Rye Harbour Nature Reserve won the New Sussex Landscapes award at an event organised by CPRE Sussex, the Sussex branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
The Nature Reserve's manager, Dr Barry Yates, said he was ‘delighted’ to receive the award on behalf of the reserve. He added: “The saltmarsh re-creation project is a partnership with the Environment Agency and Sussex Wildlife Trust. It has taken a long time from the planning to getting the project completed and now everyone can enjoy it. “The saltmarsh around Rye Harbour has declined over the last 100 years, so it is really nice to reinstate a piece of it and the wildlife has responded very quickly. The reserve is in a very public place so it is not only helping wildlife, it is also helping visitors to enjoy it.”
Commenting on the project, judge Margaret Moore said: “The creation of the habitat has added hugely to the existing nature reserve, creating wetland and grazing salt marsh, protected from predators, for a myriad of species, not least of which are 90 species of ground-nesting birds. The enjoyment visitors now get from the circular path that has been created is thrilling indeed and 300,000 visitors to the reserve now have a chance to get up close to the spectacular sight of breeding birds, using five well-constructed bird-hides. “It would be lovely to think the Rye Harbour project could, one day, be a springboard for similar restorations nearby and nationally, providing more of this important type of habitat for some of our most threatened species.”
By re-creating the salt marsh in 2011 on an area that had not seen the sea across it for 60 years the project has delivered an improved wetland landscape that is enjoyed by many plants, animals and people. It was only possible following the building of the new 4km flood bank in 2005 that provides a much better level of protection from extreme storm events.
The award was presented to Barry by Lady Egremont at Petworth House
For other awards to Rye Harbour Nature Reserve click here