GETTING TO GRIPS: Wetland management for people and wildlife: Case Study – Mapson’s Farm

Mapsons Farm is situated in the heart of the Manhood Peninsula and is a busy arable farm. It is typical of farms in the area with fields bordered by drainage ditches that carry rainfall run off away and ultimately into Rifes that carry this water to sea. As well as ditches there are also farm ponds that are able to hold water during high rainfall events and, in most years, stay wet when the ditches have dried out. Water Voles have been recorded living in most of the ditches and ponds on the farm and it is a well-connected and clearly understood system of waterways.

During the heavy rains of 2012, during June and December, many of the farm’s ditches flooded and water sat on the land. Quite often this was where ditches had previously existed but had been filled in and thus the network was discontinued and was non-existent. Adjacent ditches that would have carried water off Mapsons Farm had not been maintained and therefore it pooled and dammed back. As a result much of the land was flooded and crops were lost. During the period of November 2012 – January 2013, Mapsons Farm carried out some ditch maintenance work, removing debris and digging out the built up silt from the base. Although the ditches looked very bare and denuded of vegetation this was during the winter when there is natural plant die back and many species are more dormant.

Nine months later the ditches are connected, fully vegetated and water is able to flow through them. They now support a variety of plant species that are attractive to invertebrates and offer good habitat for Water Voles.

                BEFORE                                                AFTER

Silt dug out of ditch on Rotton Row, Sidlesham

Silt dug out of ditch on Rotton Row,Sidlesham

Vegetation has grown up

Vegetation has grown up

Ditch re-profi led and silt removed

Ditch re-profiled and silt removed

Ditch has recovered with vegetation

Ditch has recovered with vegetation

Ditch on Mapsons Lane has been cleared of vegetation and the hedge cut back

Ditch on Mapsons Lane has been cleared of
vegetation and the hedge cut back

The ditch is now fully vegetated and the hedge is fruiting.

The ditch is now fully vegetated and the
hedge is fruiting.

Ditch on Lockgate Lane has been dug out to connect it to a culvert.

Ditch on Lockgate Lane has been dug out to
connect it to a culvert.

The ditch is vegetated as are its banks while still able to hold water

The ditch is vegetated as are its banks while
still able to hold water

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