FLOW Project

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

 

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

FLOW Project Launch

November 1st, 2016 by Nikki

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

logo FLOW logo HLF logo

FLOW 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.

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

 

FLOW Project – January 2016 e-bulletin

January 25th, 2016 by Tom

Click here to view the full e-bulletin.

jan 2016 flow project news

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

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