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Wild Rye: Discover Our Wetland Wildlife

Bittern in Winter

Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund

In April 2002 a levy on aggregate extraction was introduced. Part of the money raised by this levy is being used to finance the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF). The aim of the ALSF is to address the environmental and social costs of aggregate extraction by delivering environmental improvements, minimising the demand for primary aggregates and reducing the local effects of aggregate extraction. English Nature has awarded Rye Harbour Nature Reserve three grants from the ALSF, because of the shingle extraction that took place in the last century.

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Click here for more information about ALSF.

The first project (November 2002 to March 2004) was called: Rye Bay - enhancing and promoting a shingle environment

This funding for Rye Harbour Nature Reserve was a rare and challenging opportunity to make some significant improvements. The maximum grant available from English Nature was £201,650, with the match funding of £12,550 provided by the Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.

Project description.

  • Create a shingle habitat and species inventory for Rye Bay.
  • Secure the future of the nationally rare shingle species by identifying suitable habitat management.
  • Restore or enhance the landform where possible, ie removing overburden at Castle Water.
  • Replace the oldest birdwatching hide, The Guy Crittall Hide, with a new one that will be accessible to wheelchairs and enable better school visits.
  • Replace the 6km of electric fencing that protects ground nesting birds from predators and disturbance.
  • Carry out grazing trials on shingle vegetation using goats and excluding rabbits.
  • Provide an education and information service to promote the history of the shingle coastline, its development, exploitation, management and its tremendous biodiversity.
  • Identify areas to be considered for designation for their shingle features and land purchase.

More detail can be seen by clicking here to our old website.

The second project (November 2004 to March 2005) was called: Rye Bay - enhancing and promoting a shingle environment 2

Project description.

The maximum grant available from English Nature was £41,559, with the match funding of £2194 provided by the Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve.

  • Maintain the education and information service to promote the history of the shingle coastline, its development, exploitation, management and its tremendous biodiversity.
  • Improve access for all and provide interpretation material for school groups and for visitors, including those with disabilities.
  • Protect rare shingle plants from rabbit grazing.

The third, and final, project (August 2005 to March 2007) is called: Rye Harbour - A Shingle Community

The maximum grant available from English Nature was £216,094 with the match funding of £33,725 provided by the Friends of Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, Sussex Ornithological Society and the Sussex Wildlife Trust. Click here to download project report (2MB).

Project description.

  • Create 5 hectares of reedbed and 50 new islands at Castle Water. This will help to meet Local Biodiversity Action Plan targets for reedbed and species such as Bittern, Water Vole, Medicinal Leech and several other rare and endangered species.
  • Encourage volunteer participation in management of the Nature Reserve.
  • Encourage specialist surveys of the shingle flora and fauna.
  • Extend the LNR program of events and activities, encouraging informal education and recreation.
  • Develop access for all, especially with tactile and auditory interpretation for the blind and hearing impaired. Develop this new website.
  • Support the Rye Harbour Heritage Group that was recently established to record the rich history of the area. This includes shingle extraction, fishing, Martello Towers, Blue Boulders, a Lifeboat Disaster, and war-time memories. Click here for details.
  • Support a youth project run by the local community, to record village heritage and the experiences of locals who worked in the aggregates industry (by sound recording, written and photographic media).