The Arun valley holds the ancient flood-meadows of the great river, but also, especially in the Binsted area, a fascinatingly complex tracery of small chalkstream valleys and the streams known as 'Rifes', notably the Binsted Rife and the Tortington Rife. Running through woodlands, fens and grazing marshes, and linking ponds, these water bodies are a key supporting feature of the amazing biodiversity of this area.
In July 2016 with the kind agreement of the landowner, a joint MAVES and SDNPA working group visited the Boomerang field site and adjacent seminatural garden and pond, to assess possible volunteer action to conserve and enhance its already impressive wildlife value.
Flora seen included gipsywort and water forget-me-not, and butterflies included comma, silver washed fritillary, large and small white, red admiral, meadow brown. The combination of sallows and tall oaks makes this a likely breeding spot for Purple Emperor. There is a large pond with scalloped edges, adjacent to a watercourse leading in to reed beds suitable for reed buntings and warblers.
Invasive non native species were also found: parrot-feather, and montbretia. The pond is also somewhat over-shaded so its potential for wildlife could be increased by reducing this. An action plan was drawn up by National Park Ranger Sam Buckland, and can be viewed here.
The plan was carried out in August/September 2016: parrot feather weed was removed, and willows cut back to let more light in to the pond. Great work.