Transforming the Forgotten North Mundham Canal

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

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