Friday, 28 January 2011

RSPB Lydden Valley Reserve

On Thursday night (27th) Bob Gomes of the RSPB gave a talk on the RSPB’s Lydden Valley Reserve (Worth Marsh) at the Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory. Here'a a brief summary of what was presented
The RSPB have so far purchased 3 tranches of land. “Willow Farm” – the area west of the Ancient Highway and viewable from Mary Bax, “Blue Pigeon Farm” – a smallish area sandwich between the railway and the Env Agency track that leads from the Blue Pigeons to Roaring gutter (The Pinnock Way) and “Minnis Farm” - the largest area and which is to the west of the Pinnock Way and includes “Great Wood”.
Willow Farm and Blue Pigeon’s have already had some work done on them clearing ditches and digging rills but Minnis Farm has not yet been touched.
Whilst the RSPB now owns Minnis Farm the actual handover to the RSPB is taking place over a 5 year period to allow the farmer an orderly exit from farming the area and to allow the required planning permissions to be obtained (drains/ditches and a footpath will need to be moved).

In general land is going to be improved to encourage the breeding of waders – primarily snipe, redshank and lapwing but seeing as these waders have different requirements the habitat will need to be varied – it seems lapwing like short grass, redshank somewhat longer grass and snipe very rank/wet areas. Grass length will be managed by periodic grazing. The improvements will also include the reintroduction of wild flowers to allow the insect population to increase.
Minnis Farm will be where the most dramatic transformations take place - a 10 hectare lagoon and reed bed will be created on this section of the reserve. This will be placed on the lowest part of reserve (more or less due south of Great Wood) but its creation means re-routing some of the drains and the footpath that runs from the Pinnock Way and Worth Village.

Public Access.
At the moment the only public access will be via the existing footpath system. The main hope is that the RSPB can purchase or gain use of land between Roaring Gutter and Fowlmead and establish a track to link Fowlmead with the Pinnock Way.
If this can be achieved then parking (and visitor centre?) will be at Foulmead.  An access route via Worth will not be built.
Finally there was no discussion of hides etc.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Steve, very informative, I was stuck at home with the flu again!