Filsham Reedbed benefits from Biffa Award grant

02 September 2016 | Posted in Filsham Reedbed
Filsham Reedbed benefits from Biffa Award grant
bearded tit / Toby Houlton

Sussex Wildlife Trust is carrying out important conservation work at its Filsham Reedbed nature reserve to help rare and threatened species flourish, thanks to a grant from Biffa Award of over £27,000.

Work starts this autumn at this Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) - a nature reserve between the two major towns of Bexhill and Hastings which provides an oasis for both people and wildlife.

Birds such as reed warbler, sedge warbler, Cetti’s warbler, cuckoo and bearded tit all breed in the reedbed making this reserve key to their survival. It is also an important stop for birds on migration and hobbies can often be seen feeding over the reserve in the spring when they first arrive in the country. Other birds found on the reserve include song thrush, house sparrow and marsh tit. This reserve also supports harvest mice (their nests sometimes being found at the edge of the reedbed where it is drier and grassier with a patchwork of scrub), a diversity of rare plants such as blunt-flowered rush, common meadow-rue and water violet as well as a host of invertebrates.

Breeding birds require robust reeds to build their nests, combined with a plentiful food source to feed their young. Willow scrub constantly threatens the amount of space for wetland species to feed and breed and the award will ensure vital conservation tasks such as willow scrub cutting and ditch clearance can take place. In turn, this work will increase invertebrates on the reserve providing a plentiful food source for nesting birds and their young.

Part of the award will be spent with people in mind and work to replace rotting sections of the existing boardwalk that runs through the reed bed will be a top priority. An information board will also be replaced so visitors can gain the maximum enjoyment from their visit.

Gilllian French, Biffa Award Head of Grants said, ‘This project is a great example of how the Landfill Communities Fund can help protect threatened species.’

This project was also supported by the Sussex Ornithological Society who kindly donated £2,785 to the Sussex Wildlife Trust to help unlock the grant.

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