Sompting Brooks Nature Trail is located at the south end of Loose Lane, Sompting BN15 0DQ, and is open all year round.
Access is on foot only from the south end of Loose Lane. Do not park outside the flats at the end of Loose Lane as this area is reserved for local residents. Park along Loose Lane before the junction with Sylvan Road or preferably come by foot, bicycle or via public transport (the number 7 bus stops just outside the entrance).
The path is a farm track laid in sections with gravel and is somewhat uneven. Access might be difficult for wheelchairs or buggies, particularly in the winter.
The meadow area is about 6 HA with native wetland flowers and grasses in the new stream bank meadows, native wildflower meadow mixes in the former arable meadows.
We have used Emorsgate EM4 Meadow Mixture for wetter soil areas and Emorsgate EM5 for the drier and/or more loamy areas. Both mixes contain a good range of the wild flowers and grasses once common in unimproved flower-rich lowland meadows.
Former arable meadows are managed by regular grazing/cutting outside of flowering season, and the wetland meadows are seasonally controlled by volunteers (hand pulling/cutting) of over vigorous species as needed.
The wildflower meadow and stream banks now host four species of orchid; Southern March Orchid, Common Spotted Orchid, Pyramidal and Bee Orchid.
We have regular River Ranger volunteers sessions at the EPIC project site at Sompting Brooks. These run on the 3rd Sunday of the month and include seasonal habitat maintenance activities such as reed cutting, tree mulching & channel clearing.
The heritage art of scything dates back hundreds of years and is still a viable and sustainable method of land management today. With the move towards using less fossil fuel it offers a carbon neutral way to manage a habitat which is better for the environment and the wildlife within it.
It is possible to cut various areas such as longer grasses, wildflower meadows, waterside vegetation, orchards and private gardens. Without the need for power tools such as strimmers or mowers. Unlike power tools, there is very little maintenance required and it should last a lifetime, so it’s a good choice in the long term to save money.
Scythes can be used to create islands of wild flowers and longer grasses in rotation, which offers havens for pollinators and other wildlife. It is possible to cut up to three times a year in a mosaic pattern in order to stop some plants becoming too dominant or to allow wildflowers to be able to come though. One can work from the middle of an area outwards in order to allow living creatures in the cutting area the chance to escape. This mimics the use of grazing to maintain scrub areas where animals cannot be used.
A huge benefit of scything is the health and wellbeing of the scythe user versus the use of power tools. It is a great way to build up fitness and used correctly will not put any strain on the body. It is a wonderful and peaceful way to be part of the habitat that you are cutting without loud machinery and PPE including headphones and masks. This makes scything an ideal way for private garden owners, volunteers and green space groups to manage their areas independently.
On Thursday 7th September Stephan Gehrels from the Brighton Permaculture Trust came and delivered a Scythe training day to the Adur and Worthing Council Ranger team.
This was a ground-breaking day as it was the first council ranger team to take on this challenge and consider the use of scythes when possible in their work. It was a fantastic training day that I also attended as the Adur and Worthing Wildflower Trail Projects volunteer (link below)
During the day we learned how to use the scythe in various habitats as well as the method of cold forging known as ‘Peening’ in order to maintain and sharpen the scythe blade.
We came away fully able to use the tools safely. The lighter Austrian Scythes are available to buy from the BPT with the whole starter kit if keen to carry on scything. It is hoped that this sustainable training can be rolled out into the wider Community and further Scythe days can be organised via the Brighton Permaculture trust when the cutting season comes round again. (link below)
The group does meet up itself but is linked to Tarring Community Forum. The TCF meets every 2nd Tuesday of the month at 7 pm. The venue for meetings is West Worthing Baptist Church, South Street, Tarring, Worthing. Any FoTP members who are not able to attend the meetings are kept up to date with forthcoming events and become involved where they can.
The main aim of Friends of Tarring Park is to help maintain the park, notify any problems to the appropriate authority, and to make good use of the park by arranging Community events. Events include Easter Egg Hunt/Easter Bonnet Competition, Picnic in the Park and Carols in the Park. Also, a new event this year is ‘An Autumn Walk n the Park’. This involves an interesting and informative talk by an expert about the various trees in the park.
We hold monthly litter picks on every 2nd Saturday of the month from 10 am. These are advertised as being friendly and sociable. We encourage members of the local community to join in including children.
Tarring Park is situated between Church Road and South Street , Tarring. It leads onto Church House Gardens which is the home to Tarring Priory Bowls Club. As well as the lawn bowls green there are adjacent tennis courts. Within the park itself there s a children’s playground and a MUGA.
We are a small group who came together because we are interested in improving Southwick and Fishersgate green spaces for the well-being of people and pollinators alike. Our primary focus is sowing wildflowers and planting trees.
