Welcome to Harbour CHIRP

Chichester Harbour, Information from a Remarkable Place


Harbour CHIRP - August 2016

Harbour CHIRP - August 2016

Welcome and introduction

Richard Austin - AONB Manager

Welcome to the August edition of Harbour CHIRP. As usual, there is a lot going on in and around the Harbour.

Over the summer, Highways England is consulting on five A27 Chichester Bypass options and I would urge anyone who is interested in this major development to find out more and send them your comments. The closing date for comments is Thursday 22 September.

Three of the options (1, 1A and 2), will impact on the natural and cultural heritage of Fishbourne, both within and directly around the AONB, and we will be responding to the consultation in due course.

A number of public exhibitions will take place, giving local people an opportunity to discuss the proposals with staff from Highways England, to ask them questions and raise concerns.

Click here to find out further information, including the dates and venues of the public exhibitions. You can also view computer generated videos for each of the options here.Cobnor welcomes Environment Agency volunteers

Last month, over 50 volunteers from the Environment Agency (EA) worked with our Rangers and Cobnor Estate to improve the local environment of the AONB. The volunteers, who normally manage the delivery of large engineering and environmental projects, spent the day repairing the damaged sea wall and restoring part of the ancient woodland.

It was a fantastic team effort and, by the end of the day, significant progress had been made on both tasks. Andrew Gilham, Programme Delivery Manager at the EA said, "It was a magnificent occasion and I was delighted that the team made some really positive improvements to the local environment. The sunny weather and beautiful location certainly helped."

Diana Beale, owner and manager of the Estate, agreed. "What a wonderful day! My family and I really enjoyed meeting the great team from the Environment Agency. So much was achieved in a few hours. We repaired the sea wall and cleared the woodland floor to let bluebells take over again."

The Beale family have worked in close partnership with Chichester Harbour Conservancy for many decades, resulting in the planting of over a thousand trees at Cobnor, the restoration of hedgerows and ponds, the creating and maintaining of footpaths, sea-defences, facilities for wheelchair-users, and the recording of wildlife in all its forms.

 

Harbour Honours

Last month, two of our staff members were given Landscapes for Life Awards in appreciation of their long service to the AONB. The awards bestow national recognition and gratitude for the service given by staff, volunteers and elected members who have assisted the work of their AONB partnerships.

Judi Darley grew up in the Harbour and started at the Conservancy as Education and Interpretation Warden in 1996. She soon developed and excellent outdoor activities programme, which is still running today.

Judi was instrumental in creating our Education Centre in 1999, which has gone from strength to strength. She recently helped to set up Junior Conservancy, which gives children the chance to debate environmental issues, just as the adults do!

Judi helped with the HLF Rhythms of the Tide project, which brought Solar Heritage to the Harbour. Over the years, Judi's work has enabled thousands of people to enjoy and learn about the AONB. Long may it last!

Alan Rice TD is our longest serving Conservancy member and is also a Councillor for Hampshire County Council. Alan joined the Conservancy in 1997 and soon after, he served a three year term as Chairman. With a timely and acute sense of humour, Alan is a well-liked and valued Member of the Conservancy.

We are very lucky to have Judi and Alan looking after Chichester Harbour.

 

Local News

Cobnor welcomes Environment Agency volunteers

Last month, over 50 volunteers from the Environment Agency (EA) worked with our Rangers and Cobnor Estate to improve the local environment of the AONB. The volunteers, who normally manage the delivery of large engineering and environmental projects, spent the day repairing the damaged sea wall and restoring part of the ancient woodland.

It was a fantastic team effort and, by the end of the day, significant progress had been made on both tasks. Andrew Gilham, Programme Delivery Manager at the EA said, "It was a magnificent occasion and I was delighted that the team made some really positive improvements to the local environment. The sunny weather and beautiful location certainly helped."

Diana Beale, owner and manager of the Estate, agreed. "What a wonderful day! My family and I really enjoyed meeting the great team from the Environment Agency. So much was achieved in a few hours. We repaired the sea wall and cleared the woodland floor to let bluebells take over again."

