Coastal Grazing Marsh in Chichester Harbour

Coastal grazing marsh is an important habitat within Chichester Harbour, but like many of our habitats it is under pressure. Independent consultants Royal Haskoning DHV have written a report on the future potential for this important habitat within the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Download the report here:

What is Coastal Grazing Marsh?

Coastal grazing marsh is found on low-lying coasts and estuaries. It is pasture or meadow which is sometimes covered by water, and often includes ditches or hollows which fill with fresh or brackish (salty) water. Often coastal grazing marshes are used to graze cattle; sometimes they are cut for hay or silage.

Why is it Important?

  • Coastal grazing marsh is a PRIORITY habitat under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan – it is a priority for conservation action.
  • As well as supporting a range of plants and invertebrates, coastal grazing marsh supports populations of wintering and breeding birds, many of which are internationally threatened.

Coastal Grazing Marsh and Chichester Harbour

Much of the coastal grazing marsh within the AONB has been converted for intensive agriculture or development, but there around 290 hectares (400 football pitches) remaining. The threats to Chichester Harbour’s coastal grazing marsh are:

  • Sea level rise and coastal squeeze.
  • Agricultural intensification.
  • Development pressure.

The report explores options for creation of future coastal grazing marsh within the AONB.