Lord-Lieutenant opens community nature site

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The Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex, Lady Emma Barnard, officially opened Marina Farm, near Emsworth, on behalf of the Chichester Harbour Trust.

Marina Farm is a former brownfield site within the Chichester Harbour National Landscape that had been derelict for many years, until the opportunity finally arose for the Chichester Harbour Trust to buy it in 2022.

The Trust already holds the neighbouring property at Eames Farm, which is a haven for wildlife.

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Over the past year the Trust, together with its project partners, has carried out an extensive programme of clearance and restoration, to remove the derelict buildings and waste material.

Marina Farm Opening, L-R Nicky Horter, Lady Emma Barnard, John Nelson. (Kate L'Amie).Marina Farm Opening, L-R Nicky Horter, Lady Emma Barnard, John Nelson. (Kate L'Amie).
Marina Farm Opening, L-R Nicky Horter, Lady Emma Barnard, John Nelson. (Kate L'Amie).

The aim was to create a community nature space for local people to enjoy, with a public footpath running through it and new seating areas and information panels to help people learn about the area.

A new native woodland area was planted that will grow over time. A new English Oak framed gazebo was built to provide replacement nesting habitat for the migrating swallows that used the old stables at the property.

Overall this site provides a mixture of different habitats that will allow nature to thrive, particularly the wide range of birds, insects, (including rare solitary bee species) and reptiles that can be found here.

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The land will change and thrive over time, in the way that the Trust’s site at Maybush Copse, Chidham has done over recent years. We hope that you will all who visit will enjoy spending time in nature and learning about the wildlife that lives here.

The project was made possible with grant funding from; Chichester Harbour Conservancy’s FIPL scheme, Southern Water’s Nature Improvement scheme, The Friends of Chichester Harbour, Southbourne Parish Council and HM Government’s Trees Outside Woodlands programme facilitated through the District Council’s Tree Chichester District scheme. In addition, the project received significant individual contributions from the local community, for which we are enormously grateful.

As Lady Emma Barnard cut the ribbon to officially declare Marina Farm open, she said: “It is wonderful to see this partnership project come to fruition for the enjoyment of local people and for nature.”

This sentiment was echoed by John Nelson, Chairman of the Chichester Harbour Trust who said: “This is what the Trust does best – we are here to bring communities together to transform land such as this for future generations.”