The Beale family have worked in close partnership with Chichester Harbour Conservancy for many decades, resulting in the planting of over a thousand trees at Cobnor, the restoration of hedgerows and ponds, the creating and maintaining of footpaths, sea-defences, facilities for wheelchair-users, and the recording of wildlife in all its forms.

 

House Martins doing well at Harbour Office

James Parkin - Farming & Wildlife Officer

We've been monitoring the number of nests at the Harbour Office this summer, as part of the British Trust for Ornithology's (BTO) House Martin nest survey. There is clear evidence that the House Martin breeding population in Sussex has declined considerably in recent decades and this survey will help identify the causes for their decline.

Possible reasons include; fewer insects for food, reduced availability of mud for nest building or increased, deliberate (and illegal) destruction of nests by homeowners.

Here at the Harbour Office, House Martins nest under the eaves. We've noticed that, when birds use mud collected from the foreshore to build their nests, they often collapse and the eggs or chicks inside are lost. To avoid this we have installed several artificial nests over the years which are readily used by the birds to raise their young.

So far this year, we've had three successful broods, with another nest currently occupied. At one point during the summer, a chick fell out from one of the nests but was safely returned by a member of staff.

This photo shows a brood of four which all fledged successfully thanks to their parents, who had built their nest on top of the alarm outside the Harbour Master's Office!

 

Landscapes for Life Conference 2016

Richard Austin - AONB Manager

Last month, I attended the annual Landscapes for Life Conference in Shropshire. It was a fantastic event with representatives from almost every AONB in Britain and excellent key note speakers who talked about the social benefits of these special areas.

Dr. Ruth Hall, from the NHS, highlighted the wellbeing benefits of AONBs, saying that time spent in these green and blue spaces lowers blood pressure, reduces stress and anxiety and builds confidence. Kate Wood, from Activate, said that art is another way for people to engage with these beautiful landscapes and Dr Denise Hewitt spoke about the value of tranquillity.

My field excursion group went for a long walk across the Malvern Hills - although it was a little cold, wet and windy, I loved the whole experience! There's nothing quite like the great outdoors and having the chance to explore somewhere new made it even better.

On the final day, TV's Martin Roberts, more commonly known as the host of Homes under the Hammer, gave a talk on the need to protect children and to work with them, both in rural and urban locations. This is part of his role as an advocate for the NSPCC.

I wonder what I will learn at next year's conference?

 

Annual Geology event

Judi Darley - Communities Officer

We held our annual, unique, geology event at St Peter's in Northney on Hayling Island last month. Local geology expert David Bone led the study of the church walls, pointing out stones of various origins.

Where we just see 'flint', David can point out four different kinds, quarried flint, surface flint, brown flint and seashore flints. In this photo, David is pointing at a stone made of granite, called an erratic - this is a rock deposited during a period of glaciation that has come from a different area.

In this part of the world, erratics probably arrived within icebergs that got stuck as melting proceeded, depositing their cargo where they came to a halt. Another view of erratic is a historical one, that they may have arrived here as ship's ballast. The second theory works for stones that are manageable to carry, but we have erratics in the Harbour that are far too big and heavy to have been used as ballast. Look out for one on the Bosham foreshore opposite Itchenor!

Other stones that David pointed out include Bembridge limestone, Quarr Stone and Lavant Stone (named by David himself), all from local quarries working many years ago.

The presence of these stones, sourced locally, gives us an introduction to thinking about working lives many years ago and the logistics of obtaining building stones in an area which does not have much in the way of a hard reliable stone for building.

Transport by boat was the easiest option, and much later, the railways made sourcing of stone from elsewhere much easier, as with Bath stone.

Next time you are near an old Harbour church, do have a second look at the walls - you'll be amazed at the variety of building stones you will find.

 

School's out for summer

Jane Latawski - Education Officer

The working year for the Conservancy's Education Centre at Dell Quay ends in the summer as we follow the academic year of September to August.

