The Fen lies alongside the river Itchen and has chalk stream, fen and woodland habitats, but it is drying out. Tree and scrub growth have choked the fen causing great deterioration in water flow and light and led to a reduction in biodiversity. We hope to reverse this.
Stoneworts have appeared in the water of zone 3. They prefer to grow in clean, mineral-rich water. Read more about them here.
Despite the challenging hot and dry conditions for Clausentum Fen over the summer, zone 3 has remained wet and healthy with good levels of clear water. A vibrant wetland community is developing with an abundance of insect and plant life. Levels of water and flow within St Michael's Brook have been poor and sluggish over the summer, and at one point it dried up completely. We believe that the condition of the central fen has been maintained by a combination of groundwater seepage and water from the Floodstoc, whose flow remains good. The flow in the Floodstoc is dependent on water spilling over from the Lockburn stream that runs just beyond the eastern border of the fen.
Following the purchase of a scythe and training in September, some parts of zone 3 have been scythed according to current conservation practice in order to restrict the future growth of vigorous grasses in favour of finer grasses and wild flowers. The haystacks are visible from the road and one of them has become a favourite perching place for the buzzard that is now regularly seen. The recent high winds brought down a goat willow beside the pond in zone 4, and this has been removed. With leaf fall at the beginning of autumn, the strams are starting to become obstructed with fallen leaves, which we are trying to remove on a regular basis. A pipe has been installed between St Michael's brook and the central fen with the intention of encouraging water flow across this area. The next work party will be on Saturday October 27th. More details in due course.
2018 Clausentum Fen Conservation Group