exhibition of photos celebrating the history of Selsey high street is also set to be displayed later this year, during August. Look out for news of these events on our Facebook and Twitter page, plus read our upcoming summer newsletter to see more photos.

History enthusiasts and lovers of the local area can still get involved with this project by contacting the Project Co-ordinator, Joe Savill, at chairmt@mwhg.org.uk or by emailing Selsey Town Council at enquiries@selseytowncouncil.gov.uk.


Post by Joe Savill & Nicola Timney

The Elms Ditch Story

April 10th, 2019 by Nikki

FLOW Project leader, Jane, talks us through a photo diary of changes made The Elms site, in Sidlesham.

This relic ditch was identified for improvement during the ditch surveys of Sidlesham parish. This ditch was very overgrown with willows but also had mature oaks, leylandii and some hazel, hawthorn and blackthorn along its far banks. The ditch itself was large but very shallow and dark with no wetland vegetation present. There had been significant flooding on the corner road junction in 2012 / 2013 and we identified potential for this ditch to hold more water and also be opened up so that a greater range of plants would colonise the banks.

The work we have been carrying out would have been carried out by beavers in previous years – trimming out tree growth, digging out pools to keep them wet and creating micro-climates for other species to exploit.

20 March 2018

Ditch dark and overgrown, unable to hold water for long as shallow and full of debris.

08 July 2018

Species surveying

09 November 2018

Ditch cannot be seen, overwhelmed with willow and debris.

14 November 2018

Trees cut on the verge side of the bank to get light onto the ditch area. Volunteers go in to start cutting it out – removing the willow, bramble and overhanging branches.

15 November 2018

Continuation of work – trees cut on the verge side of the bank to get light onto the ditch area. Volunteers go in to start cutting it out – removing the willow, bramble and overhanging branches.

16 November 2018

Continuation with debris removal and burning of material. Good material for dead hedging kept

19 – 22 November 2018 – Contractor work

Contractors come in to remove willow from the ditch, bring down the height of trees and open up the ditch. Diggers brought in to help with tree removal and digging the ditch deeper.


23-24 November 2018

Volunteers spend two days raking and digging the verge to remove debris and the deep ruts the machinery of the contractors left. Also put in some channels to take water off the road.


Summary of November work

Work for 2019


During early 2019, this site will have dry coir rolls installed and these will be planted with a range of wetland plant species. The banks will also be seeded with specialist wildflower seeds for heavy clay and wetland areas. The water levels will be monitored to see if any further digging or management is required and over the spring and summer species surveying will be continued.

Video: Volunteer for the FLOW Project

April 5th, 2019 by Nikki

Watch our FLOW (Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands) project video to learn more about the work we do and how our dedicated volunteers make it possible for us to prevent flooding, create vital wildlife habitats and restore the wetland heritage of the Manhood Peninsula. 

If you’re interested in volunteering with the FLOW team, contact us via the form below or find more information on our volunteering page

 

New Heritage Walks: Explore Norton, Earnley and Medmerry

April 2nd, 2019 by Nikki

We have new walking leaflets available which explore the history and heritage of Church Norton, Earnley and Medmerry. Pick up a leaflet from The Old Piggery Farm Shop And Tea Room, in Norton, or Billy’s On The Beach, in Bracklesham.

 

Volunteer Meet & Greet Coffee Morning

March 22nd, 2019 by Nikki

All are invited to the FLOW (Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands) project‘s casual meet and greet coffee morning, in April. This is a chance for our hard working volunteers and those interested in learning more about the project or volunteering with us, to get together outside of the usual volunteering days.

Please come along to the event if you have any questions for our FLOW team about the work we do or to hear from our FLOW volunteers, to find out what volunteering with us is really like! The team will also be sharing their recent progress and a range of upcoming volunteering opportunities, with attendees. 

The event:

St Wilfrid’s Church Hall, Church Road, Sesley, PO20 0LS

10am – 1pm Saturday 13th April

Refreshments Provided

20th Anniversary Photo Exhibition at Chichester Library

March 19th, 2019 by Nikki

We are happy to announce the first exhibition of our 20th Anniversary Photo Competition winners will be shown from the 25th to the 30th of March, at Chichester Library. This particular display will show the four main winning entries, and a selection of local wildlife photography, including: overall winner/ Landscape category winner, Heather Brooks; Wildlife category winner, Mary Patterson; winner of the Heritage category, Gemma Hinton and Sophie Reeve, the Under 16’s ‘My Local Nature’ category winner.

These photos, and our full Top 20 entries from the competition, will be shown throughout the Manhood Peninsula in the coming months. #MWHG20

FLOW e-bulletin March 2019

March 12th, 2019 by Nikki

We have had a busy habitat improvement season working on many sites with volunteers and using contractors for the heavy work.

FLOW – Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands

This Heritage Lottery Funded Project is focused on assessing the many ditches and waterways on the Manhood Peninsula to see how this network of wetland habitat is linked, identify areas of improvement for drainage and habitat management, and to highlight the benefits of well-managed ditches for people and wildlife. 

 

View the pdf version of this e-bulletin

 

Read about the FLOW Project  

 

Ditch and Hedge Surveying 

Due to the hard work of one extraordinary volunteer, Donnington Parish has been completely surveyed and once we finish this habitat improvement season, Chris will be processing the data and churning out the parish maps.

We have amazing volunteers working in Hunston and Selsey who are marching across the land and continuing their data collection so hopefully will be finished soon. This will leave Apuldram and North Mundham parishes to survey – please let us know if you can help – we need you!

 

Learn about Volunteering with Us and how you can Get Involved

 

See our Calendar of Upcoming Volunteering Events

 

New Landowners on Board

West Wittering Estates have approached us about some advice on one of their sites and we are working together to action some recommendations. We are also now helping Crouchers Hotel, Birdham, to make the most of their amazing grounds to create and improve habitats and to attract wildlife.

 

Physical improvements carried out this winter

We have worked on 22 sites this winter and the volunteers have bramble bashed, trimmed willow, planted hedges, and created dead hedges. On some sites we have used tree surgeons and ditch contractors to carry out the heavy work, after bat and water vole surveys were completed.

Willow Glen, Sidlesham: Before Willow Glen Sidlesham: After
Ham Road/ Easton Lane Pond, Ham: Before Ham Road/ Easton Lane Pond, Ham: After
Sheepwash Pond, Ham: Before Sheepwash Pond, Ham: After
Haydons Pond, Almodington: Before Haydons Pond, Almodington: After
West Wittering Estates: Before West Wittering Estates: After
Triangle Pond, Birdham: Before Triangle Pond Birdham: After
Hilton Business Park Pond, East Wittering: Before Hilton Business Park Pond, East Wittering: After

A HUGE THANK YOU to Balfour Beatty for donating a week of Traffic Management so that we could work safely on Batchmere Road, Almodington. They provided traffic lights and a lovely man to manage them so that the tree surgeons could crack on while also staying safe.

 

Refreshments – what really matters!
We always try to provide a good spread when it comes to refreshments, but the volunteers have outdone themselves recently and brought cakes along to celebrate their respective birthdays. We have enjoyed homemade lemon drizzle cake, brownies, , date loaf, shortbread, chocolate crispys -totally amazing!

We may have to have a FLOW Bake Off competition!

In November the MWHG FLOW project was shortlisted from hundreds of applicants to the final four, for a national award for data recording by the National Biodiversity Network. The other groups shortlisted, and the eventual winner, were large national charities so the MWHG did well as a small volunteer led charity to be nominated.

Please keep entering data about wildlife sightings and surveys on the Manhood Peninsula via our online recording form . You can also enter details of sightings directly to iRecord. We need an accurate picture of wildlife abundance and location to be available to inform future development, mitigation and habitat creation.

 

Thank you to our brilliant FLOW volunteers!

We have had some new volunteers join us this working season and we really appreciate their help, getting stuck in (literally at one site in Birdham), not minding the mud or the rain and bringing their enthusiasm. We must also thank our hardened volunteers that come out week after week despite what we throw at them and bring so much joy and fun to the work parties. Laughter is an important ingredient in our success, and we all have a great time. We all get a huge sense of satisfaction when we see what we have achieved after each working party and we are constantly surprised at just what we manage to do in a day. Thank you all!

What’s next for 2019?

During March and April 2019, we will be installing coir rolls on many of our sites and the filling them up with a range of wetland plant pugs. We will also use large pots of wetland plant species to kick start growth on some of the bare banks that we have created through our pond digging work. We will also be seeding banks with wildflowers that have been chosen to cope with heavy clay or nutrient rich areas. We want them to compete with the hemlock water dropwort, nettles and bramble that will want to dominate.

The spring and summer will be full of species surveying across our work sites to gain data about a range of species. We will also have a series of mini BioBlitz’s on ponds and areas that we have in mind for improvement during the next physical work season.

We will run some training sessions over April and May on ditch and hedgerow surveying, water vole surveying and bats.

With the ditch and hedgerow data gathered in Sidlesham and Donnington, we can now start to create GIS layers and maps, and then the Parish Reports with opportunities for improvement identified. Once these reports are written and published, we will hold information events to share our findings.

We have lots of volunteering opportunities available including physical work, data entry, species surveying, habitat surveying, volunteer induction, survey training, photography, GIS and map creation, and publication design
Come and get involved in a fab project! 

 

Welcome to our new Communications and Engagement Officer

Emily has been out and about with us and is getting to know the volunteers. She has some great ideas about get-togethers and looks forward to meeting everyone. 

