The Friends of Chessel Bay ran a great event yesterday to clear up a really beautiful part of Southampton. Chessel Bay is a precious area within Southampton and was the city’s first Local Nature Reserve, receiving its designation as long ago as 1989.
The event was very well organized and I first met Ian who was really friendly and welcoming. He told me about the area and that it was important for local wildlife. The mudflats at Chessel Bay form part of the Solent estuary and these provide major feeding grounds for wading birds and wildfowl.
This area forms part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest that runs from Lee-On-Solent to the Itchen estuary. Chessel Bay is part of the Solent Marshes and is recognised as having international importance for birds.
Ian told me that one of the problems the area faces is the rubbish that accumulates on the shore. Plastic litter for example floats in the water from where it is dropped and as almost all of the surrounding shore is concreted over, it bounces off everywhere else until eventually coming to rest on the shore at Chessel Bay which is the only natural length of shore in the area.
Going down onto the shore it was clear what Ian meant. There was a lot of small scale plastic rubbish on the shore and in some places it was quite ingrained. It was a clear demonstration of the damage our society is doing to the environment. Generally this does not decay quickly and so it can last for years and years.
There were a lot of cheerful, hard working volunteers present though and as always some focussed effort over a few hours really started to make a difference. I left while the event was still going strong but even in the short time I was there the Friends group had cleaned up lots of rubbish, including a large safe that had been abandoned – along with its keys!
It had been a very satisfying day, helped by some refreshing spring sunshine. Thanks to Rose and Ian from the Friends of Chessel Bay for making me feel very welcome and looking forward to supporting and promoting more of their events in the future!
For more information about Chessel Bay please have a look at the Friends’ website here : http://www.chesselbay.org/