Bringing back the birds to Arundel

A grant from the South Downs Trust Sustainable Communities Fund has been awarded to the Arundel Community Orchard Group to help the town become a haven for wildlife.
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According to folklore, the name Arundel is derived from the French hirondelle meaning swallow and indeed, the bird appears prominently on the town’s coat of arms. Yet the number of swallows, swifts and house martins has been in sharp decline in Arundel, as across the country. That is all set to change, due to a new grant from the South Downs Trust Sustainable Communities Fund.

The grant has been awarded to the Arundel Community Orchard Group to support Greening Arundel (a newly-formed alliance of local organisations involved in greening initiatives), which aims to help the town become a haven for wildlife.

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Located as it is near the river and adjacent to farmland, the Community Orchard provides an ideal location for the planned installation of a house martin tower, which should provide a home for new colonies not only of house martins, but also bats.

House Martin Feeding ChicksHouse Martin Feeding Chicks
House Martin Feeding Chicks

Outgoing co-chair of the Community Orchard Group, Nell Patton welcomed the award of the grant and declared that, "the tower will be a beacon, a landmark, a visible symbol of what Greening Arundel is achieving for the improvement of the town's environment and bio-diversity."

The initiative is being guided by Paul Stevens, Hirundine Champion for Sussex Ornithological Society. In cooperation with long-standing local residents, Paul has been surveying the locations of existing and past colonies, as well as assessing other conducive locations in Arundel. Paul will present his findings on Monday 23 October from 7pm at Fauna Taproom in the town

Local residents will be encouraged to “Bring Back the Birds” by signing up to have nest cups and boxes installed on their property.

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Councillor Carole Beaty, a member of the Greening Arundel committee, commented: “We are thrilled that our aim to make Arundel a haven for wildlife is being supported by the South Downs, as well as the Royal Horticultural Society. Swallows, swifts and house martins were at the heart of Arundel in the past and, through this new initiative, we aim to ensure that they will be an integral and thriving part of our future too.”

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