Man Sands marshland project

The wetland and Man Sands beach

The team of English Riviera rangers have been working on a long-term project at Man Sands to return what was farmland to its original marshland state, to encourage birds to use this habitat. Find out all about the evolution of the project, and what the future holds in store for Man Sands marshland.

Beginnings of the project

The project started in 2005 with the removal of crumbling sea defences from the beach and field drainage immediately behind this. This created a large wetland area, which has evolved into a series of pools of standing water and marshland; the perfect habitat for a variety of different birds.
In 1989 Man Sands marshland was farmland
The countryside near Man Sands beach in 1989, before it was restored to marshland

Evolution of the hide

The bird hide was originally built as a temporary structure made of hazel and bamboo to create a simple screen with a bench behind it. This was well used by the local bird-watching community and so the team decided to build a more weatherproof and permanent structure. in 2012 a permanent hide with a roof, benches, hinged windows and interpretation boards was built at the top of the marsh.

 

A popular spot

The bird hide provides the perfect spot for watching the many species that visit the marshland. Several bird species use the marsh all year round, including mallard, moorhen, water rail and heron. In the winter they are joined by visiting birds such as snipe, teal, gadwall and a range of wading species. 

 

What next?

The long-term aims include increasing the size of the reed bed to further protect the wetland from the elements and to ensure that there is standing water all year for breeding water fowl. Plans are to join two smaller pools below the hide, creating one large expanse of water, in an area that is well protected from coastal erosion and with the added benefit of being perfect for visitors to the hide to enjoy.