The Sussex Wildlife Trust has been really fortunate in gaining a grant for carrying out access and wildlife improvements to our land which is part of Burton and Chingford Ponds Local Nature Reserve.The grant is being provided by Veolia Environment Trust as part of the Landfill Communities Fund.
The money will enable us to replace the ageing boardwalk across the bog at Black Hole and clear paths on the nature trail.We will also be carrying out some habitat improvements to help rare wetland, heath and grassland species.The work has started and involves some pretty big machinery.
The bog known as Black Hole is host to an array of colourful dragonflies and damselflies beautiful plants such as wild cranberry and bogbean which has a spray of delicate white flowers, but is becoming overcome by tussock sedges, willow and alder and is in danger of being lost altogether.Cutting the trees and pulling out small areas is just not enough so a digger will be used to pull out the invading vegetation to re-create some open water areas.The vegetation will initially be put to one side to allow any pondlife to crawl back into the bog before being moved across the road and burnt.
The digger will also be used to create small bare patches on Welch’s Common which is important for a range of sand-loving digger wasps, spiders and bees as well as the rare field cricket which sings beautifully on warm spring days.
On the Warren and New Piece, in some areas where the bracken is taking over, scrub and trees will be felled and the deep leaf litter layer removed to re-establish a more open heathy wood pasture similar to where this has been carried out nearby.Short term these areas may look quite bleak, but very quickly the heather and grasses move back in along with other heathland wildlife.Allowing more heathland to return will throw a ‘life-line’ to these species and it will also encourage many other rare animals and plants to return to the parish; including birds such as the, nightjar and woodlark. Importantly our reserve will be a link in a larger, connected living landscape allowing wildlife the freedom to move and disperse, ensuring its long-term survival.Please see the map for where the works are going ahead and for more information contact Jane Willmott, Living Landscapes Officer at [email protected]