This large gravel pit was excavated between 1935 and 1970, but it was not designed with a wildlife after use. So since Sussex Wildlife Trust bought the 88 hectares of land and freshwater in 1992 we have been making more shallow margins and new islands. A major wetland creation project in summer 2003, was part of a LIFE-Nature project to create more reedbed habitat for Bitterns throughout England. The second phase of this project was completed in summer 2006 and was funded by English Nature through Defra's Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund. This has created an area of freshwater and reedbed that is large enough for 1 or 2 Bitterns to stay and boom, AND more wetland habitat for other rare species such as Marsh Harrier, Bearded Tit, Water Rail, Cettis Warbler, Water Vole, Medicinal Leech and Lesser Water Plantain.
There is a birdwatching hide overlooking the water near the castle, waterside walks and a viewpoint overlooking the reedbeds at the northern end. These can be visited through a network of public and permissive footpaths, but there are large areas where the wildlife is not disturbed. For the footpaths see our Maps page by clicking here.
A BIRD'S-EYE VIEW
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