Local Green Spaces

A number of areas important to the residents of Barnham and Eastergate have been designated and approved within the Neighbourhood Plan as Local Green Space and are therefore protected. The National Planning Policy Framework paragraph 76 states that “by designating land as Local Green Space communities will be able to rule out development other than in very special circumstances and that Local Green Space should be mangaged in line with policy for Green Belts.

 

1. Murrells Field

This large area is the largest public use pleasure, recreational and leisure land in the village of Barnham. It has a multi use games area, fitness trail, football pitches and children’s playground. It has footpaths around the outer perimeters, which are extremely popular with walkers and dog walkers. It hosts the annual bonfire and fireworks and summer fairs. The area is also home to a variety and numerous number of trees and hedges and supports a range of wildlife.

 

This is designated as Local Green Space because of its significant recreational value.

 

2. Eastergate Sports Field

 

This sports field is the only public use field in Eastergate and is used for football and village fetes. It is popular with dog walkers and with people wishing to exercise.

 

This is designated as Local Green Space because of its significant recreational value.

 

3. The Line of the Portsmouth and Arundel Canal

 

The Portsmouth and Arundel Canal along with the Wey and Arun Canal formed part of the route of the early 19th century industrial waterway linking Portsmouth to London.

A public footpath follows the line of entire length of the canal. The line of the canal stretches from west to east across the southern landscape of Barnham Parish. It shows the open farmland to the south and views of some of Barnham’s historic buildings and the South Downs in the distance to the north.

The tow path and bed of the canal are clearly visible for much of the route and the remains of several swing bridges are evident. The footpath is popular with walkers and bird watchers and gives a home to a wide range of flora and fauna. Consequently it is an important link to the ecological and industrial heritage and a tourist attraction.

 

This is designated as Local Green Space because of its significant recreational value, historic significance and tranquillity.

 

4. The Rife

 

Home to a variety of fauna and flora the Rife has been designated as a Biodiversity Opportunity Area due to the rich variety of birdlife on the water, banks and surrounding fields. The rife should be designated Local Green Space to ensure its importance for animals and birds. It is also connected by public footpaths and cycle paths and is much valued by residents for its tranquility and access to the countryside.

 

This is designated as Local Green Space because of its significant natural wildlife character and interest and its importance to residents and their connection to the countryside surrounding the villages.

 

5. Nanny Copse and Land west of Nanny Copse and east of Barnham Lane

 

There are very few examples of ancient woodland remaining in any area bordering the South Coast. Within the parishes of Barnham and Eastergate lies two such precious sites, one is Hedge End wood and the other is Nanny Copse wood.

Nanny Copse and the land to its west and east of Barnham Lane is known as “the triangle”. The designation of ancient woodland status signifies its importance not only as a heritage site but also for nature conservancy and ecological diversity, as such sites tend to be richer in terms of species composition and the natural resources required to support and sustain a rich diversity of wildlife.

Although there are tree preservation orders in place the open countryside surrounding the Copse acts as its protector. Apart from being prime grade 2 land, a natural flood defence for the village and part of the village gap, it serves as a natural barrier to human intrusion and the possible damage this can cause. The scenic amenity however is maintained because of the open aspect of the landscape and the close proximity of both Barnham Lane and Lake Lane, allowing pleasant views by both vehicle and pedestrian travellers.

The area’s significance as a place of historic or archaeological interest is unknown although surmise to say its name may give us a tentative link to its past, that is as a worked coppicing wood, and give us an insight into how we (people) interacted with it. If this is the case Nanny Copse could contain a wealth of cultural history just waiting to be brought to light.

 

This is designated as Local Green Space because of its significant natural wildlife character and interest and its Ancient Woodland status.

 

6. Land north of Barnham Road and east of Fontwell Avenue

 

This land opens out to the north of Eastergate giving views of the South Downs. It is an area of ancient orchards and is home to a large variety of wildlife. It is crossed by a footpath well used by residents and provides easy access to the countryside.

This is designated as Local Green Space because of its proximity to the community, significant natural wildlife character and interest.

 

7. Land south of Barnham Road

 

The District Council in its Local Plan (both drafts) expresses a wish to provide a Green Infrastructure Network from the coast to the South Downs in order to prevent the fragmentation of important wildlife species. The land south of the villages with fields (often flooded), meadows, hedges, copses, rifes and ditches provide a rich resource of wildlife especially birds. Recent evidence from Sussex Ornithological Society indicates large numbers of ducks and wading birds in these fields, especially when flooded. e.g. over 200 wigeon, 60 shoveler, 120 tufted duck, 300 lapwing, 70 golden plover, 60 whimbrel. Sightings of rare birds of prey (hen harrier, marsh harrier, red kite, short-eared owl and even osprey) have also been recorded. Developers of an adjacent plot of land (Brooks Nursery) admitted that they found 70 reptiles. This area also borders the main historical conservation areas of Eastergate and Barnham.

Although not a designated wildlife site, the characteristics of this match the criteria for all the Type A GI Corridors, specified in draft 1 of the Local Plan.

The land is crossed by public footpaths and links up to the Rife and to the The Portsmouth and Arundel Canal making a circular walk of much interest which is used by residents and visitors.

This is designated a Local Green Space on account of its beauty, natural biodiversity particularly in relation to the variety and number of birdlife; its importance to maintaining the continuity of a GI Corridor linking the Downs to the coast; the natural flood plain that it provides for the protection of Bognor Regis and Felpham from surface water run off and potential flood water when the rifes overflow; and for providing a clear open view towards the coast into and from the heritage parts of the two villages.

 

8. Hedge End Wood

 

The ancient woodland known as Hedge End Wood is bordered on one side by Hedge End estate and the other side by the Farnhurst estate. This woodland, with paths, has a variety of trees species growing in it including Oak, Ash, Maple, Holly, Hazel and a few Apple, Elder, and Yew. Ground plants include Bluebells, Bramble, Old Man’s Beard, Wild Garlic, Nettles, Wood Anemone, and Ivy. It also is home to a large variety of birds including woodpeckers, wrens and rooks. At the North end of the wood it looks over farm fields with views of the South Downs.

The rife (stream) runs on one side of the wood, over ground, and then through a weed screen and underground through a large pipe to join up with other rifes. If the weed screen becomes blocked or the flow of water is too much for the pipe to cope with, the water will flood the wood, this being an important part in flood defence at times of heavy rain.

This is designated as Local Green Space because of its proximity to the community, its significant natural wildlife character and interest and its Ancient Woodland status.