This is another guest blog from our amazing Warden Jamie:

Hello again.

I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone that helped out at yesterday's reedbed clearance day! It means a lot, and makes such a big difference to the reserve. 

Reedbeds are a key habitat for the reserve - not just here at Rainham, but for the whole of the country. 

Reedbeds are important for a wide range of creatures including birds, mammals and invertebrates - some of which live exclusively in reedbeds. Reedbeds were once common (used for water purification and thatching roofs), but since the practice of thatching dwindled the reedbeds have been drained and used for other things, for example farmland or housing. This means we must protect what is left.

To protect and improve the reedbed habitat we cut areas and remove the cut reed (it's also a a requirement of our higher level stewardship [HLS] agreement with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [DEFRA] - but more about that later). 

We do this by raking and lifting the reed into builders sacks and dragging them out of the beds. We have a brilliant team of staff and volunteers that help us do this... but sometimes we need a little help!

So we have set up two Reedbed Clearance Events - be a warden for the day - we have had one so far. On Thursday 14 November a team of visitors, volunteers and staff spent the day off the main track and in the reedbeds! 

It went really well! We got a big section cut and cleared! 

Thank you so much for all your help - you are all stars!

Here at Rainham Marshes we have a lot of reedbed as part of the marsh - we have to cut a proportion of the 29 hectares of reed bed across the reserve. So at this time of year you will find the wardening team down in the reeds, cutting and raking. 
We do this in a rotation, so we cut different sections so there is a mosaic of reed ages suitable for the different requirement of the different reedbed creatures, and it means that we get good views over the reedbed.

We have a higher level stewardship (HLS) agreement with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) regarding our reedbeds.
The HLS is a Environment Stewardship is an agri-environment scheme run by DEFRA in England which aims to secure widespread environmental benefits - including improving water quality, reduce erosion, improve conditions for farmland wildlife, maintain and enhance ;landscape character and protect the historic environment. Ours is about improving and protecting the habitat.

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We do have another day next week - so if you are free and would like to help please do come along. 

Reedbed clearance events: Thursday 21 November: 10am – 1pm

We remove the reed by raking and transferring into builders sacks. If you would like the opportunity to get down off the visitor trail and into a reed bed then it would be great if you could come along. 

The work is suitable for all levels of fitness, as even just holding the bags open to help fill is a great help.

Please book in advance (by emailing, call 01708 899851, or chat to the person on reception), and give your boot size (hopefully we’ll have enough of all sizes this time!).

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Thank you to Phil and Paul for helping get ready for and running the event, and a huge thank to the volunteers and members of the public that came along to help.

Thank you to John Humble who took all of these photos.

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From Lou - I would also like to add a big thank you to Jamie, Phil, Paul and all the amazing volunteers that are out there every day whatever the weather, looking after our reserve to make it as good for wildlife and for people as they can. You are all amazing, thank you!