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MWHG Newsletter: 15th January 2024

Dear Volunteers and Supporters,

Thank you for your support throughout 2023. After a well deserved rest, our volunteers and project leaders are ready to jump back into our various wildlife, heritage and community projects.

Read on to find out how you can help out in the coming months and to see a video recap of our 2023 wildlife survey results.


Vitacress Survey Work

By Joe Savill | Vitacress Biodiversity Management Plan

Calling for Volunteers

Vitacress is a producer of salads and herbs, who we are working with to monitor the exciting Biodiversity Management Plan they are implementing at their site in Runcton. Following an evaluation of last year’s surveys, those for this year are now being planned. Details are yet to be finalised but they would like us again to focus on butterflies, birds and pollinators, but now in relation to the different habitats on the site.

We have an excellent small team of committed volunteers but it would be great to have more people involved. You only need to have basic ID skills but anyone who can confidently identify less common birds would be an added help. However, enthusiasm and interest are the main things required. So do give it a thought.

For more information, contact Joe Savill at

Wittering Area Community Conservation Project Update

Volunteers at Kingfisher pond.

We have been busy running weekly habitat management sessions with our amazing volunteers - this will carry on through to the Spring. Habitat management work takes place during the autumn/winter months in order to allow the wildlife to remain undisturbed during the important spring and summer breeding months. Habitat management can involve cutting back vegetation such as brambles, 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, and planting trees. The loss of biodiversity is in part due to loss of habitat so looking after what we have and creating more areas where wildlife can thrive is hugely important.  

L to R: Volunteers at Hilton Business Park Pond in East Wittering, volunteers clearing bramble at Holly House pond in Earnley.

So far this season we have worked at: Triangle Pond, Kingfisher Pond, the Village Pond, the Recreation Ground, and the Primary School in Birdham; Marine Drive pollinator-friendly flowerbed, the ‘wilded’ Bus Stop area, and Cakeham Manor Estates wetlands site, in West Wittering; Haydons Pond and Holly House Pond in Earnley; West Itchenor Village Pond; and Hilton Business Park Pond in East Wittering. All of these sites provide habitat for wildlife, in one way or another, whether it be nesting sites for birds, homes for mammals such as water voles, food for insects, or refuge for reptiles and amphibians.  

WSP team at Birdham Recreation Ground.

As well as our lovely local, regular, volunteers we have also been joined by corporate groups including environmental consulting company, WSP. Our Corporate Volunteer Days are proving very popular and are a huge help to us in getting a lot of work done in a short period of time. The WSP team joined us on a particularly soggy day at Birdham Recreation Ground where we sowed wildflowers on an earth bank. The bank was created from soil moved for the installation of a new all-weather path across the north of the recreation field, and this was a good opportunity to create a new feature for wildlife at this site. We also looked after the trees we had planted here in the last couple of years by replacing lost canes and guards, and the more established hedge by removing plastic trees guards that are no longer needed. 

Our last volunteer session of the year was our Christmas session at Triangle Pond in Birdham where we had a good turnout to enjoy Jane’s amazing array of Christmassy treats – a fitting ‘Thank You’ to our brilliant team of volunteers! And it didn’t rain!  

Our important engagement work with local children began again with our Wildlife Warriors after-school club running at Birdham Primary School. We did pond-dipping, made bird feeders, made bug-houses, sowed wildflower seeds, and dissected owl pellets. We are running the club again with East Wittering Primary school this term. We also ran a whole-class session at West Wittering Primary School dissecting owl pellets, supporting the class with their work on the book 'The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark'. 

L to R: Wildlife Warriors Club, Scouts planting acorns.

We ran sessions with the Beavers and Scouts from 1st Birdham & Wittering Scouts Group, and with very young children from two Witterings-based nursery schools, where the children helped with processing and planting tree seeds that we collected during the autumn. The seeds will now be grown on at our West Wittering Tree Nursery. Many of the trees we grew at the tree nursery last year were planted by the children we work with, and most of those have now been planted out in the local area, with many going to the Hedging Our Future project.  

Future volunteer sessions this year will see us return to some of the sites mentioned above as well as others we’ve not got to yet, and also working alongside East Wittering Parish Council helping to create a new Community Orchard at the Bracklesham Barn site. If you haven’t yet joined us for a volunteer session and would like to then do come along soon! 

The Beryl James Tree Nursery

The first trees from the site were collected in the autumn and planted out in Sidlesham, which was very rewarding. Equally so was the transplanting of the young trees we’d grown from seed collected in 2022 into the nursery beds.

This year’s seeds have been sown at The Hidden Garden in Selsey and we are hopeful for successful germination in the spring.

We are always looking for more volunteers so do get in touch if you’re interested. The more trees we can grow locally, the better.

Also, please contact me if you have young trees to donate or have ideas about where you would like to see trees planted in the Selsey area.

For more information, contact Joe Savill at

2023 Wildlife Records Recap

38 records were submitted at the end of 2023, bringing this year's total to a fantastic 477 wildlife record submissions! So far this wildlife survey has received 1,242 records.

View some highlights from 2023 for this survey in the video, below.

Coming up: Soon you will be able to submit your wildlife sightings on-the-go via mobile or on your desktop at home, through a new online submission form.

Survey Results for November and December 2023

7 blackbirds

8 Goldfinches

1 Sparrowhawk

200 Brent Geese

1 Magpie

18 Wood Pigeons

222 Curlews

3 Robins

1 Wren

1 Dunnock

1 Rock Dove

Tell us about the wildlife you've seen in your garden, neighbourhood and surrounding local area and we will also submit your records to the National Biological Records Centre on your behalf.

To find out how to take part in our wildlife survey, click on the button below.

East Beach Pond, Selsey

By Joe Savill | East Beach Pond Group

Two new information boards have been installed at the pond. These replace those that were there for many years. The information has been updated including some new photos to further illustrate the history of the site.

A big thank you goes to Chichester District Council, members of the East Beach Pond Group, The Selsey Model Boat Club, Bill Martin, Peter White and Peter Hamilton [Profile Design] for their support.

For more information, contact Joe Savill at

Southern Water Hedging Our Future Project

We have had a very successful season planting trees as part of the Hedging Our Future project and our amazing volunteers have worked in some pretty muddy conditions to get the trees into the ground. We have planted a great range of species including oak, hazel, hawthorn, blackthorn, downy birch, beech, field maple, spindle, crab apple, elder, bird cherry, wild plum, guelder rose, dogwood, wild rose, wayfaring, yew and willow.


Over November and December we planted 1203 native trees to make 310 metres of new hedges made up of 18 different species.  Most of these trees were planted on Mapsons Farm in Sidlesham and we will continue to put in new hedges on this site in January and February.  Please help s as this is a great activity, lots of fun and VERY rewarding.

Next MWHG Newsletter: Monday 11th March 2024


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