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Harbour CHIRP - September

Harbour CHIRP - September
Photo copyright Chichester Harbour Conservancy

Welcome and introduction

Welcome to September’s edition of Harbour CHIRP. With the kids going back at school, it’s an ideal time for parents and grandparents to learn something too. Why not improve your knowledge of the Harbour and discover some of the archaeology here?

Judi is sharing her knowledge about the Chichester Harbour Trail - a 38 mile walk around the shore, spread over three days from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th September. This coincides with Outstanding Week and booking is essential – don’t miss out!

You can also learn about the coastal industry in days gone by. The Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network (CITiZAN) has been recording archaeological features around the UK for two years. An archaeologist is leading a walk around Prinsted on Wednesday 13th September. This walk is free, courtesy of CITiZAN. Please book on the Events page of their website.

If you enjoy Roman history, you can learn about life on the Warblington Estate at an exhibition at the Emsworth Museum. It features a unique, exciting find and is well worth a visit. The exhibition runs until 1st October - check opening times here.

You can find out about Maritime Archaeological Discoveries - see article below. We hope you enjoy learning about the Harbour. You can share your stories with your children and grandchildren when they come home from school!

National News – AONBs across the UK celebrate Outstanding Week

AONBs across the UK are celebrating Outstanding Week with the National Association of AONBs (NAAONB) from 16th – 23rd September.

There are 46 AONBs in our ‘family’ and they offer plenty of opportunities for both people and wildlife to benefit from our countryside. These vibrant, living landscapes also underpin our economy and can improve the health and wellbeing of our society. Now that’s worth celebrating!

Judi is leading a 3-day walk during Outstanding Week and there are events all over the country – why not visit another AONB?

Local News – Gillian Keegan MP visits the Harbour

Gillian Keegan, the new MP for the Chichester Constituency visited the Harbour Office last month to meet Richard Craven, the Director and Harbour Master and two members of the Conservancy committee, Chairman Roger Price and West Sussex County Councillor Peter Montyn.  It was great to see Gillian arrive by boat after being taken on a tour around the Harbour by Chichester Harbour Trust.

Richard gave an overview of our work and Gillian took great interest, asking lots of questions and she was eager to learn about the issues that affect the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. These include water quality and the impact on the AONB of any proposed improvements to the A27. She promised to stay in touch and we hope she will visit our Brent Goose Day on the 13th February 2018.

More interesting archaeological finds

The Warblington Estate exhibition features in our introduction and there’s another opportunity to learn about archaeology on Thursday 5th October.

This time, it’s a talk about Maritime Archaeological Discoveries. Historic Environment Fisheries Liaison Officer, Alistair Byford-Bates will be sharing some of the finds from the Fishing Industry Protocol for Archaeological Discoveries (FIPAD) project.

He works with fishermen and encourages them to report any archaeological finds they discover whilst fishing. Several exciting items have been discovered and Alistair has recently produced a newsletter.

His talk is a chance to find out more about the secrets of the sea bed. Book your place early!

Photo: Canon, courtesy of FIPAD

New Management Plan for Chichester Harbour AONB

Richard Austin – AONB Manager

Chichester Harbour is unique in the AONB family because it is the only Statutory Harbour Authority with management responsibilities for an AONB. Every five years, the Conservancy has a statutory duty to publish a new Management Plan for Chichester Harbour.

This strategic partnership document details how the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty will be looked after by everyone. The current Management Plan is operational until 31st March 2019 but this month we begin work on the next Management Plan, which will run from April 2019 until March 2024.

This may seem a long way ahead, but we need to allow sufficient time to review the current plan, outline any suggested changes, engage with local people and stakeholders, consult over the draft new document and incorporate any changes.

All of this takes time, hence why we’re starting now! Next year, there will be opportunities for you to have your say as the plan starts to take shape. We look forward to working with you in 2018.

Natural England carries out environmental assessments

Richard Austin – AONB Manager

Chichester Harbour is protected by a number of environmental  designations and forms part of the Solent Maritime Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The Solent and its inlets are unique in Britain and Europe for their hydrographic regime of four tides each day, and for the complexity of the marine and estuarine habitats.

The area has been designated for 11 features – one unusual feature is a sandy ‘reef’ of the small, tube-building polychaete worm, Sabellaria spinulosa or Ross worm, located on the steep eastern side of the entrance to Chichester Harbour.