We work on St Aubyns in Fishersgate and now have a base near Eastbrook Manor Community Centre called The Secret Garden-Fishersgate. We support Layland Court pocket park, Manor Court garden and the Friends of Southwick Square. We are waiting on Impulse leisure centre in Southwick to plant an orchard and a wildflower meadow.
Breathing Spaces Community Flower Farm is located at the Maybridge Keystone Centre in Worthing. Breathing Spaces is now a Transition Town Worthing project and this is a volunteer-led community garden that provides the opportunity to connect with nature via tending a small urban flower farm There is space for growing wild flowers for the benefit of people and pollinators and this is being expanded in a strip along the back of the playing field.
Breathing Spaces Community Flower FarmProposed site for the new wildflower strip
Breathing Spaces started up a dedicated patch of around 4m2 and have already established wildflowers in other growing areas around fruit trees and in long grass areas. Using donated wildflower plants and collected seed, they are creating a vibrant wildflower habitat. The long grass is cut down at the end of the season and cleared away in the traditional hay cut method. Examples of species include Campion ‘ragged robin’, Red Valerian, Dock, Sorrel, Cowslips, Yarrow, Tansy, Knapweed, Cornflower and Wild carrot.
The site is open during Maybridge Keystone Centre opening hours, the hours can vary so it’s best to check first before visiting. The flower farm is not wheelchair accessible at present, (although the Woodland Garden which they also tend is). The site is accessed by walking across part of the playing field. The best time to see the wildflowers is around Early Summer.
Volunteers are welcome on Thursdays between March and December, 10:30-12:30.
Local residents at Ormonde Way, Shoreham have planted up 5 areas of wildflowers along the grass verge bordering Brighton Road and Ormonde Way. Now in their 2nd year, the beds are establishing well and have a good mixture of poppies, cornflowers and oxeye daisies among other wildflowers!
What initially was an attempt by local residents to discourage parking on the verges, has now flourished into a little patch of heaven for pollinators and now provides visual interest for residents.
Poppies and cornflowersDaisies
A good time to visit is during the summer when the flowers are in full flow, accessibility is good as it is located in a residential area with paved walkways.
The community wildflower patch at West Worthing Station is a relatively new area of planting totalling around 1M2 . It has been adopted by the Friends of West Worthing Station , with support from South East Communities Rail Partnership. The friends group have recently sown a seed mixture from the Friends of The Earth, plus an assortment of cornflowers and poppies. The group are hoping for a good display of wildflowers soon and are looking forward to develop the patch in the future. The volunteer group is an approved station partner, supported by the Southeast Communities Rail Partnership. Watch this space for more updates in the future!
Some cheery osteospermumA mixture of daisies and cornflowers
The community flower patch can be viewed from a public access ramp to the south east side of the main entrance.
Worthing Climate Action Network (WCAN) in collaboration with XR Worthing began a ‘Wilding Worthing’ petition to mark No Mow May in Spring last year, asking Adur & Worthing Councils and West Sussex County Council to stop mowing road verges so often and instead allow the wildflowers and grasses to grow. When the petition reached 1000 signatures last June it was presented to Worthing Council where it was accepted. Negotiations began with West Sussex Highways with the first trial Community Road Verge in Worthing being established on Goring Road.
Common MallowBirds Foot Trefoil starting to establish around the base of a tree
The site is comprised of several grassy verges along Goring Road between the Goring Shops and Shaftesbury Avenue, pedestrian accessibility is good due to the adjacent pavement. No seed has been sown at this site as it is hoped that the natural seedbank present in the soil will have the chance to establish with the reduced cutting regime. Already species such as Common Mallow, Birds Foot Trefoil, Ribwort Plantain and Daisies can be seen flourishing.
There will be only one cut a year to be undertaken in September. Volunteers will take away the grass cuttings in order to help keep the ground infertile, providing the best conditions for the wildflowers to thrive. Other verges are now being planned across the area.
Lancing Railway Station on Sompting Road and South Street, is home to two areas of planting maintained by the community group Keep Lancing Lovely. Established in 2014, Keep Lancing Lovely have 100+ volunteers from the local community engaging in many different projects to improve the appearance and environment of their local areas. In 2017 they were able to plant up two areas (totalling approximately 10M2) at the north side of the station with a selection of wildflowers, herbs and green manure plants like Phacelia. This has provided both habitat and forage plants for many different species of butterflies, bees and other insects. The rather rare Long Tailed Blue butterfly has been spotted in recent years. Area One is a brick built deep bed and Area Two is a fenced in area near the level crossing at the station.
A brick built flower bed planted with a variety of wildflowersBeautiful display of Borage, a firm favourite of Bees!
The areas are easily accessed by the public as the beds are situated on the outside boundary of the station grounds. There is a colourful display all year so there should be something to see most seasons.