There is a fantastic conservation group in Bognor Regis ~ The Friends of Bersted Brooks.
Bersted Brooks is a 19-hectare site comprising 3 fields alongside the north-east bank of the Aldingbourne Rife, between the road bridges in Rowan Way & Shripney Lane in North Bersted, Bognor Regis, West Sussex. The land is owned & managed by Arun District Council’s Parks & Green Spaces Department, with projects decided upon by the Friends of Bersted Brooks, often in direct response to requests from visitors to the Brooks. The area has a wide variety of valuable wildlife habitats including mature trees, hedgerows, ditches, scrub & wetland. Bersted Brooks is now classified as a Local Nature Reserve, which is a wonderful achievement for such a small group.
The Friends group has been formed by local people wanting to preserve Bersted Brooks as an area where, without too much interference to its natural state, wildlife will be protected by maintaining the site in such a way that it will flourish. We have already sown native meadow plants to encourage more insects & birds into the area; renovated an ancient pond in one of the fields; & are working with the Environment Agency to create managed reed beds to further improve the biodiversity of the area.
In the autumn/winter of 2004/5 volunteers, helped by The Woodland Trust & the BTCV, planted 11,000 young native trees on the site to start making a small wooded area. The volunteers also planted hundreds of wildflower plugs to enhance the existing plants. Since then there has been more planting, including the start of a fruiting hedge near the new ponds in Field 1.
Our Members share an interest in local wildlife, together with a keenness to preserve it before it’s gone forever, with the ultimate aim of making Bersted Brooks an area for education & recreation as a local nature reserve. However, we realise this is a long-term project that can’t be hurried.
There is a pathway around part of the perimeter of the field nearest the car park, which we hope to extend to a full circuit of the field this year. This will make the Brooks accessible to visitors all year round and make at least some of the site ‘wheelchair friendly’, so that people with disabilities and families with young children in pushchairs can enjoy the site too. Bersted Brooks is a tranquil place for people of all ages to enjoy & to treasure for generations to come.
For up-to-date news about the Friends of Bersted Brooks go to the news page.