Water voles have now been seen using the wetland site in West Wittering where we have spent the last two years bringing light onto the waterway and margins and have introduced a wider range of plants and fruiting trees. They have not previously been recorded here or evidence seen.

More information about this project can be found on the FLOW page and for regular updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter


If you would like to get involved, please email our Communications and Engagement Officer at hello@mwhg.org.uk


Please give us feedback on our e-bulletin by emailing jane@jssj.co.uk

MWHG’s Response to Chichester District Council’s Local Development Plan

February 21st, 2019 by Nikki

The importance of ‘Wildlife Corridors’ cannot be over emphasised.

For the last four years the Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group has been working via the Heritage Lottery Fund funded FLOW (Fixing and Linking our Wetlands) Project, to improve green connectivity between the three internationally important wildlife sites on and around the Peninsula: South Downs National Park, Chichester Harbour and Pagham Harbour. This enables creatures to move safely between them. Hedgerows, ditches and watercourses form these valuable links. Birds, bats, small mammals, insects and other invertebrates can travel and forage for food along them.

It is so important that this connectivity should continue beyond this relatively small area to provide passages and food for migrant species and opportunities for wildlife to reach new populations and thereby strengthen their gene pool which can become diluted and weakened in isolated populations, which may ultimately die out.

Our lovely coastal region is heavily developed and the pressure for new housing is enormous. It is vital that despite this, these green corridors should be created and remain sacrosanct.

It is most likely difficult for many people to realise the importance of this to their own health and wellbeing. However the relationship between all of nature, from the smallest seed to the tallest tree, from the tiniest mite to the largest animal, is a complex but inexorable web of survival, of which humans are at the top. The more diverse the network the stronger it is. It affects the air we breathe, the food we eat and the way we feel. For every species that becomes extinct or eradicated from a region, a small link in this invisible web is broken. In the last 25 years our insect population has declined by 75%; since the end of the last war Britain has lost 97% of its wild flowers and 300,000km of hedgerows; we are losing our pollinators, like bumblebees (three species gone, 10 severely threatened). Since 1970 the WWF reports the global vertebrate population has declined by 60%. The web of life is being weakened.

So we therefore strongly request that Chichester District Council should ensure these green links exist between the coastal plain and the South Downs and that they are protected from encroaching development, thereby helping to maintain the biodiversity of this special area.

In our view, the wildlife corridors that have been planned, using the best evidence and research available, form an essential way of protecting species in a rapidly changing environment, and are the minimum requirement. I would suggest that there are also significant reasons for recognising and protecting a network of wildlife corridors within the Manhood Peninsula, which link to the major corridors, so that any development, however small, does not impact negatively on biodiversity.


Post by Gina Scott and MWHG

Sheepwash Pond Story

February 11th, 2019 by Nikki

FLOW Project leader, Jane, talks us through a photo diary of changes made to Sheepwash Pond, in Sidlesham.

This relic pond was identified for improvement during the ditch surveys of Sidlesham parish. This thick willow copse hid an old dried up pond that could be seen on 1846 tithe maps and which can help to create, with management, wetland habitat for wildlife. Before any work took place, the site was surveyed for water voles and bats. Trees were marked where they had bat features, and these will be left or only gently lifted, avoiding any holes, cracks or splits.

25th October 2018

 

This relic pond was covered in large mature willow that had fallen and regrown and has bramble growing all through it. These were the plant species that dominated. Volunteers spent this session cutting out bramble and willow and burning the brash so that the edges of the pond could be seen.

27th October 2018

 

During this session the volunteers continued to cut out the bramble and to open up the site. It was tough going as many of the brambles were very old. We also had a team cutting up the willow to create a dead hedge along the front of the pond to put off fly tipping which has been a problem here.

31st October 2018

 

The bramble was pushed back and removed from a large corner at the back of the pond and this revealed a large depression that we are going to dig out. We also revealed two ditches that crisscross this site, both shallow and in need of digging out to bring water into the pond.

2nd November

 

This final volunteer session tackled the last of the bramble and the extent and perimeter of the pond can now be seen. A large fire burnt the bramble and willow brash and the sun can now touch the ground where it hasn’t seen light for 30+ years. We continue to carry out the work of beavers!

14th November 2018

A contractor has been brought in to dig out this pond and to create some deep areas where water will be held for longer.

Work for 2019

During early 2019, this site will have dry coir rolls installed and these will be planted with a range of wetland plant species. The water levels will be monitored to see if any further digging or management is required and over the spring and summer species surveying will be continued.


Post by Jane Reeve

New Part-Time Job Opportunity: Community Conservation Officer

January 8th, 2019 by Nikki

Community Conservation Officer – Part time

See this job on environmentjob.co.uk

£24,000 per annum – pro rata for 2 days a week
Fixed term contract of 12 months
Based in our Selsey Office + home working
To start as soon as possible
Project Area – selected parishes on the Manhood Peninsula

The closing date: Wednesday 23rd January 2019

Project Outline

This project, which is funded by the Postcode Local Trust, is to encourage people from across the Manhood Peninsula to participate in wildlife conservation activities and to help them set up groups to manage local sites, which have value for wildlife. Support will be provided through training in practical conservation techniques, Health & Safety, habitat and species surveying and by providing a pool of tools and equipment.

Supporting and empowering local communities to take ownership of their environment, we believe, is a sustainable model for managing local wildlife sites.

Role Description

The Community Conservation Officer will recruit, induct and mentor local people and help establish community groups to run conservation activities, in order to care for selected wildlife sites. They will organise and lead working parties and training events, create volunteer focused training materials and promote Health and Safety. Additionally, they will create publicity and promote and publicise the work of the Manhood Wildlife & Heritage Group generally.

We are looking for people who ideally have the following:

  • Experience of recruiting and supporting volunteers
  • Experience of organising and leading volunteers in practical conservation tasks
  • Experience of giving talks and presentations
  • Knowledge of the project area – ie. local knowledge
  • Good organisational skills generally
  • The ability to communicate effectively both in writing and verbally
  • Understanding of the H&S requirements of running volunteer work days and knowledge of how to carry out risk assessments
  • A general knowledge of how to create and enhance wildlife habitats

Apply for the role of Community Conservation Officer via environmentjob.co.uk or the form below. Include a cover letter and your CV.

Job Vacancy Now Closed to Applications

Haydons Pond Story

December 20th, 2018 by Nikki

FLOW Project leader, Jane, talks us through a photo diary of changes made to Haydons Pond, in Almodington.

This relic pond was identified for improvement during the ditch surveys of Earnley parish. This thick willow copse hid an old dried up pond that could be seen on 1846 tithe maps and which can help to create, with management, wetland habitat for wildlife. Before any work took place, the site was surveyed for water voles and bats. Trees were marked where they had bat features, and these will be left or only gently lifted, avoiding any holes, cracks or splits.

21 November 2018

This relic pond was covered in large mature willow that had fallen and regrown and has bramble growing all through it. These were the plant species that dominated. There are mature oaks to one side of the pond that will be left. The area to the side of the pond was cleared so that the tree surgeons will have somewhere to park and work from.

This relic pond was covered in large mature willow that had fallen and regrown and has bramble growing all through it. These were the plant species that dominated. There are mature oaks to one side of the pond that will be left. The area to the side of the pond was cleared so that the tree surgeons will have somewhere to park and work from.

4-7 December 2018

Tree surgeons went in and took out some of the mature willows and lowered the height of some of those remaining. They targeted the willows hanging over the road and a couple in the pond itself. A fringe of blackthorn was kept along the front as a margin and a couple of stands of hazel were left at the back. The pond is now full of water therefore will not be dug out until it dries out again.

Tree surgeons went in and took out some of the mature willows and lowered the height of some of those remaining. They targeted the willows hanging over the road and a couple in the pond itself. A fringe of blackthorn was kept along the front as a margin and a couple of stands of hazel were left at the back. The pond is now full of water therefore will not be dug out until it dries out again.

12 December 2018

Picked up all the debris and dead wood left on site by the tree surgeons, raked up the debris out of the water and had a fire to get rid of some of the brash. Created a line of dead material ready to rot down and provide a good basis for a new hedge. Tidied up and build up the dead hedge adjacent to the site

Picked up all the debris and dead wood left on site by the tree surgeons, raked up the debris out of the
water and had a fire to get rid of some of the brash. Created a line of dead material ready to rot down and
provide a good basis for a new hedge. Tidied up and built up the dead hedge adjacent to the site.

Work for 2019

A contractor will be engaged to dig out this pond and to create some deep areas where water will be held for longer. This site will be monitored to keep an eye on water levels and where possible wetland plants will be added to increase the range of species colonising this site. Species surveys over the spring and summer will also be carried out and once the digging work is done, coir rolls will also be installed.


Post by Jane Reeve

Autumn/ Winter Newsletter 2018

December 20th, 2018 by Nikki

Read our new Autumn Winter Newsletter, packed with updates from our projects and stories from our members. Leader of the East Beach Pond Group, Dave, recounts this years difficulties of balancing flood prevention around the pond, whilst conserving areas with important wildflower species. Sarah Hughes gives us her big, bi-annual update for Against Litter and Green Dog Walkers, among other campaigns. This publication also includes local Heritage news, an introduction to our new Communications and Engagement Officer, photos from our 20th Anniversary event and more!

See all Newsletters.

Cakeham Manor Story

December 17th, 2018 by Nikki

FLOW Project leader, Jane, talks us through a photo diary of changes made to Cakeham Manor, in West Wittering.

