Beauty spot Farlington Marshes will stay shut for summer

Farlington Marshes wildlife reserve
Farlington Marshes wildlife reserve

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THE closure of Farlington Marshes at the height of summer has been criticised.

The beauty spot will be shut to the public until the end of August as contractors from the Environment Agency repair sea walls damaged during the winter storms.

Steve McGom, who is from Havant and regularly enjoys a morning run, was frustrated to find the area fenced off to the public.

The 43-year-old said: ‘The essence of it is they are not making allowances for people.

‘They have shut the whole lot because that’s what they want to do and in the height of the summer, it’s taking it away from everybody.’

He added: ‘They are making allowances for birds, but not people. There are lots of people who go there at the weekends. It’s not just bird watchers.’

Mr McGom complained to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, which runs the reserve.

In their reply, Steve Wiltshire, site manager, said: ‘All of the seawall has been closed because large trucks and diggers can’t pass each other on top of the wall. They will go around the top of the sea wall in an anticlockwise direction depositing the concrete or aggregate in the required position before continuing the loop to exit the site.

‘It isn’t practical to create an alternative path because of all the heavy plant around the site. The main marsh is a Site of Special Scientific Interest full of sensitive and vulnerable plants and insects.’

Gareth Bates, the EA’s operations field team leader, said: ‘Our work on site will not only prevent flooding to nearby communities but also protect the surrounding nature reserve which is home to an array of protected species.

‘Our timetable has been restricted by the nesting season and the recent unsettled weather. We hope to finish repairs by the end of August when the public footpath will be re-opened.’