Essential Tree Removal marks the start of Discovery Hub Project.

Following the recent announcement that plans for a new Discovery Hub project at Warnham Local Nature Reserve have been given the go-ahead, the first stage of preparation work  is due to begin next month.

To facilitate the revised entrance garden, path area and improved views onto the Millpond it is necessary that a selected number of young trees and a mature willow tree will be removed, however members of the team would like to reassure visitors and friends that the mature cotoneaster tree will be retained.

The work will be overseen by Horsham District Council’s Trees and Contracts Officer, Mark Pullen working in conjunction with Countryside & Ecology Manager, Jacob Everitt.

It is expected this work should take up to two days to complete and will take place prior to the bird nesting season at the end of February. During this time the Tern Hide will be shut and revised entrance access arrangements will be in place.  Contractors are currently scheduled to be on site on from 12th – 14th February (subject to weather conditions) however we would urge all visitors to check the website prior to travel if restricted access to the hide will affect your visit.

In September, the area will be re-landscaped as part of the Discovery Hub project with the establishment of a reedbed area, which will form a focal point to the hub and beyond.

We intend to keep disruption to a minimum and would like to thank everyone for their understanding in advance.

23/01/2019 – Funding Approval Gained

Horsham District Council is celebrating with the Friends of Warnham Local Nature Reserve, as plans for a new ‘Discovery Hub’ at Warnham Local Nature Reserve have been given the go-ahead.The Council have been awarded some £278,000 by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development who support investment in public recreational infrastructure.  The Council and the Friends of Warnham Local Nature Reserve are adding additional funds to the project with grants of £90,000 and £10,000 respectively.

The current site on Warnham Road, Horsham was designated a Local Nature Reserve in 1987 and has grown in popularity ever since. Already home to a small visitor’s centre and café, the addition of the ‘Discovery Hub’ will draw visitors from across the district and beyond.

Unique design and breath-taking views

The ‘Discovery Hub’, will boast a unique octagonal design created from wood and one-way glass. Large panoramic windows will offer breath-taking views across the millpond. The space will be used for both educational and leisure purposes and will tell the story of the industrial, natural and social heritage of this important nature and conservation reserve.

In addition, to the hub, a new hide will be constructed, replacing the existing Tern Hide, as well as a new discovery trail that will incorporate the whole reserve and a new entrance garden that will take inspiration from the works of noted local poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Encouraging visitors old and new

“We are delighted that the ‘Discovery Hub’ has been given the green light” explained Councillor Jonathan Chowen, Horsham District Council Cabinet Member for Community and Culture. He continued:

Delight as the funding is achieved “The team have worked closely with the Friends of Warnham Local Nature Reserve, the general public and the funding authority to make a robust case for this important addition to the Horsham District.“We want to encourage visitors old and new to come to the reserve and discover not only the wide variety of wildlife, flora and fauna that thrive in the wetlands, but also appreciate the important part that this land has played in shaping our district, from its historical links to the iron industry, to its modern day home for Herons and Kingfishers.

Our aim is to inspire the next generation to protect the reserve and appreciate the impacts modern life can have on our environment.”

The discovery trail is due to be completed by June 2019, with structural work on the hub scheduled to start towards the end of summer. Once underway, the project should take three months to complete with the reserve remaining open to the public for most of the time and disruption kept to a minimum.

The whole project is due to be completed and officially opened at the end of the year in celebration of the Horsham District Year of Culture 2019.