Cakeham Manor Story

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

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