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Good Start to Our Wildlife Habitat Management Season

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

Join Us As a Volunteer!

September marked the beginning of our busy habitat management season, which will run through until next Spring. Weekly outdoors sessions with our wonderful group of enthusiastic volunteers are held at the various wildlife sites we help to look after. These sessions can involve cutting back vegetation, coppicing trees, raking off wildflower areas to improve diversity, removing invasive plants, working on ponds to allow in more light and retain open water, creating log piles, sowing wildflower seeds, planting trees, and generally making space for nature.

You may have seen news coverage lately about the State of Nature Report 2023. The report concludes that the UK’s wildlife is continuing to decline - across the UK, species studied have declined on average by 19% since 1970. Nearly one in six species are threatened with extinction from Great Britain. If you’d like to take action for wildlife in your local area, then why not sign up as a volunteer?

Our Wittering Area Community Conservation project, generously funded by the Woodger Trust, enables us to work across West Wittering, East Wittering, Bracklesham, Earnley, West Itchenor and Birdham to maintain, improve, and create habitat for wildlife.

Our first session of the season was a tools maintenance session where volunteers helped to clean, sharpen, and mend our all-important hand tools. As well as being a huge help to us, this is also a chance for volunteers to meet and re-connect after our summer break, have a good natter and enjoy Jane’s amazing cakes - all from the comfort of a camping chair!

The following week we held a corporate volunteer day for a team from Carpenter Box – a Chartered Accountants, Tax and Business Advisers company based in Worthing (picture of the team at the top of the page). Our Corporate Volunteer Days are going from strength-to-strength with lots of groups signed up already this season. The Carpenter Box team did an amazing job at Triangle Pond in Birdham, clearing the path of thistles and brambles, cutting back vegetation, and creating habitat piles. During these sessions we often find evidence of wildlife using the sites, including the beautiful bird's nest pictured above. If your company offers volunteer days to staff, then do please get in touch!

In the Witterings, we attended to our pollinator-friendly flowerbed in Marine Drive (pictured above) and carried out some management of the ‘wilded’ Bus Stop area in Rookwood Road. The Marine Drive flowerbed was buzzing with insects. There is still more work to be done at these sites where we are working with West Wittering Parish Council to create more space for wildlife by allowing wildflowers and long grass to grow.

We were back in Birdham with a lovely group of volunteers to work on the village pond, opposite the church, which has a thriving population of Water Voles, an endangered species.

Before & After pictures at Birdham Village Pond.

We cut back the vegetation from the bank closest to the road, and the ditch, leaving enough by the water to provide cover for the Water Voles. We enjoyed seeing a good number of dragonflies at the pond, including many Common Darters that were mating and ovipositing (laying eggs). We were also lucky enough to see a water vole dive under the water and swim across the pond whilst we were there!

At the end of September, we went to Haydon’s Pond in Almodington – a large and beautiful pond right by the road but somewhat hidden from view. We cut and raked off a wildflower area, trimmed the hedge and vegetation growing by the roadside, coppiced willow and hazel to allow more light into the pond, pulled out reed that was growing out into the pond, and cut the bankside vegetation.

The first session of October was in West Wittering where we were joined by another corporate volunteer team, this time from the pharmaceutical company, AbbVie (pictured below). The team members came together from far and wide across the UK to help us take care of this important wetlands site owned by Cakeham Manor Estate, and were joined by some of our regular volunteers.

Before and After Pictures in West Wittering.

This beautiful moss-covered wren's nest was discovered when clearing away brambles from trees we had planted in previous years. It's great to see one of our planted trees providing a home for wildlife!

There will be further sessions throughout October in West Wittering, East Wittering, Birdham and Earnley. We'd love it if you could join us!


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