The project is led by Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust with Sompting Estate, and also supported by the Environment Agency, Rampion Offshore Wind Ltd and Sompting Big Local. Peter King, Project Manager at Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust, said: “We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to deliver this project. It will make a real difference, not only to the local environment but also to the residents of the surrounding area. We are very grateful for the support from the National Heritage Lottery Fund and the local community which we have received as the ideas were being developed and realized”
The project sees the opening up of Sompting Brooks, which sits between the Dominion Way Industrial Estate in Worthing and Western Road in Sompting Village and is currently used for agricultural purposes. Sompting Brooks, as part of the privately owned Sompting Estate, has been owned and managed by the Crofts/Tristram family for more than 250 years. Teville Stream, which meets with the Broadwater Brook, has been largely culverted since the Second World War. The Brook starts near West Street, Sompting and passed beneath GlaxoSmithKline in Southdown View Way, East Worthing, then through a culvert under the old landfill site at Decoy Farm.
The stream, which was formerly three-quarters culverted, has been re-routed away from contaminating sources to establish a clean water environment. A new trail is being created to make Broadwater Brook accessible to surrounding communities for the first time, The natural habitat will be improved by the inclusion of two ponds, 1,000 trees, and 2.5km of hedgerow.
Events have raised awareness of water conservation, pollution and urban wildlife. Activities involve practical conservation, photography, heritage investigations and educational programmes based on water quality and ecological surveying. Skill development workshops train volunteers who can help with the maintenance and management of the site into the future.
The funding was made possible by National Lottery players and awarded through the National Heritage Lottery Fund. Stuart McLeod, Head of NHLF, South East of England, said: “We’re delighted to support Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust to improve the natural environment of Broadwater Brook. “Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, this project will allow people from West Sussex to reconnect with their natural heritage.”
The project is expected to run with Heritage Fund support until the end of 2021. After that, Sompting Estate and the Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust will be continuing to support the ongoing management of the project, with the hugely important help of local community volunteers.