Work underway to revive habitat within Horsham farm

JPCT 100914 S14382261x Chesworth Farm, Horsham.  Tim Thomas of Friends of Chesworth Farm. Wetlands Project, -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141009-161447001

JPCT 100914 S14382261x Chesworth Farm, Horsham. Tim Thomas of Friends of Chesworth Farm. Wetlands Project, -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141009-161447001

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Grass snakes, dragonflies and frogs are set to be among the range of species in a visitor-friendly redeveloped habitat within Chesworth Farm.

The ongoing ‘Wetlands Project’ aims to revive the natural habitat of Riverside Field, which runs parallel with the River Arun inside the 90-acre Horsham farm.

The project has been organised by Horsham District Council and Friends of Chesworth Farm.

Council-owned cattle are set to be reintroduced to the targeted fields, along with new pathways, information boards and observation points for visitors to the area.

Tim Thomas, of Friends of Chesworth Farm, said plant and wildlife have already been sighted in the fields.

He said: “We know the area does support things like dragonflies and damselflies - we have seen two species of dragonfly that are a beautiful metallic blue. Both are on the edge of their Sussex range.

“Swallows and martins are already dipping into the water to drink.

“The frogs in here are just amazing - there are frogs everywhere only a week after they took the vehicles away.”

Damselflies, mice, grass snakes and a variety of birds including herons could be sighted on the fields.

Many of the species are declining locally or nationally, and some are only common in Sussex.

Ponds and different types of grassland are expected to encourage wildlife - 104 species of plant have been recorded in the fields this year alone.

Funds have been raised through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arun and Rother Connections Project.

Public access to the site has been an area of focus, with those behind the project hoping to attract families and wildlife enthusiasts to the site.

Tim said: “We are really trying to open up the area for a much wider audience.

“With the information available to the public, I think it will become quite popular.”

Work is expected to be finished at the site later this year.