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Image: Andy Hay
Welcome to what is set to be our newest nature reserve. Medmerry will offer long walks and cycle rides through an amazing new landscape only a stone's throw from Pagham Harbour, with new mudflats, tidal lagoons, saltmarsh, wildlife-friendly farmland, dragonfly-rich ditches and great views and sunsets. Between 2011-2013, the Environment Agency (EA) constructed 4.25 miles (7 km) of new floodbank inland from the sea between Selsey and Bracklesham, on one of the last undeveloped stretches of coast anywhere between Southampton and Brighton. They then breached the existing shingle beach to create the largest managed realignment scheme on the open coast in Europe, creating amazing new wetland habitats. It is due to become an RSPB reserve, but owing to the wet weather in autumn 2013 the Environment Agency wasn’t able to complete all the new footpaths, cyclepaths and horse-riding routes. They will return once the ground is dry enough in spring 2014, but already many of the paths are open even if they are not quite finished. We're busy helping the EA manage the site for now ahead of us taking over the day-to-day management of this new nature reserve next summer.We recommend that you start your visit at Pagham Harbour visitor centre, where you can get the latest information about which paths are open and where you can use the facilities.
Medmerry is a vast site, but we worked with the Environment Agency to make it as accessible as possible, given the constraints. In the future, we hope that a small car park (not yet open) at Easton Lane will give access straight onto the new flood bank, via a shallow ramp. You will then be able to follow the bank around on an excellent path to the Easton view point, which has expansive views.Those in electric disabled buggies should be able to follow the access track around the landward side of the floodbank all the way to the sea. There are no toilet facilities on site, but there is a disabled toilet at Pagham Harbour.
We are aiming for this to be a great place for families wanting to explore by bike - watch this space.
Dogs are welcome, but are only allowed on footpaths and should always be under close control. If there is livestock grazing, owners will be asked to put their dogs on a lead.