The Elms Ditch Story

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.

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Video: Volunteer for the FLOW Project

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

Volunteering Form

Become a volunteer and subscribe to our volunteering opportunities or find out more about volunteering from our Communications and Engagement Officer, Emily.
Personal information collected via this form is used solely to provide the subscription or communication service requested. Please read our full Privacy Notice for more information.
Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Registered office: 55 High Street, Selsey, West Sussex PO20 0RB. Company No: 07629112. Registered Charity No. 1147335

 

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New Heritage Walks: Explore Norton, Earnley and Medmerry

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.

 

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Volunteer Meet & Greet Coffee Morning

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

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20th Anniversary Photo Exhibition at Chichester Library

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

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FLOW e-bulletin March 2019

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

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

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

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Sheepwash Pond Story

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

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New Part-Time Job Opportunity: Community Conservation Officer

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

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Haydons Pond Story

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

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