From cleaning beaches to restoring native woodland, we worked to conserve our environment.
An archaeological dig at the site of our multi-million pound wastewater treatment works in Peacehaven, Sussex, unearthed an Iron Age pot and vessels dating between 50BC and 50AD. The pots, which were believed to contain cremation remains, were found by members of Archaeology South East and will be passed to a local museum. The investigations also found evidence of Iron Age settlements and prehistoric pits – one dating from 3000 to 4000 BC contained a large quantity of worked flint and pottery.
A skylark nest was discovered at the Peacehaven site and work was halted to allow the fledglings time to safely fly the nest. The birds have been named as a conservation concern by the RSPB because their numbers have declined by more than half since the early 1980s.
Further along the coast, we supported divers from Worthing British Sub-Aqua Club in their work to clear rubbish, including a shopping trolley and plastic barrels, from their favourite diving wreck. The Belgian steamer Concha sank seven miles off the coast of Littlehampton in 1897.
On dry land, we sponsored the West Sussex Beach Wardens whose 65 volunteers work throughout the year to keep 44 miles of coastline clean and carry out wildlife surveys.
Our Testwood Lakes reservoir site, near Southampton, is managed by the Hampshire Wildlife Trust on our behalf. During the year, more than 3,000 children and young people attended educational sessions, including green woodworking, wildlife courses and bushcraft skills. On site, three oystercatcher chicks were raised and 76 Sand Martins fledged from the bank. Two new dragonfly species were recorded and the number of grass snakes increased.
We also supported the Rudgwick Biodiversity Project, near Horsham, and its work to create a wildlife haven in a piece of scrubland. The not-for-profit community project used our grants to transform the land and craft a natural bird hide from living willow. The site is open to the public and hosts educational projects.