 

The work we are carrying out are the actions that the European Beaver would have carried out in previous centuries on the landscape. Cutting back trees, repurposing them, slowing down water, deepening waterways and widening them, creating open places for new plants to grow, removing vegetation and allowing water to pool. They are much more efficient and subtler than we are about it and their work has shaped our landscape in the past.

This relic stream / ditch and wetland area was identified for improvement during the ditch surveys of West Wittering parish. A dense area of bramble and willow dominated the site with large standards of sycamore which completed overshadowed the waterway. It was felt that this site was a major opportunity for improvement.

12 January 2017

The site was very overgrown with willow, bramble and invasive species introduced by adjacent residents – bamboo and leylandii.

The site was very overgrown with willow, bramble and invasive species introduced by adjacent residents – bamboo and leylandii.

20 January 2017

Volunteers cut back willow over the stream to get rid of shading, created paths to get further into the site and kept the dead material for dead hedging.

Volunteers cut back willow over the stream to get rid of shading, created paths to get further into the site and kept the dead material for dead hedging.

10 February 2017

Volunteers hammered in stakes ready to create a dead hedge and continued to open up the area by removing willow, sycamore saplings and bramble.

Volunteers hammered in stakes ready to create a dead hedge and continued to open up the area by removing willow, sycamore saplings and bramble.

24 February 2017

Continued with the staking, dead hedge creation and removal of invasive species.

21 April 2017

Planted some ferns along the open area of the hedge and along the waters edge where it is going to remain shadier.

Planted some ferns along the open area of the hedge and along the waters edge where it is going to remain shadier.

16 June 2017

Reptile tins put down and species surveying - butterfly, reptile and bird.

Reptile tins put down and species surveying – butterfly, reptile and bird.

26 October 2017

Volunteer cut back fallen trees and talked some of the overgrown vegetation to expose the dead hedge and to remove bramble from the trees.

Volunteers cut back fallen trees and some of the overgrown vegetation to expose the dead hedge and to remove bramble from the trees.

28 October 2017

Work session to continue cutting back willow and sycamore and to push further into the site.

Work session to continue cutting back willow and sycamore and to push further into the site.

17 November 2017

Large log piles created where tree surgeons had worked. Vegetation clearing continued.

Large log piles created where tree surgeons had worked. Vegetation clearing continued.

08 December 2017

Continuation of the dead hedge and vegetation clearing

Continuation of the dead hedge and vegetation clearing

14 December 2017

Digger contractor came in and dug out the stream bed to reove the silt and increase the depth.

Digger contractor came in and dug out the stream bed to remove the silt and increase the depth.

14 February 2018

Wildflower plugs, wetland and shade plants, and seeds planted

Wildflower plugs, wetland and shade plants, and seeds planted

02 March 2018

Stakes and binders put in next to a dead hedge along the pavement fence line to protect the site from litter. New hedge trees also planted to add a mix of species.

Stakes and binders put in next to a dead hedge along the pavement fence line to protect the site from litter. New hedge trees also planted to add a mix of species.

22 March 2018

Coir rolls put on site and wetland plants added to improve biodiversity.

Coir rolls put on site and wetland plants added to improve biodiversity.

21 April 2018

Sycamore seedlings pulled up to prevent their invasion of the site.

Sycamore seedlings pulled up to prevent their invasion of the site.

July 2018

Summer growth with floral species making the most of the increased light.

Summer growth with floral species making the most of the increased light.

10 October 2018

The start of work to just open up the stream again and remove fallen tree branches and to push further along the channel. Water vole seen where never previously recorded

The start of work to just open up the stream again and remove fallen tree branches and to push further along the channel.
Water vole seen where never previously recorded

13 October 2018

Work on the far bank to open up the new hedge area, clear litter, let light onto the banks by the stream and to remove some of the covering bramble.

Work on the far bank to open up the new hedge area, clear litter, let light onto the banks by the stream and to remove some of the covering bramble.

28 October 2018

Opened up the dead hedge and added fresh material. Ensured the new trees had the brambles removed from them and that the water channel remains open.

Opened up the dead hedge and added fresh material. Ensured the new trees had the brambles removed from them and that the water channel remains open.

13 November 2018

Site looking lush and the water running well.

Site looking lush and the water running well.

26 November 2018

Pendulous sedges are starting to spread across the site and provide good bank cover for water voles as well as securing them.

Pendulous sedges are starting to spread across the site and provide good bank cover for water voles as well as securing them.

Work for 2019

We will push into the last sector of the waterway to open it up and add more wetland and shade loving plants.


Post by Jane Reeve

Selsey Parish Information Session December 6th

December 4th, 2018 by Nikki

The Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands team
invite you to join us for our Selsey Parish Information Session

 

Find out what we are doing in the Parish and why we are surveying
ditches and hedges across the Manhood Peninsula

Enjoy a short presentation about the FLOW project

Look at what we have found in other parishes

Find out how you can get involved

 

Thursday 6th December 2018

6.30pm – 8.00pm

Selsey Town Hall, Main Hall, Selsey

Refreshments provided

 

FLOW is a Heritage Lottery Funded project to carry out a
condition assessment of the wetland network on the Manhood
Peninsula and develop a costed management plan to facilitate
its improvement both for people and for wildlife.

Tile Barn Lane Story

December 4th, 2018 by Nikki

This relic ditch was identified for improvement during the ditch surveys of East Wittering and Bracklesham parish. This ditch was very overgrown with willows but also had mature oaks and some hazel, hawthorn and blackthorn along its far banks. The ditch itself was large but very shallow and dark with no wetland vegetation present. There had been significant flooding in the road in 2012 / 2013 and we identified potential for this ditch to hold more water and also be opened up so that a greater range of plants would colonise the banks.

Our wetland management work is carried out by our FLOW Project. Read about the FLOW project or see our next work date for this site on our calendar.

 

02 February 2018

Ditch checked for water voles and other species. Identified key trees to protect and areas where deepening would be beneficial.

Ditch checked for water voles and other species. Identified key trees to protect and areas where deepening would be beneficial.

10 February 2018

Stakes and binders were brought onsite and dead and cut material used to create a dead hedge

Stakes and binders were brought onsite and dead / cut material used to create a dead hedge

28 February 2018

Trees cut on the verge side of the bank to get light onto the ditch area. Removal of willow and overhanging branches.

Trees cut on the verge side of the bank to get light onto the ditch area. Removal of willow and overhanging branches.

23 March 2018

Hedge planting of mixed native trees, with rabbit guards and stakes. Dead hedging continued to provide a barrier from the wind.

Hedge planting of mixed native trees, with rabbit guards and stakes. Dead hedging continued to provide a barrier from the wind.

19 April 2018

Species survey to see how the ditch has reacted to the increase in light and the removal of some trees. water seen has an algal bloom on it.

Species survey to see how the ditch has reacted to the increase in light and the removal of some trees. water seen has an algal bloom on it.

17 October 2018

Bramble cutting and undergrowth clearing of the ditch channel to open it up and to get light onto the ditch channel. A fire was set in the base of the ditch to get rid of the small debris and some of the willow growth.

Bramble cutting and undergrowth clearing of the ditch channel to open it up and to get light onto the ditch channel. A fire was set in the base of the ditch to get rid of the small debris and some of the willow growth.

19 October 2018

Bramble cutting and undergrowth clearing of the ditch channel to open it up and to get light onto the ditch channel. A fire was set in the base of the ditch to get rid of the small debris and some of the willow growth.

Tree cutting and clearance to continue the recovery of this large relic ditch

14 November 2018

A contractor has been brought in to dig out this ditch and to create some deep areas where water will be held for longer.

Work for 2019

During early 2019, this site will have dry coir rolls installed and these will be planted with a range of wetland plant species. The water levels will be monitored to see if any further digging or management is required and over the spring and summer species surveying will be continued.

Become a FLOW volunteer or see our next work date for this site on our calendar.


Post by Jane Reeve

Spinney Pond Story

October 23rd, 2018 by Nikki

FLOW Project Leader Jane takes us through the wetland improvements made at Spinney Pond, Bracklesham.

November 2016

This pond was identified during the ditch surveying work of Bracklesham Parish in 2016. We could see on tihe maps that there had been a significant pond here and the area is a flooding hot spot, so we thought it had potential for improvement.

September 2017

A BioBlitz was carried out here to check that there were not any important species that we may have overlooked when carrying out the ditch surveys. None were found, and we were aware how few plant species there were as it was so dark.

20 October 2017

Work with volunteers took place to open up the site, removing brambles, deadwood, nettles and dumped rubbish. We had a bonfire and piled up the dead material to create a dead hedge on the roadside of the pond to act as a barrier.

26 October 2017

The leaning willows can clearly be seen now, and each willow could be graded for its bat potential.

26 February 2018

Willow were surveyed and the trees with bat potential identified. Stephen Bacon, tree surgeon, was brought in to fell the willows.

28 February 2018

This pond took three days to clear of the willows and the wood was cut and stacked onsite as habitat for invertebrates and birds.

19 April 2018

Theft of wood from the site necessitated a temporary fence going up but the metal rods from this fence were then stolen.

04 October 2018

The willow had grown up and it was difficult to see the outline of the pond. The site was dug out by a contractor for deeper areas and a bund put in to hold water during high rainfall, but also to allow the water to flow into the neighbouring rife.

08 October 2018

Some areas of the pond were sealed with clay so that the water could sit in it.

20 October 2018

The one year’s growth of willow was cut away and the willow debris was removed from the pond and piled up on old logs so that it does not regrow.

