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Looking at National Landscapes

The Glover Review promoted a shared Landscapes Service to give a bigger voice to the National Landscapes – designated National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). In case this becomes a reality, we are looking at other National Parks and AONBs in the UK in order to build links with them and their ‘Friends of’ groups. Join us as we begin this series by looking at Chichester Harbour.

Photo by Jeremy Bacon

Chichester Harbour AONB is a large natural harbour to the southwest of the city of Chichester on the river Solent. It is one of the few remaining undeveloped coastal areas in Southern England and remains relatively wild. Its wide expanses and intricate creeks are a major wildlife haven and among some of Britain’s most popular boating waters.

The harbour and surrounding land is managed by Chichester Harbour Conservancy. Its duty is the conservancy, maintenance and improvement of the Harbour and the Amenity Area for recreation and leisure, nature conservation and natural beauty. It is the statutory Harbour Authority and is responsible for the safety of navigation, the regulation of moorings, works and dredging, enforcement of harbour byelaws and the collection of dues and charges.

Harbour Dues paid by yachtsmen meet the cost of running the harbour, maintaining the navigation marks, controlling works and dredging and enforcing the byelaws.  Mooring charges meet the cost of maintaining and administering Conservancy moorings and mooring sites and contribute to the cost of running the Harbour.  Other income pays for environmental work such as tree planting, recording and surveying wildlife, footpath maintenance, providing information about the area and running the Education Centre.

Chichester Harbour is of national and international importance for landscape and nature conservation and is a special place for wildlife. A wide variety of animals, birds and other creatures live in and around the Harbour – some are very easy to spot, whereas others may be hidden in the intertidal mud or in the water, making them less obvious. 

Supporting the Conservancy, the Friends of Chichester Harbour was founded in 1987 as a focus for voluntary effort in the harbour, and to try to involve more people. The objectives of the new group were simple, “to provide a focus for and to encourage the development of voluntary activities in Chichester Harbour and its amenity area”. Initially, the emphasis was on practical work with the occasional social activity, such as boat trips and walks – a long way from the high-profile fund-raising organisation that now exists.

For example, the Friends of Chichester Harbour’s ‘Return of the Tern: Nature Recovery on the Southern Coastal Plain’ project has been awarded a grant of £182,300 from the Government’s £40 million second round of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

The project will focus on nature recovery along the south coast. It will also head inland west and east along wildlife corridors, to the foot of the South Downs. Placement of nine new tern rafts with remote-operated CCTV cameras at strategic harbour points is included in the project as well as conducting a small fish survey and reshingling Stakes Island and Ella Nore Spit and the appointment of a nature recovery officer.

Photo by Jeremy Bacon