Local Sussex Wildlife Trust Regional Group: Swifts and Wildflowers

Local Sussex Wildlife Trust Regional Group working for nature in Storrington

Swift nest boxes – helping swifts find a home

man up ladder installing swift boxes on Storrington Village Hall

If you are walking past the Village Hall this week, you might notice a new addition to the front of the building. A brand new deluxe swift box home for two nesting pairs. What is more there is another just like it on the side of the building as well.

The trustees of the Village Hall gave permission for the local Sussex Wildlife Trust Regional Group to put these boxes up on the Village Hall, as it is perfectly situated next to one of the few remaining swifts nesting sites in the village. Even more exciting news is that the Group has just completed the installation of a further 29 single swift boxes at prime locations around the village.

Screaming Swifts are one of the sounds of summer that stay with us through dark and dreary winter months and help us look forward to warmer times. These birds and others such as Swallows and House Martins travel thousands of miles from Africa to breed in the UK, staying with us for a relatively short time. Unfortunately, these birds have suffered significant declines over the years – with Swifts declining by almost 60% in 40 years and now part of the UK’s Red list.

The swift populations in Storrington and surrounding villages are in desperate need of a helping hand. A lack of nest sites has been shown to be one of the possible causes of their decline. After many hours of surveying our delightful summer visitors, the Group asked local residents for volunteers to host swift boxes on their homes. Many residents came forward and offered to be hosts. Funding was then sought and successfully obtained from the Wilder Horsham District Project.

Wilder Horsham District is an innovative five-year partnership between Sussex Wildlife Trust and Horsham District Council working to deliver a Nature Recovery Network for Horsham District. Working closely with local communities and landowners, the project aims to reverse the decline in species and habitats and enrich the natural environment for all residents and visitors.

Over the last three weeks all 29 boxes have been installed as well as the two deluxe boxes on the Village Hall and the Group is now looking forward to the arrival of the swifts and anxiously hoping they will soon be taking up residence in their new homes. Our thanks to Wilder Horsham District for making this possible.

Wildflowers for wildlife

packets of seeds for wildlife

Another project which the local Sussex Wildlife Trust Regional Group has initiated this year is designed to encourage people to sow a mini wildflower patch in their gardens. Known as the “One metre challenge”, the group prepared seed packets with sufficient seeds to make a square metre of UK native wild flowers, (like poppies, corncockle and ox-eye daisies) and distributed these to many local groups of young people. More than 250 seed packets have now been distributed across Storrington and other local villages. The last few packets will be available from Storrington Library from 17 April.

With more than 90% of UK wildflower meadows lost since the 1950s, we need to do what we can as gardeners to bring UK native wildflowers back into our lives. The purchase of the seeds and all the materials was funded by a generous donation from the Waitrose Community Matters Fund. We would like to thank Waitrose for this and for their continued support.

Submitted to the Storrington Community Website using the News Item contact form.

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