Spring 2019

The next stage of this pond’s story will be to remove the large willow stumps that keep re-growing. We may have to poison and cover the stumps but in the long run we will leave the dead wood in-situ as a habitat.

We will monitor the pond throughout the winter to see how the water is stored and whether any adjustments need to be made to the bank profiles. We hope to add wetland plants to make this an attractive wetland feature – joined to the water vole habitat of the rife that runs along Bookers Lane.


Post by Jane Reeve

Shortlisted for the National Biodiversity Network Award

October 23rd, 2018 by Nikki

Volunteers looking at small mammals at a BioBlitz with FLOW Team Jane Reeve (far right, foreground) and Chris Drake (far left, foreground).

Volunteers at a BioBlitz event with FLOW Team Jane Reeve (right, foreground) and Chris Drake (left, foreground).

The Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group (MWHG) has been selected in the shortlist for the National Biodiversity Network’s (NBN) Lynne Farrell Group Award, for wildlife recording!

Our charity surveys wildlife on the Manhood Peninsula regularly, as we believe that recording our environment and openly sharing this information on a local and national level, is vital to creating a successful conservation strategy.

FLOW Project Leader Jane Reeve, who hosts many surveying events, praised our volunteer’s efforts, “Thank you to everyone who inputs their biological records and adds to the body of data about this area – so important on lots of levels”. The NBN also asked Jane about the importance of wildlife recording and this interview can be read on their website here.

On November 21st there will be an awards ceremony where the MWHG will be up against three other organizations for the main prize in the Lynne Farrell Group Award category.

If you would like to help us collect as much information about the Peninsula as possible, you can download a species recording sheet or upload your wildlife photos and sightings, through our website here. This data is uploaded to iRecord, on your behalf.

FLOW E-Bulletin October 2018

October 12th, 2018 by Nikki

We are now halfway through the FLOW Project and this is a short summary of what we have achieved since October 2016, the start of the Delivery phase.

FLOW – Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands

Read the pdf version of this e-bulletin

This Heritage Lottery Funded Project is focused on assessing the many ditches and waterways on the Manhood Peninsula to see how this network of wetland habitat is linked, identify areas of improvement for drainage and habitat improvement, and to highlight the benefits of well-managed ditches for people and wildlife.

During our physical improvement and habitat and species survey work we have always provided refreshments for volunteers and during 255 of these sessions approximately 450 cakes were consumed!!

Physical Improvement Work

Overgrown Before

After

Number of work sites where physical work has taken place: 42

Number of habitat improvement work sessions: 91

Area improved: 27500m²

Overgrown Before

After

We have worked with 24 landowners to deliver drainage and habitat improvements

163 km of ditches (820 ditches) walked across 4 parishes

30 kilometres of hedgerows surveyed

Grants

Money gained in extra grants: £26,326

Money gained via applications for other flood groups: £23,687

Money gained in non-cash contributions: £12,358.95

Species Recording

Number of species / habitat surveying sessions 147

Mink monitoring visits 203

2403 Species records submitted through iRecord to the Biodiversity Records Centre

24 Community events attended

20 Presentations to different audiences

17 Volunteer training sessions held

Thank you to all our volunteers who have participated in the FLOW project and pushed it forward through a variety of tasks: walking ditches; helping with physical improvement work; getting involved in species and habitat surveying; learning to create maps through GIS and generally offering enthusiasm, energy and good cheer at all times.

Read more about this project and see how you can get involved, too.

Results of the Great British Beach Clean, Selsey

October 5th, 2018 by Nikki

Volunteers picking litter, East Beach ©Nicola Timney

Volunteers picking litter, East Beach ©Nicola Timney

 

Currently an issue firmly in the public eye, the infiltration of micro-plastics into our ecosystem and the wide-reaching consequences caused by waste from our shores, are a constant reminder of the need to stop littering. This year marks the 25th anniversary that the Marine Conservation Society has highlighted the importance of keeping our sea-side litter free, through the annual Great British Beach Clean.

 

In September, as part of the weekend of litter picking events and in tandem with Chichester District Council’s new Against Litter campaign, Community Wildlife Officer Sarah Hughes organised a clean of the popular East beach, in Selsey. Over forty volunteers attended the session on Saturday 15th, with a trio even travelling to us from Surrey, after spotting our event on the beach clean list! Small groups were each allocated a 10 metre stretch of the beach to clean, with a total of 200 metres of sea-side covered on the day. Participants were also given a survey to complete throughout the task, to record the types of rubbish being collected.

 

Volunteers Jonny, Chloe and Paige from Surrey ©Nicola Timney

Volunteers Jonny, Chloe and Paige from Surrey ©Nicola Timney

 

Surveying is a key aspect of the Great British Beach Clean, because this data is used to influence changes in legislation for the most frequently found types of litter. To date, the micro-bead ban and taxes on single-use bags have been successfully implemented thanks to data contributed by beach cleans. Our volunteers were diligent, picking up fiddley pieces of rubbish, consisting of broken plastic pieces, a few centimetres or less in size, along with a high number of cigarette stubs, which contain hidden plastic themselves. More unusual items found included a metal pole and clipboard clamp, both brought back to shore by the Mulberry Divers taking part in the clean, and fishing hooks hidden amongst the shingle.

 

East Beach is maintained fairly consistently, and some volunteers noted on arrival that the beach seemed well kept. In fact two litter picks had already taken place within the weeks prior and throughout the day of our clean many visitors at the beach expressed that they make litter collecting a regular part of their walks along the coastline. Despite expectations of a low yield, 32.25 kilograms of litter were found by the end of the two-hour session.

 

A summary of our findings is shown below:

Common Items:

 

Cigarette stubs: 194

Plastic pieces <2.5cm: 112

Plastic pieces >2.5cm <50cm : 88

Fishing paraphernalia: 77 items

Plastic and metal caps/ lids: 74

Plastic rope pieces: 68

Plastic and foil food wrappers/ packets: 65

Plastic cutlery / straws: 46

Pieces of glass: 43

Bagged dog faeces: 36

Metal scraps, barbed wire and mesh pieces: 31

Wooden lolly sticks/ chip forks: 30

Cable ties: 13

Plastic shopping bags: 10

Plastic pieces >50cm: 7

Weather and tidal factors will affect the amount of litter dropped or washed up onto a beach every day and our results have shown that even with regular beach cleans, litter is an ever-present fixture of the British coastline for the foreseeable future. To improve the state of our beaches and the ocean, we must use our discovered data to push for the prevention of litter being created in the first instance.

 

Thanks go to the Selsey & District Lions Club, who provided our volunteers with a BBQ to celebrate their fantastic efforts whilst the results of our Great British Beach Clean were contemplated.

 

Community Wildlife Officer, Sarah Hughes [2nd from left] with the Selsey & District Lions Club ©Nicola Timney

 

 

Details on how to collect data on litter and organize your own beach clean can be found on the Marine Conservation Society’s Website.

 


Post by Nikki

Take Part in the Selsey Great British Beach Clean

September 7th, 2018 by Nikki

Pick up a free Against Litter campaign bottle at the event!

 

Get involved in the Great British Beach Clean Saturday 15th September, where we will be working with the Mulberry Divers to clear Selsey beach and the surrounding area of loose litter, from 12pm to 2pm, followed by a free BBQ to thank volunteers, generously provided by the Selsey & District Lions Club!

Community Wildlife Officer, Sarah Hughes, will lead the day as part of Chichester District Council’s Against Litter campaign. The campaign supports local volunteers who regularly clear plastic and other waste which can be harmful to wildlife, from the local area, keeping the district clean and safe for people to enjoy!

We will provide all equipment and training on the day – just wear comfortable shoes and join us at the East Beach green, adjacent to East Beach Car Park, Beach Road, Selsey, PO20 0SZ, to take part.

For more information, get in touch with Sarah at shughes@chichester.gov.uk or call 07765175494.

The Selsey Photo Archive Project

September 4th, 2018 by Nikki

Selsey Lifeboat Crew, 1930's.

Selsey Lifeboat Crew, 1930’s.

Selsey Town Council wins National Lottery support for new Selsey Photo Archive Project.

 

Selsey Town Council has received a National Lottery grant of £9,900 for an exciting heritage project to preserve and make accessible a significant collection of photographs, which document Selsey’s history. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project will focus on creating a dedicated website as an invaluable photographic resource for everyone.

 

Supported through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the project will bring together volunteers from the community with members of the Manhood Wildlife & Heritage Group, former members of Selsey Society, Selsey Town Council and expert staff from the West Sussex Record Office to catalogue the images, scan the best and create a website. Full training for volunteers will be provided by the Records Office staff.

 

The Selsey Society, which dissolved in 2015, collected a wide-ranging collection of 4000 photographs, postcards and other artefacts. The collection has images dating from the 19th century to the present day and covers significant topics unique to Selsey and rare in Sussex, such as lifeboats, coastal erosion, fishing industry, railway carriage homes, the Selsey Tram light railway, caravan and holiday parks. All parts of the town are covered. The collection, for its safe-keeping, is to be transferred to the West Sussex Record Office in Chichester. This project aims to ensure it is easily available for local people to use while also ensuring the long-term preservation of the originals.

 

Commenting on the award, Cllr Mike Beal, Chairman of Selsey Town Council said, “We are delighted that this worthwhile project can go forward thanks to National Lottery players, meaning that all these important visual images of Selsey’s past will be available to the town’s current and future residents for years to come.”