It's been a great year, with a record number of visitors using our education services - over 7,000 people joined us to learn about and enjoy Chichester Harbour.

We hosted more than 180 events and have worked with 83 different schools and organisations, delivering outdoor learning activities and trips, Outreach sessions in schools, hosting student and work experience placements, as well as enabling visitors to use Harbour sites and venues.

You may be thinking who has worked with all these visitors? The answer is.... the super group of teachers and volunteers at the Centre but recognition must also go to the Office and Patrol Teams and our AONB Unit for their essential support to help run the Education service.

A very big THANK YOU to the schools and groups we have worked with this year and we look forward to working with you all next year.

 

Back in the driving seat....

Judith Meagher - Projects Officer

I'm back in the ‘driving seat', covering Nicky Horter's maternity leave three days a week and working with Keith and Georgie to look after the AONB. I'm looking forward to seeing the Harbour change through the seasons and to learn more about this wonderful place over the next year.

In my first week, I was lucky enough to go along to the Friends Summer Social on 20th July and meet the volunteers that do such a lot of good work in the Harbour. Our work parties will start again in September and these provide a nice way to get out and about in the AONB and help with conservation tasks.

I have also been finalising the interpretation boards for Emsworth, Nore Barn Woods, Langstone Quay and Mill Pond and North Common on Hayling Island. Hopefully, these will be installed before the end of the summer.

 

What a lovely job!

Keith Rathbone - Countryside Ranger

The wonderful part of being a Countryside Ranger at this time of year is that we (the Ranger Team) get to shape how the Harbour footpaths look.

Although it is hard work, with 96km of footpaths to cut, it is satisfying work knowing that people of all ages and ability can come out and gain access to Chichester Harbour via the network of footpaths in the Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

This year our Seasonal Ranger is Andrew McKellar, who also works as a contractor for the South Downs National Park. Andrew has much experience working in the countryside and is looking forward to spending the summer down here in the Harbour.

There are plenty of lovely places to walk. Why not visit our Walking page and try somewhere new?

 

Friends Summer Social at Beaky's Wildlife Area

Georgie Siddle - Communities Ranger

The Friends Summer Social was held at Beaky's Wildlife Area this year, giving our volunteers a chance to find out all about the Education Centre and the fabulous work that our Education Officer, Jane Latawski and her Team Teachers provide to local schools and groups.

Jane gave a presentation and thanked the Friends of Chichester Harbour as they have supported several ventures such as Junior Conservancy and Get Afloat.

Afterwards, they had a tour of the outdoor education area followed by a buffet lunch. We are always grateful for their help and support and if you are interested in becoming a member, you can find out more by visiting their website.

 

Planning news...

Steve Lawrence - Planning Officer

For the last few months I have been conducting a complete review of the Conservancy's Planning Guidelines, which will shortly be re-branded as Planning Principles.

These principles will inform a new joint Supplementary Planning Document, being prepared by Chichester District Council and Havant Borough Council. Public consultation on this document should take place later this year.

Both of these documents will guide decision making to ensure that natural beauty is promoted through new development.

The two local councils consult the Conservancy on development within, or affecting, the setting of the Harbour AONB and we are always happy to offer advice when new development proposals are being formulated.

I have returned to the Harbour Office after a brief spell in the office above the Education Centre at Dell Quay and my new telephone number at the Harbour Office is 01243 510001 and you can always send me an email if you need advice.

Click here for more information on planning in the AONB.

 

 

Summer safety tips

You might occasionally encounter a jellyfish within the Harbour or along the local beaches. These are usually Box jellyfish and are harmless but others might give a very slight sting. Advice on treating stings from jellyfish and other marine creatures can be found on the NHS Choices website.

We all enjoy a BBQ in the sunshine but there have been incidents where people have been burnt by residual heat in the sand from a disposable BBQ on the beach. If you are going to use a BBQ, please take care where you site it, try to raise it off the ground where possible and ensure the area has gone completely cold before leaving.