The Arun Valley south and West of Arundel, its meadows, tributaries and surrounding woods and farmland, around the villages of Binsted and Tortington and across to Lyminster, offers a rich oasis of tranquil habitats amid the bustle of the Coastal Plain. Surprisingly its ecology has not up to now been extensively surveyed.
MAVES aims to gather, interpret and make appropriately accessible existing and new ecological data for the area. The information will be available in the public domain as a valuable history and record for use by local communities, educational projects, landowners and farmers.
Eight sectors have been identified for search – see overview map on the Home Page. These sectors have been chosen to take into account size and complexity (so a more uniform habitat can cover a larger area). Each sector is distinguished by land use, habitat types, elevation and orientation. We are grateful for the survey permissions already given by many landowners and occupiers.
Evidence based reports are being produced to include the following:
1) An ecological description of the Habitats in the area including comment on their status and importance (for example including any local and national designations and notes on priority habitats under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.
2) An audit of Species present in the area, including as many species groups as possible that are appropriate to the habitats present. This will include new or recent species records and historic records as available, with an interpretation of the importance of key species, and comments on the range of species diversity in the areas.
3) A commentary to evaluate and interpret the findings as regards Habitats and Species, which should where appropriate indicate:
Sensitive species data will be handled with appropriate confidentiality, for example by using generalized location information.
Our consultant ecologist Jackie Thompson has carried out a Phase 1 Habitat Survey as a scoping exercise to help direct future more detailed surveys.
Our volunteer or commissioned expert surveyors are carrying out surveys whenever they have the time, the time is right for the species, and it is not an inconvenient time for the landowner or occupier.
Early findings in 2015 and 2016 included a field with 500 orchids in it of two different species; other flowers more locally scarce such as bitter vetch and cow-wheat; a growing understanding of the local population of dormice; the exciting confirmation that water voles are still present in these Rifes; and the discovery, in just one night's survey in the western Binsted Woods area, of 13 species of bats including Bechstein's, Barbastelle and Alcathoe.
In order to protect wildlife and landowners from inappropriate interest in sensitive sites, survey data published on this site will not be specific as to location.