 

Anyone who is interested in volunteering for this fascinating and rewarding project should contact Selsey Town Council on 01243 605803 or email: enquries@selseytowncouncil.gov.uk or email the Project Co-ordinator at chairmt@mwhg.org.uk

MWHG Photo Competition: Our Winners!

August 30th, 2018 by Nikki

Our five judges convened on the 15th August to decide on the winners of our 20th Anniversary Photo Competition. We were hoping that, in holding the competition, people would go out and capture images that would help us celebrate the wonderful wildlife, landscape and heritage of the Manhood Peninsula- we were not disappointed. In the end we had a very good response to our competition, so thank you to all who entered, and the judges had some very worthy images to choose between.

The judges were asked to select a winner for each of the four categories (wildlife, landscape, heritage and an under-16 category entitled ‘my local nature’), along with an overall winner across all the categories. We are delighted to reveal the winning photos and name our Top 20 Photos list, here. We will be displaying the top 20 photos, including the winners, at local venues over the coming months. Well done to all our winners for helping to show what a beautiful and diverse place our local Peninsula can be.

 

Winner of Landscape Category and Overall Winner

“Sunset over East Head” by Heather Brooks

“Sunset over East Head” by Heather Brooks

 

As her reason for choosing this picture to submit, our winning photographer Heather comments “My 2x great grandfather, Nathaniel Moore was born in 1837 in a cottage located on Snowhill, the remains of which are still visible today. This is practically the same view he would have seen growing up with his family nearly two hundred years ago”.

The judges commented that Heather’s photo was “beautifully executed and a lovely picture”.

 

Wildlife Category Winner

“Little Egret fishing on a crisp December morning” by Mary Patterson

“Little Egret fishing on a crisp December morning” by Mary Patterson

 

Commenting on her picture, Mary says “As an amateur wildlife photographer, I usually take my best photos in my local areas. I wanted to show some colour and behaviour of the bird that would draw the viewer into the scene. Little egrets are elegant birds and ever so sharp with their eyes to spot a fish. I felt this photo showed all the elements for an engaging contest entry.”

The judges said that Mary’s photo had “good colour and exudes peace and tranquillity” and also that the image shows a “Little Egret doing what it does best”.

 

Heritage Category Winner

“Rescue Sight” by Gemma Hinton

“Rescue Sight” by Gemma Hinton

 

Heritage winner Gemma comments, “The reason I chose it is because for me it captures the temporary nature of our coastal heritage – how something like the Lifeboat Station that you grow used to seeing every day can disappear and the whole line of the coast is altered. It also captures a mix of what has formed the heritage of Selsey – the RNLI, the lobster pots symbolising the seafood trade and the old rusty machinery reminding us of the many fishing boats that leave and return to the shores, unnoticed by many, in the early hours, as regular as the sunrise. All of these things also represent man made things used to manage our relationship with the ocean and the lines in the picture remind me of how we try to impose order on an uncontrollable force of nature as the Lifeboat Station stands as a stark warning on the horizon.”

The judges thought that Gemma’s photograph “captures Selsey in a single image”.

 

Under 16 ‘My Local Nature’ Category Winner

“Black Sea Bream” by Sophie Reeve-Foster

“Black Sea Bream” by Sophie Reeve-Foster

 

Sophie reflects on her photo, “this endangered species surprised us while we were scuba diving off selsey coast”.

The judges commented that it was “nice to see an underwater shot”, so thanks to Sophie for reminding us of the important wildlife that lies just offshore, but which is an important part of the environment of our Peninsula.

 

Well done to the following entrants, who complete our Top 20 Photos list. Keep an eye on our website, Facebook and Twitter to see these photos and be notified of upcoming exhibitions, where they will be on display!

 

Heritage Entries

Richard Broadhurst “Pagham Lagoon, February”
Lesley Bromley “St. Mary Sidlesham”

 

Wildlife Entries

Valerie Gatehouse “Orange Tip”
Lesley Bromley “Grey Seal”
Gemma Hinton “Lithe Lizard”
Gordon Richards “Sparowhawk”
Jessica Head “Grey Squirrel in My Garden”
Gavin Langley “Black Swan and Cygnets”
Sue Owen “Mother and Baby Ducks”

 

Landscape Entries

William Brooks “Farmland”
Jocelyn Coates “The Severals”
Richard Broadhurst “North Wall Pagham, February”
Beverley Inscoe “Selsey Bird Perch”
Meryn Woodland “Medmerry”
Jessica Head “West Wittering Beach”
Carole Bath “Another World”

 

Many thanks to our judges, Brian Henham, Ruth Mariner, Roy Newnham, Peter White and Veronica Wilkes, who volunteered their time to decide our winners and Top 20 photos, you did a great job!


Post by Rebecca

Job Opportunity: FLOW Communications and Engagement Officer

August 30th, 2018 by Nikki

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

 

£22,500 pa
pro rata for 2 days a week
Fixed Term contract to the end of December 2020

 
Based: Selsey office/home-working
Closing date: Friday 21st September
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 below for a full job description and an application form.

 

View Job Description

 
Download Application Form

 

FLOW E-Bulletin July 2018

August 3rd, 2018 by Nikki

We have been very busy with surveying over the Spring and Summer – looking at ditches and hedges in Sidlesham and recording lots of species at different sites across the area. It is always fun to explore a new location and to see what we find.

This Heritage Lottery Funded Project is focused on assessing the many ditches and waterways on the Manhood Peninsula to see how this network of wetland habitat is linked, identify areas of improvement for drainage and habitat improvement, and to highlight the benefits of well-managed ditches for people and wildlife.

 

 

 

FLOW – Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands

This Heritage Lottery Funded Project is focused on assessing the many ditches and waterways on the Manhood Peninsula to see how this network of wetland habitat is linked, identify areas of improvement for drainage and habitat improvement, and to highlight the benefits of well-managed ditches for people and wildlife.

 

Welcome to our July 2018 e-bulletin

 

Read the pdf version of this e-bulletin

This is our second edition of the FLOW e-bulletin in 2018 and it will up-date you on progress of the project. If you don’t already, you can keep in the loop by checking the blog and by following us on Facebook and Twitter, where we regularly announce events and post pictures of our surveys and work parties in action.

 

Thanks

A big THANK YOU to some particularly hard-working volunteers who have marched their way across Sidlesham Parish, collecting data about ditches and hedges. Also, thanks to Sarah Hughes at CDC who had helped with a couple of council related issues.

 

What have the FLOW team been up to?

It’s been a busy few months as FLOW staff and volunteers have tackled ditch surveys and conservation tasks across Sidlesham Parish. Due to this fantastic effort, the Sidlesham phase of the project is nearing completion. The surveys we carry out enable us to identify the opportunities for habitat improvement over the coming winter and also monitor progress on sites we have already worked on.

 

Welcome to our new FLOW volunteers. We would also like to thank the students and staff members from Seaford College who helped out tree tagging at West Itchenor Pond.

 

During the Spring and Summer there is a group of volunteers that works hard to carry out moth trapping every Saturday morning at sites across the peninsula. This is in part a response to an ecological consultant in 2011 at a Public Inquiry that called the MP a wildlife desert. So, we have made it our mission to get species records for every grid square on the peninsula – if you want a moth trap set up in your garden = let us know! Rosy Footman (Miltochrista miniata) brilliant photo by Brian Henham

Manor Green Park BioBlitz We carried out a BioBlitz at Manor Green Park in Selsey in June, supported by the Sussex Biodiversity Records Centre who delivered iRecord training for us. We surveyed plants, butterflies, moths, other insects, reptiles, birds and mammals. We had a great day engaging with local residents, MWHG volunteers, RSPB volunteers, and the local nursery onsite who came to look at the moths. We recorded 110 species.

 

Statistics for Sidlesham

Number of Fieldwork days 90+
Volunteers that have helped out Again, we have had great help from Ian, Max,
Sian, Chris B and Alex.
Length of ditches surveyed 15+miles
Approximate % ditch coverage of the parish 90%
How many ditches surveyed by volunteers? 500+
Number of hedgerows surveyed 100+
Length of hedgerows surveyed 9000+ metres (5.6miles)
Number of landowner’s land surveyed 34
Number of Ash tree records to date 100+

 

Species Surveying

Field Officer Chris Drake reports on FLOW’s Species Surveying 2017/18

 

2017 Survey Results

In 2017 we surveyed four sites to find a representation of base line of data. This will help us determine how we do our habitat improvement work in the winter. Our 4 sites are Hilton Business Park, Cakeham Manor, Hale Farm and West Itchenor during May, June, July, August. The weather conditions during the survey period were sometimes challenging, wind and cool temperatures have not favoured the surveying. Here are some of the results from last year.

West Itchenor Number Of Survey Days Number and name of species recorded Total Species
Butterflies 8 23 Speckled Wood, 18 Meadow Brown, 4 Red Admiral, 2
Comma, 4 Large White, 7 Small White, 6 Green-Veined, 1
Painted Lady and 3 Gate Keeper.
68
Birds 5 32 Black Bird, 6 Black Cap, 2 Black Headed Gull, 19 Blue
Tit, 8 Great Tit, 2 Green Finch, 5 Buzzard, 11 Carrion Crow,
8 Chiff Chaff, 7 Chaffinch, 7 Collard Dove, 9 Dunnock, 3
Gold Crest, 15 Gold Finch, 1 Great Spotted Wood Pecker,
4 Green Wood Pecker, 5 Jack Daw, 2 Kestral, 3 Long
Tailed Tit, 5 Magpie, 2 Moorhen 9 Robin, 5 Song Thrush,
10 House Sparrow, 4 Swallow, 21 Wren, 20 House Martin,
1 Tree Creeper, 1 Nut Hutch, 1 Mallard, 1 Pheasant, and
1Skylark
230
Reptiles/ Amphibians 6 15 Common Frog (Young) 15
Mammals 6 2 Field Vole (Adult) 2
Bats 6 Common Pipistrelle Bat 6 passes, Soprano Pipistrelle 15
passes
21 passes

Summary

The West Itchenor site is known for its good population of Speckled Wood Butterfly. In winter 2016/17 MWHG and the local group opened small sections of woodland. This really helps this species flourish through a mixture of shade and sun across the site.

