FLOW Trail Guide: North Mundham

Situated at the northern-most edge of the Manhood Peninsula, this parish contains two scenic wetland sites that you can walk or cycle between.

Parking: North Mundham Village Hall car park, PO20 1LA

Public transport: Bus 600, stops outside the primary school

Approx. 2.8 miles. Starting at the [1] Relic Canal, wander up and down the footpath alongside the canal and take in the sights.

 

At the western end of the canal path, head south along Church Road, past St Stephen’s Church, and turn right onto [2] Fisher Lane. After 250m take the [3] footpath left across fields. At the lane, turn left and [4] Camic Pond will be on your right.

 

To make the route circular, head north along Runcton Lane and take the first [5] footpath on the left that appears just before a triangle junction. The footpath takes you along field edges and is partly parallel to Pagham Rife.

 

Emerge on [6] Post Office Lane turning right, then right again onto Church Road, back towards the Relic Canal.

Relic Canal

This was once part of the Ford to Hunston canal which opened in 1823 and stretched 12 miles from Ford on the River Arun to Salterns Lock. It was used for transporting cargo, including gold bullion from Portsmouth to the Bank of England, complete with armed guards on the barges.

 

Intended as a key trade route, it was not a success. The canal closed in 1847 because bigger and better ships, coupled with an end to the Napoleonic wars, meant that the coastal route was a cheaper and easier option.

This segment of the canal sadly regressed into an untidy rubbish tip with a low diversity of wetland plants and overcrowding trees. However, it has been transformed by the FLOW team into a bright and colourful space that is cherished by the local community.

 

The canal was deepened to hold water year-round, and trees were cut back to let sunlight through. It now has a wider diversity of plants and has become an important wildlife corridor for amphibians, hedgehogs, bats, and birds.

 

In summer, vivid foxgloves and yellow flag iris attract busy bumblebees, and you might see the woolly grey leaves and tall yellow flower spikes of the greater mullein plant.

 

Native fruiting trees, including cherry, blackthorn, holly and spindle, were planted along the footpath. Trees were carefully selected for their bounties of nuts, fruits and berries, relished by blackbirds, song thrushes, bank voles and wood mice. And the tree blossom is loved by pollinating insects. Look out for the speckled wood butterfly on a dry, sunny day.

Camic Pond

This relic farm pond appears on the 1846 tithe maps for the parish. It would have originally been used for watering livestock and cleaning cartwheels. Left unmanaged, the pond filled with silt and was unable to hold water, so after heavy rainfall events the lane would flood.

 

FLOW volunteers cut back the overgrown willow and brambles to let more sunlight onto the pond and banks and to make room for wildflowers. The pond was dug deeper to increase its capacity so it can now hold lots of water year-round without flooding. This wet habitat suits frogs, toads, newts, waterfowl, and water voles.

 

Before the improvements, the central island could not be seen and was only brought into view when vegetation was cut back. The island is a sanctuary for wildlife, offering protection from people and predators. However, the non-venomous grass snake is a competent swimmer and enjoys feeding on amphibians, fish and waterfowl eggs.

Dead hedges and log piles were created around the pond to make habitat for stag beetles, slow worms, and hedgehogs, as well as to act as a buffer from the lane. Native fruiting trees were planted to increase the diversity of tree species.

 

Marginal wildflowers such as yellow flag iris, water mint, and purple loosestrife are a great source of nectar for pollinating insects. In summer, look out for the gatekeeper and meadow brown butterflies. On a summer’s evening, you might catch a glimpse of bats pursuing flying insects as they dart over the pond. Roe deer and badgers are occasionally spotted drinking from the pond in summer, and they leave their tell-tale footprints in the mud.

Download the FLOW Trail Guide

This page is an extract from the Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands (FLOW) Trail Guide, which takes walkers on a tour of the ponds and wetland sites restored by the FLOW Project to benefit wildlife and mitigate flooding.

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