The next stage of improvement work at Midhurst’s South Pond is to start before Christmas with more of the controversial reed sweet grass being removed to clear viewpoints.
The underwater rolls that the plants are rooted in will also be removed, as will more silt, which will be used to help stop regrowth of sweet grass along the bank.
Meanwhile, on the southern bank, the netting around the reed bed is being removed and some of the smaller willow trees will be coppiced to help clear views. The low fencing will remain in place until the planting is more established.
The work will be carried out by contractors Land and Water – appointed by the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) and Chichester District Council (CDC) – in partnership with the South Pond Volunteer Group.
With dredging taking place, there may be some mess in the short-term, said the national park, but people will start to see improvements in the spring.
Andrew Lee, director of countryside for the SDNPA, said: “We know how much South Pond means to the people of Midhurst and we are working with CDC and the volunteers, who kindly give up their time, to make it both a natural place for people to enjoy and a home for wildlife in the heart of the community. In the longer-term we look forward to it being a joy for grandparents to take their grandchildren for walks here and a place where schoolchildren can discover a variety of wildlife.”
Councillor Roger Barrow, cabinet member for contract services at CDC, said: “It’s important to understand this project will take time and so the desired results won’t happen immediately.”
The South Pond volunteers continue to give up their time to carry out a wide range of work. In 2017 they have put up bat and bird boxes, started a monthly bee survey, monitored water quality, removed weeds and cleared litter.
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