This is home to a good population of Wood Peckers. Both green’s and Great Spots seem to take refuge in the area’s of standing dead wood. MWHG and the local group have made sure that these trees are left standing. During the summer period we deployed 3 reptile tins to attract Amphibian and Reptiles. Small common frogs and Field Voles have been recorded during 2017. No Grass Snakes or Newts to date. We have also been recording the bat activity around the site. Common Pipistrelle, Soprano Pipistrelle and been recorded on 2 surveys. Most of the bats where recorded over the water.

Species Surveying 2018 so far

May, June, July 2018 our staff and volunteers have been working hard surveying on a large number of sites. Cakeham Manor, West Itchenor, Tile Barn Lane, Hale Farm, Hilton Business Park, Hunston Pond and Birdham Pond. Sunny warm conditions have made surveying fairly rewarding this year so far.

West Itchenor 

Amazingly this year we have recorded 67 butterflies, which contain 10 varied species. Speckled Wood, Large White, Small White, Red Admiral, Peacock, Comma, Gate Keeper, Meadow Brown, Green-Veined and Holly Blue. We think the increase in butterflies recorded over a brief period was down to the good weather and habitat suitability.

Equally we have conducted 1 bird survey and have recorded 48 birds which include 17 varied species. Chiff chaff, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Black Bird, Black Cap, Wren, Robin, Great Spotted Wood Pecker, Great Tit, Green Wood Pecker, Wren, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Jack Daw, House Martin and Kestrel.

We have also deployed reptile tins in a grassier location to try and locate Grass Snake. July this year a student from Seaford College found our 1st recorded Grass Snake for this site.

Recording Wildlife Species

It is extremely important that everyone records the wildlife that they see as this information is very valuable. Frequently we are told that a species does not live in an area or habitat as there are no records for it when in fact, no surveys have taken place or records submitted. The birds and insects that you see in your gardens or out and about on walks are all important to record – even those you think are common such as Starlings and House Sparrows. This data can be put on iRecord via the Sussex Biodiversity Records Centre website or the MWHG website. This information can then be used to ensure that habitats and sensitive species are taken into consideration during planning decisions.

Sidlesham Parish Information Session

There will be a short presentation about FLOW and the wildlife in the parish. Then there will be an opportunity to look at maps we have created of other parishes, and to collate information about Sidlesham that participants can offer.

Thursday, 9th August 2018 6:00pm – 8:00pm midday St Mary’s Church Hall, Church Farm Lane, Sidlesham

Next up, surveying in Selsey and Hunston Parishes….we need more help! As we come to the end of surveying in Sidlesham we are looking forward to Selsey and Hunston parishes. We would love some help so please keep an eye on our website calendar and social media for an updated work schedule. We are also looking at the winter physical work programme carry out improvements on many sites. Very exciting, lots of fun and lots of cake to eat!

Please email Jane jane@jssj.co.uk or Rebecca
hello@mwhg.org.uk if you would like to get involved.

 

Getting Involved – Current Opportunities

Fieldwork – We have lots of opportunities for volunteers to help with fieldwork – including hundreds of ditch assessments to do and would like to extend this work to pond dipping and botanical surveys. We also have fields and lanes full of hedgerows to note. Full training given.

Events and promotion – With the summer having started we are getting out there and engaging the public at village fetes and events. We’ll would love some volunteer support and so if you’re as proud of the work MWHG does as we are, then please contact Rebecca to discuss how you could help out.

Data input – we have not used any volunteers for this yet as have been ensuring that the spreadsheet is easy to update and can be used for GIS and mapping. For the next phase of the project we would be pleased to have help with this area, training will be given, and eventually we may be able to offer a place for volunteers to enter data.

Mink monitoring co-ordinator – Jane is looking for a volunteer to help collate mink data and input into spreadsheet. This valuable role will take no more than an hour per week so please don’t hesitate to contact Jane for a chat if you want to find out more.

Please do contact Jane or Rebecca if you would like to get involved in our work
jane@jssj.co.uk or hello@mwhg.org.uk

Grass Snake recorded by Seaford College Students at West Itchenor

Grass Snake recorded by Seaford College Students at West Itchenor

Please let us know what you think of our e-bulletin by emailing jane@jssj.co.uk

Selsey 1918 to 2018 – Fishing and Tourism Exhibition

July 21st, 2018 by Nikki
As part of Selsey Festival, we will be exhibiting historical pieces from 100 years of our local fishing and tourism industry, at the Selsey Town Council Exhibition Hall, from July 31st to August 10th.

 

Selsey Lifeboat Pier

Selsey Lifeboat Pier

Selsey Fishing Huts

Selsey Fishing Huts

 

Open everyday (except Sunday August 5th) from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm, the exhibition will show how modern technology has transformed the work of Selsey’s fisherman, alongside stories of the popular tourist attractions of the beach and surrounding area, including donkey rides, the railway carriages and Pontins holiday camp.

 

There are fun prizes to be won in our “snap and share your favourite exhibition” raffle and heritage quiz, so be sure to visit and enter!

 

Follow our Facebook and Twitter pages, to see updates from the exhibition.
 
Selsey Tourism Postcard

Selsey Tourism Postcard


The Selsey 1918 to 2018 Fishing and Tourism Exhibition has been curated by Dr Lesley Bromley

Spring/ Summer Newsletter Now Available

July 5th, 2018 by Nikki

Read about the FLOW Project’s progress, an interview with our newest Trustee and the celebration of 100 SWALKs, in the Spring/ Summer Newsletter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Health Risk Notice: Brown-tail Moth Prevalence

June 28th, 2018 by Nikki

Brown-tail tussock moth (Euproctis chrysorrhoea)

Brown-tail tussock moth (Euproctis chrysorrhoea)

Be aware that caterpillars of the Brown-tail moth are active in the area. These caterpillars may pose a risk to human health.

 

The caterpillars are dark brown in colour with a white stripe down both sides of the body. They have two raised orange/red tufts to the rear of their body and are covered in hairs. In July the adult female moth, which is white with a brown hairy abdomen, lays her eggs and protects them with hairs combed from her abdomen. In the spring these visible web-like tents can be seen on the host plants. The caterpillars feed on a wide range of plants which include Bramble, Dog rose and Blackthorn.

Brown-tail tussock moth caterpillars (Euproctis chrysorrhoea)

Brown-tail tussock moth caterpillars

 

The caterpillars are considered a risk to human health when the hairs, which are spiked and barbed, are shed and come into contact with exposed parts of the body. This may result in an irritating rash or if the hairs are inhaled can cause respiratory problems. Anyone suffering an allergic reaction as a result of coming into contact with these caterpillars should seek medical advice.

 

For advice on the control of the caterpillars and nests contact your local Environmental Health Officer.


Post by Dave Haldane

Blitzed! Over 100 Species Recorded at Manor Green Park

June 22nd, 2018 by Nikki

Last Wednesday MWHG staff and volunteers gathered at Manor Green Park, adjacent to the Selsey Centre, to discover and record the wildlife on this popular community site. A grand total of 109 species were recorded! A lot of work went in beforehand to plan the species recording, including setting moth traps in local gardens and positioning reptile tins and live mammal traps. Despite it being a weekday, we hoped that there would be interest from the public and visiting volunteers to come along a see what was happening, and we set up information displays outside the centre and a discovery trail around the site. A key draw for the day was the involvement of the Sussex Biological Records Centre (SBRC), who sent a representative down to help train volunteers and visitors on iRecord. Using iRecord is an important way to submit your records to a central database where they can be verified by experts. It’s a great way to track changes species distribution, record rarities and ensure that there is a bank of biological information available for sites to highlight their value.

RSPB volunteers browse the displays about MWHG’s work on the peninsula. ©R. O’Dowd

The day dawned still and sunny, perfect for species monitoring, and we kicked off the event by checking the moth traps with the help of RSPB Warden and moth expert Ivan Lang. In total, 22 moth species were recorded. Shortly afterwards, we had an influx of RSPB volunteers who took time out of their Wednesday work party to attend the event, and most of this group walked around the site with MWHG Field Office Chris Drake to check the reptile tins. Although only 1 reptile species was recorded- the slow worm- there were a good number of individuals found under the tins. Shortly after Chris checked the reptile tins, FLOW Project Manager Jane Reeve walked around the site with a small group to check to Longworth mammals traps, and those with her were lucky enough to see a wood mouse and short tailed field vole. Back at the centre, several of the RSPB volunteers also attended iRecord training and thanks are also due to RSPB warden Barry O’Dowd for bringing them along.