Natural England (NE) is responsible for assessing the condition of designated sites and has reviewed the way these assessments are conducted to ensure that clear, accessible results are available so that stakeholders and partners can manage them properly.

The Solent Maritime SAC is one of the first sites to undergo a revised condition assessment and NE has completed their initial assessment. This now requires a quality check and any evidence gaps need to be addressed but NE hopes to complete the assessment by the end of 2017.

Photo: Sandy reef and Sabellaria spinulosa - Paula Lightfoot/Natural England

Protecting our seals for the future

Pete Hughes – Ecologist

We have been monitoring the changes to the seal population of Chichester and Langstone Harbours, in partnership with Langstone Harbour Board and this has been slowly and steadily growing over the past 20 years.

There are now about 50-60 animals present in the summer months. Most of these are Harbour Seals, with up to 7 or 8 Grey Seals. In recent years, the Harbour Seals have bred, with young pups being born in mid summer.

They can be encountered anywhere in the Harbour, but are mostly seen hauled out on mudbanks at low tide. Haul-out sites are vitally important to the seals, as this is when they rest and digest their food, breed and moult. All of this means that the time they spend out of water must be free from disturbance.

We know that a significant number of Harbour users come to view the seals when they are hauled-out.  If you are out and about, whether in a motor boat, kayak, canoe or on a paddle board, please read and obey the Solent Seals Code of Conduct.

Behaving responsibly when approaching or viewing these beautiful animals will help ensure we have a thriving seal population for many years to come.

Seen a hedgehog?

Judith Meagher – Project Officer

Last month, the IAAF World Championships chose ‘Hero the hedgehog’ as one of their mascots and made the country smile with his antics.

Hedgehogs are under threat and Hedgehog Street is a lovely initiative which was set up in 2011 to help them and record sightings.

I was lucky enough to see one in my garden recently (I heard its rustling before I saw it!) so I reported my sighting on the interactive map on the website. It was really easy and only took a few moments.

Barriers, such as garden fences can block potential routes and Hedgehog Street aims to create ‘hedgehog streets’ to give them a better chance of survival.  They’ve produced lots of information on what to do to help and you can even become a Hedgehog Champion! Click here to find out more.

A successful year for canoe safaris

Judi Darley – Communities Officer

The canoe safaris have been very well attended this year, with up to 12 people signed up for every session.

The canoes are rafted up - an easy way to keep everyone together and ensure a safe trip.  I gave a brief talk on wildlife in the Harbour before we set up and launched so everyone knew what to look out for.

We paddled to Bosham and Itchenor and included a welcome stop for ice creams!

We have one more canoe safari coming up on Saturday 9th September – please book a place as it is great fun.

Keeping the crabs happy at our crabbing competition

Judi Darley – Communities Officer

We only managed to hold one of our two crabbing competitions this summer. Sadly the first was cancelled due to gale force winds, but the second was well attended - over 80 attendees and 38 youngsters took part in the competition.

The aim was to encourage everyone to keep a single crab in their bucket and not put lots of them on top of each other – crabs like their space and this would be very stressful for them.

The crabs were measured along the widest part of their bodies and the two winners were 73mm.  The competition will definitely be back again next summer so keep an eye out for the date.

Archaeology in the Manhood Peninsula

Archaeology in the Manhood Peninsula

The Manhood Peninsula is a large peninsula of land to the south of Chichester. The name is thought to derive from the Anglo-Saxon maene-wudu meaning ‘common wood’. It has long been known as a particularly attractive area because of its fertile soils and its rich, varied natural resources. This popularity is borne out by concentrations of archaeological sites and... Read More»

Solar Boat

Solar Boat

There are many environmental benefits to be found when using an electrically driven Solar Powered catamaran as opposed to more conventional fuel driven vessels: · Silent running – therefore no disturbance to birds, animals or humans · No exhaust emissions – therefore no CO2 contribution to greenhouse gases · The twin hull configuration contributes two major benefits; tremendous stability and no wash.... Read More»

Maritime History

Maritime History

For most of its history, Sussex has been an agricultural county. The Chichester area, with the fertile coastal plain for arable and the Downs for sheep and cattle grazing, has long been one of the richest in agricultural terms. Just as the medieval sea trades were based on wool, Chichester Harbour’s sea trade from the 17th to the early... Read More»