Director of Land Management
We were concerned to learn of a fire yesterday evening at Filsham Reedbed, a SSSI near Bulverhythe in Hastings. The fire was extinguished by East Sussex Fire and Rescue and has been classed as accidental. We do not know the cause.
The fire was just metres from the edge of our nature reserve and approximately one hectare (10,000 square metres) of open reedbed has burned to the ground.
Our Ecologist visited the site today to assess the wildlife impacts and it’s likely that any animals unable to outrun the flames will have perished. Sadly this may have included several birds’ nests but Cetti's Warblers were still present in the scrub surrounding the burned area this morning, and Reed and Sedge Warblers could be heard nearby. Whilst a significant area has been destroyed by fire, it is a relatively small section of Filsham Reedbed and we hope it will recover well over time.
Sussex Wildlife Trust would like to highlight the severe risk of accidental fire after such a long period of dry weather, particularly for reedbeds and heathlands. Vegetation everywhere is tinder dry, so it is vital that people visiting our nature reserves and the wider countryside do not have barbecues, drop cigarette butts or leave any litter behind, as glass bottles and other reflective material can easily start a fire. Please be vigilant and if you see an unattended fire, phone 999 to report it immediately.