Jane releases a short tailed field vole from a Longworth trap. ©R. O’Dowd

FLOW Leader Jane identifies a short tailed field vole ©N.Timney

Lois from SBRC trains RSPB staff and volunteers on how to use iRecord. ©R.O’Dowd

As the day started to heat up, it was time to head into the patches of meadow and scour the hedgerows for invertebrates and we were lucky to have the expertise and enthusiasm of entomologist Dr Alison Barker. Thanks to Alison’s efforts, with help from Sarah Hughes, Chris Drake and Felicity McStea, 8 butterfly species were recorded, 9 species of hymenoptera (bees) and a further 13 species of invertebrate, including various true-bugs, crustaceans, molluscs, orthopterans (crickets and grasshoppers), a beetle and a dragonfly. The invertebrate highlight was an Essex Skipper (Butterfly) which has no previous Selsey record! In the meadows, Felicity and Sarah in particular, did a brilliant job in identifying 74 species of plant.

Small Magpie Moth from a live trap ©N.Timney

Although the midweek footfall was quiet in the park, we met some very enthusiastic locals and several parents stopped to take part in activities with their children, including barn owl pellet dissecting. Towards the end of the day, the adjacent nursery brought over three groups of children to look at the moths collected in our live traps. Overall it was a successful bioblitz, blessed by beautiful weather, during which we collected many valuable records to highlight the wildlife using the site, much of which is often hidden, but is all around us! Many thanks to MWHG staff and volunteers for all their efforts on the day.

We’ll be holding mini bioblitzes on 2nd and 3rd of July at two sites in Sidlesham and would welcome your help and enthusiasm. It’s a great opportunity to help us discover and appreciate our local wildlife and also brush up on your ID skills. If you’d like more information on joining either of these events please contact FLOW Project Leader Jane for more information at jane@jssj.co.uk.


Post by Rebecca O’Dowd

Eileen Savill Award for Young People 2018

June 10th, 2018 by Nikki

Last year’s Eileen Savill Award Winners Lilah and Mia

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 an 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 locally hand-crafted trophy and a prize chosen to support the winner’s activities. The presentation will take place in the autumn.

MWHG has been celebrating its 20th anniversary 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.

Deadline for entries is Friday 27th July


This award is now closed.

Contact details required for this competition are used solely to carry out administrative duties for the “Eileen Savill Award 2018” and will only be held for as long as necessary to provide this service. You may well be contacted for further details if the person/group you nominated is shortlisted for the award.

Event: Bio-Blitz at Manor Green Park 13th June

June 3rd, 2018 by Nikki

Sensory Garden at Manor Green Park

 

Come along to our Bio-Blitz event at Manor Green Park, The Selsey Centre, to discover your local wildlife!

On the 13th June, from 10am to 4pm, we will be hosting a range of activities to survey this interesting site. From the Sensory Garden to the rain garden, we will be recording and identifying as many species as possible, including reptiles, small mammals, birds, moths from our live trap and wildflowers.

Take our discovery trail, build a bird nest box, learn how to survey different species and bring home ideas to make your garden more wildlife friendly!

Our team will be joined by an expert from the Sussex Biological Records Centre,  providing iRecord training sessions. iRecord is a free online tool which allows individuals to report their wildlife sightings and contribute to a growing, central database to help conserve our environment.

Introduction to New Trustee Dr Lesley Bromley

May 24th, 2018 by Nikki

Dr Lesley Bromley has joined the MWHG as a Trustee this year. Lesley was born in the Midlands, in Wolverhampton, but has known the Manhood, and Selsey in particular, for the last 50 years. Initially her family came to Selsey on holiday, renting accommodation at Platten House, which stood in Clayton Road where Clayton Court now stands. After annual visits for 18 years, her Parents moved to Selsey in 1975, whilst she was studying Medicine in London. She spent more and more time in Selsey and as her Parents became older and needed more help, she spent most weekends in Sussex.

Trustee, Dr Lesley Bromley

The house her parents lived in became hers on the death of her mother in 2001, and she moved here full time but continued to work in London up to 2010.
She worked as a Consultant Anaesthetist at UCLH in London, with a special interest in Pain Management, and also developed an interest in Medical Education and was Director of Medical Education for the Trust for 10 years. Now in retirement she is still teaching, but she teaches doctors how to teach these days.

She has been a bird watcher for more than 30 years, greatly enjoys walking as a pastime and since being a Girl Guide, has enjoyed knowing about the creatures who live around us. She lives in a house with a particular history which is part of the heritage of Selsey and since living here has become more and more interested in the history of the Manhood, from St Wilfred to the present day. She attends church and sings in the choir in Sidlesham and after 50 years of being here she is starting to feel like a native!

Read more from Dr Bromley in our spring/ summer newsletter, coming soon!


Post by Dr Lesley Bromley

Let Nature Improve Your Garden

May 21st, 2018 by Nikki

Download our wildlife gardening leaflet to share these quick tips to make your garden wildlife friendly! You can also pick up a hard copy at Selsey, East Wittering and Chichester Libraries, as well as The Selsey Centre and Selsey Town Council.

Made in partnership with Transition Chichester, this leaflet is part of the wider Recreational Disturbance project, to conserve wildlife, from Chichester District Council.

Let Nature Improve Your Garden Leaflet Open PDF

 

 

A Team Effort to Tidy East Beach

May 16th, 2018 by Nikki

Wednesday 9th May was a stunning blue day at Selsey and perfect weather for a joint beach clean between the Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group (MWHG) and Nature’s Way foods. The MWHG are based in Selsey and have an active volunteer group based at East Beach Pond. The MWHG were approached by Nature’s Way to see if we could team up their staff with our volunteers to do a litter pick at East Beach. The timing of the clean was important, because it was just after the busy bank holiday weekend, when there may have been more rubbish left than usual, and also before the main tourist season, by which time it would be good to have the beach and its surroundings looking tip top. The clean also coincides with Chichester District Council’s (CDC) recently launched ‘Against Litter’ campaign, and CDC kindly lent us some litter-picking kits, including litter pickers, hoops and bags.

 

MWHG volunteers and Nature’s Way staff busy clearing litter below the seawall. ©Nicola Timney

 

On the afternoon of the clean, 15 people turned up to help, including staff from Nature’s Way and staff and volunteers from the MWHG. The staff from Nature’s Way certainly seemed to appreciate the chance to get out of the office on such a glorious afternoon, with the added bonus of giving back something to the local community. It was also great to have the support of some of the regular volunteers from the MWHG East Beach group. After ensuring everyone was briefed on safety and supplied with the right kit, volunteers were allocated different areas to work on and set off in pairs. The focus for the clean was approximately the 200m of beach in front of and either side of the East Beach car park and the surroundings of the car park itself, including the greens. Overall it was good to see that there was not a huge amount of litter left on the beach or the greens, the worst area was below the seawall on the landward side, where litter is dropped from above and collects from the wind. Most of the litter found was waste plastic, including food wrappers, bottle and bottle caps. After a good two hours of work, 8 bags of litter had been collected and were left by the bins for CDC to take away.

 

The team. Hopefully we’ll join forces again soon to tackle more litter! ©Nicola Timney

 

Over refreshments of juice, biscuits and strawberries, the team could feel well pleased that they had a made a difference and there was even talk of making a joint litter pick between Nature’s Way and MWHG a regular thing! Many thanks to all the volunteers and staff who turned up, and in particular thanks to Hannah Lambourne from Nature’s Way, for helping to organise the clean and providing the refreshments. Thanks also to Community Wildlife Officer, Sarah Hughes, for helping to arrange the litter picking kits from CDC.

 


Post by Rebecca

The New Volunteer Welcome Pack has Landed!

March 29th, 2018 by Nikki

Earlier this week, the new volunteer welcome pack finally rolled out of Selsey Press. As Communications Officer, the design and production of this pack has been one of the key projects during my first 6 months in post. The rationale behind the pack is to provide volunteers with a background to the MWHG as an organisation, along with information on where we work and the volunteering opportunities available. In the early stages of developing the pack, I spoke to several volunteers, and the issues that came up included: How is the MWHG structured and who are the main contacts in the organisation? What is the FLOW Project and how does it fit with our other work? What locations do we work in, and how do we know what other volunteering opportunities there are? The pack seeks to answer these questions and in doing so, will make it easier for volunteers to orientate themselves within the MWHG and choose when, where and how they would like to volunteer. In addition to this, the pack is a support document, covering important topics such as lone working and work-party safety, that are relevant to established and new volunteers alike.

Contents of the new volunteer welcome pack. ©R. O’Dowd

Contents of the new volunteer welcome pack. ©R. O’Dowd

The production of this pack has been a joint effort. The exact contents were hammered out at a brain-storming session with Jane Reeve, Chris Drake, Sheila Wilkinson and Dave Haldane, and finalised after a review and discussion with Joe Savill. In the months since, Joe, Jane, Chris have all contributed content, which I’ve then developed and structured into the new pack format. The pack contents are held within a useful folder that volunteers can use to keep other documents about MWHG too. With all the different sections to check, there was lots of proof-reading to do before the final copy went to the printers, so further thanks to Joe, Jane and Chris for help with this. Mike Wickens at Selsey Press has been excellent in discussing the printing options, and the quality of the finished product has exceeded my expectations.

I now have the task of compiling the contents of all 200 packs, and will do this in batches with many cups of tea and biscuits to keep me going! The first packs will be going out to volunteers shortly via the group leaders and any volunteers that can’t be reached this way will receive a copy in the post or at a later event. The pack will go to all existing and new volunteers who are currently active in contributing their time to our work.  Despite our small size as an organisation, I believe MWHG now has a welcome pack worthy of our fantastic volunteers, and it is an important way in which we can show how much we value the time and effort that they contribute.

