An environmental project and a village housing scheme were praised at this year’s Sussex Countryside Awards.
The recreation of the salt marsh in Rye Harbour won in the New Sussex Landscapes category and the development at Ostler’s Field in Brede won in the Making Places Design category.
They were just two out of numerous inspiring, ingenious and innovative projects to receive recognition at the awards ceremony last Wednesday (October 11) at Petworth House.
The event was organised by CPRE Sussex, the Sussex branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England and all awards were presented by Lady Egremont.
Dr Barry Yates, from Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, said he was ‘delighted’ to receive an award on behalf of the reserve.
He added: “The project is a partnership with the Environment Agency and Sussex Wildlife Trust. It has taken such a long time from the planning to getting the project completed and now everyone can enjoy it.
“The salt marsh around Rye Harbour has contracted over the last 100 years so it is really nice to reinstate a piece of it and the wildlife has responded very quickly. The reserve is in a very public place so it is not only helping wildlife, it is also helping visitors to enjoy it.”
Commenting on Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, judge Margaret Moore said: “The creation of the habitat has added hugely to the existing nature reserve, creating wetland and grazing salt marsh, protected from predators, for a myriad of species, not least of which are 90 species of ground-nesting birds. The enjoyment visitors now get from the circular path that has been created is thrilling indeed and 300,000 visitors to the reserve now have a chance to get up close to the spectacular sight of breeding birds, using five well-constructed bird-hides.
“It would be lovely to think the Rye Harbour project could, one day, be a springboard for similar restorations nearby and nationally, providing more of this important type of habitat for some of our most threatened species.”
Karen Hillhouse, from Hastoe Housing Association, the developer of Ostler’s Field, said: “We are thrilled our affordable housing development in Brede has been recognised by these awards.
“Hastoe takes great pride in helping rural communities thrive by building affordable, energy efficient homes that fit with the local vernacular of the village.
“The homes at Ostler’s Field have helped ensure families can stay living in and contributing to the area they were born in, grew up in or work in.”
The homes at Ostler’s Field also have low running costs, thanks to a host of energy-saving features.