Thorness Bay Saltmarsh

One of the very few active ‘managed retreat’ projects currently underway in the Solent. Gift to Nature has worked with two landowners and Natural England for around a decade to undertake the feasibility study and then arrange the delivery of a project that to see 30ha of reclaimed SSSI grazing land with overlapping European conservation designations returned to tidal creek, a priority habitat.

saltmarshGift to Nature has funded different parts of this ambitious work through lottery, Leader+ and countryside stewardship (Defra). The project has been visited by students and staff from Southampton University and by delegates from SCOPAC as well as hosting a research visit by Environment Agency staff. The site includes a section of the coastal path and is close to Thorness Bay Holiday Park where we have worked with park management (in part through their participation in the David Bellamy Awards scheme) and the AONB Partnership to manage visitor pressure along this ecologically sensitive dune and shingle beach. All of the major habitat and drainage works are now in place though there is scope to further enhance these. Annual monitoring is undertaken as far as budgets allow.