Season’s greetings across The Living Coast

24 December 2021

Despite the challenges we all continue to face due to Covid, there has been so much to celebrate this year across The Living Coast.

2021 has certainly been another strange and difficult year but that hasn’t stopped so much great work happening to support the environment of The Living Coast.

We started the year in style, showcasing the best of The Living Coast whilst hosting an international conference and study tour for the BioCultural Heritage Tourism project. This EU funded project has been working since 2018 to support the development of sustainable tourism across 4 biospheres – 2 in the UK and 2 in France.  We were able to highlight the region’s environmental & cultural heritage as part of the conference, including hosting a Sussex Pond Pudding cook-along, a sea shanty workshop, a letter press printing demonstration and a live cycling tour of The Living Coast!

Cat shark swimming by kelp in the sea

Cat shark swimming by kelp Image credit: Andy Jackson

In March came the fantastic news that the UK Government had passed the Sussex Nearshore Trawling Byelaw.  Led by Sussex Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authority, this new byelaw means trawling will be more progressively managed across a large swathe of the Sussex coastline from Chichester Harbour to Rye. It is hoped that reduced disturbance from trawling will help the natural marine habitat including our native kelp forests to regenerate.

Photo by Liz Finlayson/Vervate The Living Coast, the Brighton & Lewes Downs UNESCO Biosphere Region includes land and sea from Shoreham to Newhaven. Starling Murmuration Brighton Seafront

Hairy Porcelain Crab recorded for City Nature Challenge 2021 Image credit: Maureen Berg

In April the region also participated for the second time in the City Nature Challenge.  This annual, global fun competition aims to get citizen scientists from across the world actively involved in nature spotting in their local environment.  There is a serious element to it as well as the records created by everyone taking part can help monitor local wildlife.  Keep an eye on our City Nature Challenge project page as we will be announcing details of the competition for 2022 shortly!

The Living Coast by Bike

The Living Coast by Bike cycle map

In May the fantastic Living Coast by Bike website was launched.  This site showcases lots of different cycling routes across The Living Coast as well as information on cycle hire, refreshments, bike maintenance and the special environment of the biosphere for each route.  Each cycle route starts and ends at a station meaning there is no need for a car, and comes with a handy downloadable GPS version of the route so you can follow the directions regardless of internet connection.

The Living Coast by Bike

Undercliff rockpool Image Credit: Anna Dumitriu

Also in May we were thrilled to host our very first Artist Residency with Fabrica Gallery. Artist Anna Dumitriu was chosen for her work exploring the environmental and cultural heritage of our relationship with seaweed via her blog Algologies.

In June Brighton & Hove City Council published their programme to become Carbon Neutral by 2030 which details actions for climate change across the whole city over the next decade. Lewes District Council also published their Biodiversity Strategy detailing plans to support the resilience of our natural environment, with a big focus on supporting wildlife through urban greenspaces and gardens.

Living roof on bus stop in Brighton

Brighton & Hove’s first Bee Bus Stop was unveiled in the summer after a campaign by a local resident.  Jump on a bus to see the living roof of the bus stop in Hove’s Palmeira Square.

homeward bound festival 2021

Early Autumn saw the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery hosting a display on The Living Coast . Featuring 6 specially created films exploring our Biosphere, the display ran throughout September in the lead up to the Homeward Bound Festival.

Homeward Bound celebrated The Living Coast’s environmental and cultural maritime heritage with a weekend of events spanning from sea shanty singing and mackerel lantern making workshops, to coastal wildlife walks, jewellery making workshops and specially brewed beer.

The Living Coast by Bike

‘Home’ sculpture by David Watson on the Undercliff Path

Early October also saw the launch of ‘Home’ – two brand new scultpures on the Undercliff path.  These sculptures have been designed in collaboration with artist David Watson and pupils from local schools in order to explore our connection with our Marine Conservation Zone Beachy Head West.

Photo by Liz Finlayson/Vervate The Living Coast, the Brighton & Lewes Downs UNESCO Biosphere Region includes land and sea from Shoreham to Newhaven. Round Headed Rampion on Beacon Hill Nature Reserve

The Round Headed Rampion, flower of Sussex. One of many special wildflowers to be found in our rare chalk grassland

Autumn 2021 also gave us more reasons to celebrate with the news the region had won funding for the Changing Chalk project from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.  This project will enable landscape scale restoration of our special chalk grassland habitats over the next 4 years.

Marc Abraham Caroline Lucas Anne Ackord with big starling cutout

Marc Abraham, Caroline Lucas MP and Anne Ackord of Brighton Palace Pier at the opening of #StarlingsRoost Image credit: Marc Abraham

To round off an amazing year, November saw the launch of #StarlingsRoost a special new observation point on Brighton Palace Pier. Celebrating the city’s iconic starling murmurations as well as highlighting the challenges our resident and migrating starling populations are facing, the Pier have also installed a livestream camera to observe the starlings roosting underneath the iconic structure.

Thank you to everyone who has made a difference across The Living Coast in 2021 – these are just a handful of the incredible projects that are happening across our region. Wishing everyone a healthy and happy festive period and New Year!

By The Living Coast

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