Over time, there is scope to add and revise the welcome pack contents as needed, and I would welcome feedback from volunteers. Please email hello@mwhg.org.uk with your comments.

Rebecca

Communications and Engagement Officer for MWHG

 


Post by Rebecca

Volunteers take on the Coir Roll Challenge!

March 16th, 2018 by Nikki

Last weekend a team of dedicated volunteers, with FLOW Project Leader Jane at the helm, took on the challenge of distributing 40 coir rolls to 8 sites across the Manhood Peninsula. They were ably assisted by Campbell Thorp, who drove the rolls around in his pick-up truck, and all went home happy in the knowledge of a task well done…and lots of loose coir fibres in their ears, mouths and clothing! A huge thanks is extended to all the volunteers that helped shift these rolls about, and a special thanks to Campbell Thorp for his work with his pick-up and trailer. The use of coir rolls is an important part of the habitat creation and improvement work that MWHG do, and we asked Jane to tell us more about the rolls and how they work.

In a nutshell, what is a coir roll?

A coir roll is a long sausage shaped bundle made of coconut fibres, which are bound together with bio-degradable cord. It’s an environmentally sound use of coconut fibres which are otherwise a waste product of coconut production. The coir rolls in this case have been delivered to us dry and they have 18-20 holes cut into them where plug plants can be placed. The benefit of dry coir rolls is that they are only 20-30 kg to heft about, compared to the 80 – 100 kg when wet. It also means that we can populate them up with the plants of our choosing as they are not pre-planted, so we can introduce very specific species relevant to the local area.

Volunteers lift the coir rolls into position. The Wad, West Wittering ©Jane Reeve

Purple areas of loose coir where it can be removed and plug plants put in. Hale Farm, West Wittering ©Jane Reeve

These coir rolls will be staked into place and then planted up with a range of riparian species to improve biodiversity and to stabilise the ditch banks. Once staked, the coir rolls absorb water and are a great medium for the plants to grow in. The plants soon put on growth and create large roots that go through the coir and into the banks of the ponds, ditches or banks where they have been placed. They do not need any topping up and will thrive, as demonstrated in the photos of Birdham Pond below. They then just require light cutting back once a year like any other vegetation. The coir will eventually disappear completely leaving the plants growing in the underlying soil.

Pre-planted coir rolls being installed at Kingfisher pond in Birdham. ©Jane Reeve

 Kingfisher pond 4 months on with the vegetation growth. ©Jane Reeve

After coir rolls are installed, the growth in one year can be incredible.

Why is the use of coir rolls important to MWHG’s work?

By helping to stabilise ditch and stream banks and introducing more plant biodiversity into the wetlands, we are trying to create better water vole habitat. Water Voles are England’s fastest declining mammal, so this work with help ensure that that they continue to have a stronghold on the Manhood Peninsula.

How do you decide where to put the coir rolls?

We target wetland sites that have very little floristic diversity, and which have been heavily shaded and under managed over a long period in the past. We have worked on these sites over the last couple of years removing willow and bramble that didn’t allow light to hit the water, opening them up and digging them out. The final stage is introducing native wetland species with the help of coir rolls that we can plant with plugs. This year, we have decided to target Hilton Business Park pond, the Cakeham Manor wetland area, Hale Farm, Regency house and Sparrow cottage – all sites we have worked on and prepared this winter. We may dig out these sites further, so will ensure that the coir rolls are not damaged.

The weather is a challenge this time of year, why put them out now?

We install the coir rolls this time of year because the vegetation/tree cutting season has finished with the start of the bird breeding season and it is also the beginning of the growing season. Small plug plants put into the rolls have a whole growing season ahead and can quickly green-up what had previously been a dark and bare site. The rolls have all gone onto site now and we will spend the next couple of weeks installing them. This Friday we will start work on Hilton Business Park – staking the rolls into place and planting them with a range of plug plant species.

Hale Farm, West Wittering © Jane Reeve

Malthouse Cottages, West Wittering ©Jane Reeve

After installation, the coir rolls green-up quickly, adding an early flush of life to bare winter wetlands and helping to stabilise the banks.

Is that it, or will you be installing more rolls in the future?

I will probably try and get more of these rolls next year so that we can do this all again on the new sites we will be working on. This work is so satisfying because we can see the results quickly and it makes a big difference to the quality and diversity of our local wetlands. We are always looking for new volunteers to come and help us, so if this blog has inspired you, why not get in touch and find out how you can get involved. There is no requirement for a regular commitment, and coming along for a taster session is great way to meet the volunteers and see if it is something you might enjoy.

Please contact Rebecca on hello@mwhg.org.uk for more information about volunteering with MWHG, or ring Jane on 07743824049 if you wish to join a work event. Details of our upcoming tasks can be found on our website calendar.

The coir roll champions! There’s nothing quite like a cup of tea after a good day’s work. Southend Farm, Donnington © Jane Reeve


Post by Rebecca

Have Your Say: New Activities for Dog Walkers Outside Protected Chichester Harbour

March 3rd, 2018 by Nikki

Chichester Harbour is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is in part protected for the wading birds, present over the winter months. Chichester District Council is looking to provide activities for dogs on alternative routes outside of the harbour, between Southbourne and Chichester, to minimize external affects on these birds.

Please take the short survey on the Chichester District Website and share your ideas for activities you would like to see!

 

 

 

Freshwater Habitats Trust: Frog Spawn Survey 2018

March 3rd, 2018 by Nikki

Take part in this year’s Freshwater Habitats Trust’s (FHT) Frog Spawn survey. This annual survey collects data on the numbers of breeding frogs and toads in your garden or local park, pond. This important data is distributed across the UK to government bodies and non-profit organisations, to be considered during planning and guide conservation efforts.

Download the FHT’s recording form, which includes identification examples, to help you track your sightings of spawn, tadpoles and adult frogs or toads.

Freshwater Habitats Trust Spawn Survey 2018 Form View PDF

Enter your results on the Freshwater Habitats Trust website and follow #SpawnSurvey on social media for updates.

 

 

 

 

 

FLOW Project: Earnley Parish Report and Drop in Results Session

February 13th, 2018 by Nikki

Read the full FLOW Project Ditch Assessment and Improvement Plan, or read our quick FLOW e-bulletin round-up of the work completed in Earnley.

 

FLOW Project Report Earnley Parish 2018

FLOW Project Report Earnley 2018 Appendix iii

FLOW Project Report Earnley Parish 2018 Appendix iv

The FLOW Team is also hosting a drop in session to show their results, this Thursday 15th February at Bracklesham Barn, from 10 am to 12pm.

FLOW e-bulletin February 2018

February 12th, 2018 by Nikki

Read our e-bulletin for a snapshot of the work we’ve achieved in Earnley or read our detailed FLOW Report on our findings.

This Thursday 15th February, the FLOW Project Team will be hosting a drop in session at Bracklesham Barn from 10 am to 12pm, to show their results and plants for future work in the local area.

Cold Snaps: Photos from our Winter Work Projects

December 21st, 2017 by Nikki

FLOW Project

Removing Willow from the relic pond at Hilton Business Park © Chris Drake, November 2017

As part of the Fixing and Linking our Wetlands (FLOW) Project, volunteers have been clearing invasive Willow from overgrown ponds across the Manhood Peninsula. At the relic pond in East Wittering, our working party made quick progress, with FLOW Field Officer, Chris, managing to clear seven large willow trees with a chain saw in a single session! These Willow cuttings are used to make stakes and binders for hedge laying and the team plans to return soon to create a dead hedge at the Hilton Business Park site. This natural barrier will decay over time, enriching the ground, whilst providing shelter for insects and other wildlife throughout its life.

ASHE Group

Collecting debris for the bug house at Morgan’s Pond © Jane Reeve, December 2017

On a recent tool organizing day, ASHE volunteers took the opportunity to check in on the new hedge and replenish the bug house at Morgan’s Pond, in Almodington, with natural material. The Almodington, Sidlesham, Highleigh and Earnley (ASHE) Group maintain sites within their parishes year-round to reinforce habitats. This is especially important to do now for winter-hibernating creatures, before freezing temperatures take hold.

East Beach Pond

Maintaining the island and reed beds at East Beach Pond © Dave Haldane, November 2017

East Beach pond, in Selsey, received Gold from the South & South-East in Bloom Awards this year, thanks to our East Beach Pond Group’s hard work! Restoration of the pond brings wildlife to the water and ensures the built-in flood prevention system continues to benefit local people. In November, the volunteers took the boat out to the island to reduce scrub and cut back the surrounding reed beds, preserving the pond for next year.

 

Learn more about how you can get involved and volunteer for our practical conservation projects.


Post by Nikki

Autumn/ Winter Newsletter 2017

December 15th, 2017 by Nikki

Click on our new newsletter for updates on our work, introductions to new FLOW Project team members, pictures of our wildlife sightings and to read the Eileen Savill Award winning poems, from Lilah and Mia.

If you’re not a member but would like to be notified when our newsletters are released, sign up below!

Autumn/ Winter Newsletter 2017

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 for more information or if you would like to volunteer:

FLOW Project Contact Form

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_author

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_author
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_author

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_author

Selsey Medical Centre: (SZ 854 935)

Aromatic Garden;

Leaders: Barbara Bond and Gerry Williams

Selsey Common Site

September 16th, 2012 by Bruce_author

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_author

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_author

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_author

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_author

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_author

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_author

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_author

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_author

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_author

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.

.

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.

.

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!

.

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.

.

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_author

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_author

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_author

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_author

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