See the AONB from the water
This month I would like to invite readers to take a trip through Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty aboard Solar Heritage, our solar powered catamaran. Our experienced guides will help you learn about the natural and cultural environment of England's coastal gem. Her on-board engines are virtually silent as you glide along with plenty of time to admire the view and get up close to many of the birds and habitats that make this place so special.
Throughout June, Solar Heritage will be departing from Itchenor with trips themed around Harbour Discovery, X-Boats (classic wooden keel boats), Bygone Harbour, and Wildlife Discovery. Join us for evening trips on Sunday 21st June (longest day) and Friday 26th June. Why not bring a picnic to enjoy? Looking ahead to Friday 3rd July, we'll be running the first of two special trips from Hayling Island, the second being in August.
Please click here to find out more, make your booking, and enjoy this wonderful place.
Richard Austin - AONB Manager
Report your footpath concerns to us
There are over 90km of public footpaths in the Harbour and some of these erode or become waterlogged and muddy in wet weather. Recently, walkers have placed planks of wood along some of the footpaths to try and improve access. However, this can make paths unsafe and unsightly or can even exacerbate the problems.
We are constantly reviewing the condition of our footpaths but with so many to kms to check we welcome reports on the ground. Walkers can help us by reporting areas of concern and we will log and collate this information to build a better picture of footpaths in the Harbour. We can then prioritise the worst areas and try to address them first.
Repairs are usually carried out by the Rangers, with help from our regular volunteers. Where possible, we like to keep our footpaths looking as natural as possible so we choose materials that will blend in over time and will leave a suitable surface without changing the landscape.
The Friends of Chichester Harbour and their volunteers have helped us to improve footpaths in Ella Nore, Emsworth and along the Bosham Foreshore over the past six months.
To report a problem, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and if possible, include a picture.
Judith Meagher - Countryside Officer
A new perspective on life
Youth volunteer Naomi Giles from East Wittering, attended our winter photography day and submitted two boards of her photos to the review session.
Naomi, a student studying at Portsmouth University said: ‘I thoroughly enjoyed this photography course, the welcoming and supportive teaching environment aided me in producing some fabulous images which I never thought I could capture. This course has shown me the vast potential which can be found along our shoreline, and has helped me see life in a whole new perspective. I will definitely be participating in future courses and recommend anyone with an interest to give it a go! You will not be disappointed."
Click here to find out more about our wide range of creative activities and courses.
Judi Darley - Community Officer
Even if your garden is as small as a postage stamp you can still make it welcoming to butterflies, moths and other pollinators. A cleverly positioned and well planted pot can be hugely beneficial.
Just one container can provide a refuelling station for butterflies in need of nectar, keeping them airborne in their search for a mate. Several tubs together will increase your chances of attracting more species.
You could sprinkle a packet of mixed wildflower seed onto a tub. After flowering, leave it to reseed before trimming the dead stems the following spring and it should come back every year.
A great variety of butterfly friendly plants can be successfully grown in pots. Click here to see some suggestions.
James Parkin - Farming and Wildlife Officer
New homes for House Martins
We have a great community of House Martins that return to the Harbour Office year after year. There are now so many that we have had to provide some more accommodation.
The birds are very successful at building their own nests, however the Harbour mud does not make a reliable building material and so the nests often fail. We have installed two new terracotta nests under the eaves and they have been eagerly occupied.
Why not install a nest box to encourage this at risk species to nest at your house and give them as much support as possible?
You can find out more about what Keith and I get up to in our regular Rangers Diary.
Georgie Siddle - Community Ranger
The spring is a popular time for schools to visit us and we had a lovely sunny start to April but the month ended with some challenging weather. This didn't dampen the enthusiasm or enjoyment of Year 3 from Bosmere Junior School, who joined us on the 29th and 30th April at West Wittering beach, East Head and Dell Quay for outdoor activities and to learn about the Harbour. Despite the wind and rain the children made sandcastles to learn about the tides, did shoreline creature hunts and made crab homes.
Afterwards we received 90 thoughtful and beautifully written thank you letters and poems. Here is part of Maxi's letter "When I was sitting on the sand dunes at East Head I could hear the waves crashing like thunder and I could hear the skylarks singing as beautifully as opera singers. I could hear the marram grass swaying and the wind rushing over my face as fast as a cheetah".
Jane Latawski - Education Officer
Planning day success
Eighteen local people came to hear a presentation on town and country planning at the Dell Quay Education Centre last month. This was the first time such an event had been held and proved to be an enjoyable and informative session.
I first gave an overview of the planning system and explained how this is administered by the Conservancy, as a consultee to the four councils with jurisdiction over the Harbour. I stressed that our key aim is to protect and enhance the scenic beauty of the AONB and that we are currently undertaking a review of the Conservancy's Planning Guidelines (which will become Policies) to help council decision makers keep the AONB special. More about this process will be set out in future editions of Harbour CHIRP.
Linda Park, my fellow Planning Officer, then spoke about planning design using real examples, which we were then able to see at first hand on our short trip on Solar Heritage down the Fishbourne Channel. James Parkin, Farming and Wildlife Officer also explained the importance of the various statutory nature conservation designations and the rarity of certain bird species in the Harbour.
Click here to find out more about planning in the AONB.
Steve Lawrence - Planning Officer