We have opened the hides at the Restharrow Scrape reserve.
We met with environmental health personnel from Dover District Council to discuss what we could reasonably do to ensure the safe re-opening of the reserve.
Please follow the protocol below to make sure everyone can be safe:
Protocol in place for the use the Restharrow Scrape reserve during coronavirus (COVID‑19)
You use the hides at your own risk
However the following protocols are in place to help keep everyone safe:
- Do not enter the reserve if you or anyone you live with has any of the symptoms of Covid-19
- A maximum of six visitors may be in the hide at any one time
- Wear face coverings in the hides
- Use the hand sanitiser provided on entry and on exit from the hide
- Keep a 2 metre distance from other users of the hide
- Only remain in the hide for 15 minutes if others are waiting to enter
- Only use your own optics
- Open the viewing flaps on entry to the hide and close on exit
- There is a bucket with spray and cloths in each hide for you to use if required
- The reserve will be closed again if the measures put in place are not adhered to by visitors
The Yellow Bartsia on 30 June 2020 taken by Steffan:
Sue Buckingham, plant recorder for Kent, visited on 19 June 2020:
“I was pleased to see the Southern Marsh orchids doing well also Yellow Bartsia and Hay Rattle. Of course the poppies have been very spectacular on the sandy perimeter banks and I was also interested to see other cornfield associates – Corn Spurrey (which is on Kent Rare Plant Register) Hairy Buttercup which likes wet disturbance and tends to be an arable weed in the Weald. I looked up Ken Chapman’s entry for that in the Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory Plant List:
32.9 Hairy Buttercup (Ranunculus sardous Crantz) Native. Local in the area. Mainly recorded from the southern end of the Royal St George’s Golf Course where it grows in damp, grazed pasture areas. Past records have included sites at Mary Bax’s, along the Ancient Highway and on Worth Marshes, (SBBO).
Also Field Pansy and Scarlet Pimpernel. Interesting to see how Toad Rush takes over on the path around. It loves wet sand and will gradually disappear. Nice to see a bit of Grass Vetchling – Lathyrus nissolia.”
The Field Pansy and Scarlet Pimpernel are relicts of the area’s past as an arable field. You can see Sue’s full list here : Plant list 202006
as this photo from Roger Jones shows:
Birds are breeding:
The wardening team are recording the breeding attempts on the scrape. They are using this simplified plan for this:
The wardening team are visiting as part of their daily census rounds.
An update from 28 April from Steffan:
Water levels are at 220. There are good edges to the islands. All of the lower islands are still just below the water level. The banks and sides of the paths are greening up.
There were Brent Goose, three Bar-tailed Godwits, and two Dunlins on there this lunchtime. Plus 29 Great Black-backed Gulls which is probably a record total for the Scrape. Gulls have started using the roof of the Vida Madell hide as a daytime roost!
Breeding activity so far:
- brood of 13 Mallard ducklings
- at least five pairs of Coots on nests
- two pairs of Moorhens on nests
- Oystercatchers are on eggs
- territorial pair of Lapwings but no evidence of nest yet
- Little Grebes were nestbuilding but Coots destroyed it
- Canada Geese were on the nest but may have abandoned
- up to eight Gadwall and 20 Tufted Ducks so they will probably be nesting somewhere and maybe Greylag Geese too
- at least 8, poss 10, nests of Black-headed Gulls
In the week up to 28th April the waders on the Scrape were: Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Common Sandpiper, Redshank, and Dunlin.
Some photos taken on 6th April by Steffan including our first proven breeding since the renovation/expansion:
The benches have arrived and will be put in place once we are able to do so.
The markings for the disabled parking bays were completed on 24th March by Steve from Archway following strict social distancing:
Here are a couple of photos from before the current closure:
Thanks to Nick Smith for this evidence of birds using the new shingle spits.
The information board and bike racks were put in place on 12th March 2020
the bike racks and information board in place – photo by Ken Chapman
There are some things left to do: notice boards, bike racks, benches and audio post to be installed; information and artwork to go in the hides; the fencing of the meadow area (to be done in the Autumn, after the breeding season).
