Littlemarsh Common SSSI
Littlemarsh Common is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on the boundary of Clehonger and Eaton Bishop parishes that had become overgrown with scrub. Since 2014 Commoners, local volunteers, contractors and a small flock of sheep are gradually restoring a mosaic of wet grassland, woodland and scrub at Littlemarsh with funding and support from Natural England’s Environmental Stewardship Scheme.
The Parish Council have a lease with the Church Commissioners to maintain Honeymoor Common, Ruckhall Common and Littlemarsh Common. The previous lease expired in 2007 and although the Parish Council pressed for a renewal no agreement was reached. The agents for the Church Commissioners then put the Eaton Bishop Commons up for sale and with little interest shown, the Commons were withdrawn from the market. At this stage the Parish Council again approached the agents and in July 2012 a 21 year lease was agreed with the Church Commissioners to maintain the Commons as they were from the date of the lease.
The Commons are an important part of the Parish and enjoyed by many people with the Commoners always maintaining their rights of grazing etc. The Parish Council are therefore proactive in the 'topping' of large areas of Honeymoor on an annual basis and regular grass cutting of areas of Ruckhall Common.
Littlemarsh Common is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and has sadly been neglected over many years but recently with a huge input from Caroline Hanks the Common is being regenerated and becoming much more user friendly.
The Parish Council with Caroline's expertise applied to Natural England for guidance and financial help to upgrade Littlemarsh Common. This has resulted in Environmental Stewardship Agreements with Natural England in the form of Entry Level and Higher Level Stewardship Agreements whereby under their guidance, restoration of this important site is under way.
The funding secured is divided between maintenance and capital works with maintenance payments covering a period of 10 years and capital works and payments to be completed by August 2017. The total funding amounts to approximately £8,500.00. All work is carried out with the full agreement of the Littlemarsh Commoners and the Church Commissioners.
Although the capital works are carried out by contractors, the maintenance work is done by Caroline and her willing band of volunteers.
Brief time line Littlemarsh Common
Apr 2014 Initial contact with Natural England
Jul 2014 Environmental Stewardship ELS/HLS agreed between EBPC and Natural England
Sep 2014 Start date of Agreement
During the last 18 months contractors have carried out capital works and Caroline and team have been involved with a great deal of maintenance work and the site now looks very different.
The present situation is that Littlemarsh Common is in very good hands and on track to be again an important wildlife site in keeping with its SSSI status.
contact Caroline Hanks on 01981 250239 firstname.lastname@example.org