AMBITIOUS restoration work scheduled to start on Monday is set to transform Midhurst’s South Pond into a wildlife haven for tourists and townspeople.
The £65,000 project is funded by grants of £25,000 from West Sussex County Council’s ‘Operation Watershed’ fund, £20,000 from the national park’s sustainable community fund and £15,000 from land-owners Chichester District Council.
It is the culmination of two years hard work by the South Pond Group and chairman Graham Ault said he was ‘thrilled and amazed’. He paid tribute to the ‘fabulous’ efforts of volunteers.
Midhurst musician Marco Frankland’s song ‘Coconut on the Common’ has been helping to inspire pupils who have been hard at work on Midhurst, Stedham and Iping Commons collecting birch in preparation for the South Pond restoration work which starts on Monday.
Marco was inspired to write the song after walking his dogs on the common and smelling the coconut vanilla scent given off by the gorse bushes.
It was one of five tracks on an EP called ‘The Nashville Sessions’ which he produced at a recording studio in Nashville in 2012.
Children at Midhurst, Easebourne and Stedham Primary and Conifers School have been on the commons with South Pond Group, South Downs National Park and Sussex Wildlife Trust volunteers collecting birch to make faggots.
These will be installed around the pond during the first phase of restoration work which is expected to take a month and includes removing all the silt.