If you have any ideas of what you would particularly like in the hides please let us know at email@example.com
This was on the Scrape on Saturday 7th March (thank you to Steve Ray for the photo):
Further progress at Restharrow Scrape Nature Reserve:
The water level mid February at nearly 220cm:
Some of the works progressing on Restharrow Scrape January/February 2020:
What Restharrow Scrape looks like in January 2020:
Help needed from 20th January
We are hoping to use the time of the closure for the path and parking works to also have a work party to refurbish the existing hide and various other activities. These include refurbishing the inside lining and notice boards, fitting a new door, upgrading the fire exit door, re-glazing in perspex the four oldest slots to let in more light- all in the existing hide plus building new screening and adding an outside coat of preservative to the existing hide (weather permitting). Please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help with any of this.
The new hide is now in place – it will be open to all once it is safe to do so – once the pathway and screening have been constructed.
The Scrape is closed at present to allow the work on the path extension to the new hide, the construction of the two parking bays for disabled visitors and other work to be completed. The closure will last until all the planned work is complete and is to ensure that Health and Safety requirements for the site are met.
It has been decided to recognise the significant legacy we were willed by Vida Madell by naming the new hide the Vida Madell hide as this legacy meant we did not need to compromise on what we wanted for the new hide.
The Scrape is now beginning to fill with water:
picture taken on 20th November 2019
pictures from Nik Mitchell taken on 25th October 2019
Photos by Brian Short taken on one of our walks around the Scrape on 19th October:
We had our first members’ activity on 18th October.
Thank you to Michelle Boakes for leading our volunteers workshop day looking at how the project moves forward and how we can judge our successes.
Thank you to all the people who came to help us – there will be other opportunities to help in the future
The excavations are complete. Thank you to Ovendens for a magnificent job.
apologies that some of these pictures take a while to load they are quite large files
Come and see for yourself on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th October. Walks at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm each day. Please sign up in the Field Centre. First come First served – 12 places on each walk available.
The Scrape is at present a very popular part of what we offer at Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory. We really hope you will be willing to help us in our long-held dream of developing this piece of wildlife habitat for the future.
With your help we have already purchased the Scrape field to secure it’s future. We can now develop it further to benefit the flora and fauna in the area. We are going to extend the Scrape, creating a larger sanctuary for wildlife with a huge focus on nesting birds. New islands and shingled areas will create more habitat for wetland species, hopefully increasing numbers of breeding Waders such as Avocet.
Deepened areas will mean we have more water present during dry spells, ensuring there is habitat available for not only breeding birds but a whole host of aquatic life dependent on this type of environment. The creation of a Wildflower Meadow will provide an additional area for pollinators, which could also benefit Turtle Doves, Finches and Buntings.
Excavations – enlarging and remodelling
Following a tendering process, Ovendens have been appointed as the contractor to carry out this excavation work. They started work on 16th September. The Scrape is now closed to everyone for a period of up to four weeks.
WATCH THIS SPACE for up to date news.
Photos by Nik Mitchell taken on 9th October:
Nearly at the end of the excavation work. Latest of Bill’s photos taken on 8th October.
Latest photos from Bill Martin showing the huge changes taking place so quickly.
Photos taken by Bill Martin on 30th September
Photos taken by Bill Martin on 27th September showing some of the deeper areas being created
Photos taken by Bill Martin on 24th September after the rain and showing the three new islands:
Today’s caption competition!
suggestions to email@example.com
Photos from 20th September:
WORK HAS STARTED – Pictures taken on the first day of the works – 18th September 2019:
Restharrow Scrape archaeological dig
Below is the basic plan that was submitted with the Planning Application to Dover District Council.
The installation of a Barn Owl box is complete.
We welcomed the Kentish Stour Countryside Project who have generously donated two Barn Owl boxes to SBBOT. One for Restharrow Dunes reserve and one for the Restharrow Scrape project.
Erecting the Barn Owl box:
The Barn Owl box on Restharrow Scrape is viewable from the existing hide.
Members and visitors will be able to enjoy other views of the scrape not only from our existing hide, but also from a second hide with other development plans including the creation of a Sand Martin Bank.
We have so far had meetings to discuss the hide, the excavations, the sand martin bank (with thanks to the family of the late Edward Cowley for a copy of their father’s seminal book on the subject), the path, the disabled parking area, the assistant warden (click here for details of the role) , volunteers, evaluation – how the project is going and how it has been received and basic training for volunteers, Trustees and staff.
The new hide is in production and should be installed during November 2019