Community Works Together to Restore West Wittering Wetland

The Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group’s ‘FLOW Project’ received welcome help from West Wittering residents to transform a neglected wild area into a site managed for wildlife. 

Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group (MWHG) volunteers worked with residents from West Wittering to give an untended and overgrown wetland area a new lease of life. By cutting back bramble and fallen trees, creating a dead hedge and multiple log piles for insects and birds, they revealed an attractive wetland that will provide a home for wildlife for generations to come.  The work took place on land owned by Cakeham Manor Estate between The Wad and Beach Road. 

A year earlier, as part of the Heritage Lottery funded Fixing and Linking Our Wetlands (FLOW) Project, ditches and hedgerow across the entire parish of West Wittering were surveyed. It was then that the wetland was identified as having potential for improvement. 

A stream that runs through the site was completely shaded by bramble, dead trees and ivy.  The team of experienced wildlife volunteers from the MWHG worked with residents to open up the banks and let light flood in. This will enable a greater range of plants to grow on the ground and provide food for insects and birds.  Dead trees and brambles were turned into homes for hedgehogs, small mammals and invertebrates.  It is hoped that with time the rare water vole may extend its range to this site.

One resident that got involved said “the area has had an amazing transformation. I will watch with interest over the coming months to see what it looks like with the extra light and fewer brambles”. 

Through the project several sites across the Manhood Peninsula are being recovered to provide better wildlife habitats, assets for communities to visit and enjoy, and to improve capacity for holding water during high rainfall events. 

Apart from working very hard for three days, the team enjoyed lots of cake, toasted marshmallows, hot drinks and laughter.  FLOW Project Manager, Jane Reeve, said “we always aim to make volunteer tasks fun and it is a great way of getting to know new people, carrying out satisfying work, and learning about wildlife and the environment around us.  We provide copious cake and tea and always leave feeling great and knowing we have made a difference.  We would love to have new volunteers help us tackle summer surveys and restoration of more sites this autumn”. 

For more information on how to get involved in the work of the community led conservation organisation and the FLOW Project visit or find MWHG on Facebook.