Despite the obvious problems facing everyone throughout 2020 we are delighted that the EPIC project managed to keep going in one guise or another.
On site developments included the planting of 4,000 plug plants on the river shelves, the creation of two new ponds, laying a 1km long access track, building a bridge and planting a further 2,000 hedgerow plants. The planting was all able to be undertaken with volunteers in small groups and that’s a huge relief as planting that on our own would have taken months. The site is looking amazing and really starting to establish in the landscape. There are a few last bits to do with diggers and then it will be time to install all the fabulous artworks and sculptures the community have been involved in.
To date over 400 new species have been recorded on site since before the work began including rarities such as the scarce blue tailed damselfly – the first in Sussex for 120 years.
We were delighted to see that the community inspired bench is finished, two of the three carved waymarkers have been created and in a nod to the myths and legends of the area the Sompting Water Dragon (a knucker) was designed, carved and installed by people from the local area.
All these artworks have been designed through the community participation in our Big Draw events and specialised workshops run by local sculptor Janine Creaye from Sculpture Form www.sculptureform.co.uk and will look amazing next to the river, reflecting the past and present heritage of the area.
With one more sculpture and the interpretation boards left to create we really are getting very close to being able to open the site and we will keep you informed of progress over the coming months as we slowly and cautiously move forward with the project.
As ever we thank everyone who has supported the project, especially players of the National Lottery who have enabled this to happen. Also the Environment Agency, Rampion Offshore Wind Ltd, Sompting Big Local, Sussex Community Foundation and West Sussex County Council for their support and grants. Finally to our partners the Sompting Estate Trust and all those who have given up their time to come and help us on site and get involved in activities – we wouldn’t be where we are now without you.