Reedbeds are wetlands dominated by stands of Common Reed where the water table is at or above ground level for most of the year. They tend to incorporate open water and ditches, and areas of wet grassland and carr woodland may also be associated with them.

Reedbed at Pevensey Levels

Photo: Peter Wakely/Natural England

Why are they important?

  • They provide important breeding and roosting habitat for birds including rare species such as Bearded Tit and Cettiā€™s Warbler.
  • A number of invertebrates are recorded from reedbeds including moths, snails and beetles. Many of the species found are now uncommon.
  • Reedbeds provide a refuge for shoals of fish, which in turn provide food for other species.

Reedbeds in Sussex

There are around 260 hectares of reedbeds in Sussex, made up predominantly of sites less than 5 hectares in size. The largest reedbed in Sussex is at Filsham, which is around 17 hectares.

What are the threats?

  • Drainage for farming and development, and over-abstraction of water.
  • Water pollution can cause a loss of diversity and dominance by a few species.
  • Flood defence measures can contribute to loss of reedbeds.
  • A lack of management.

Some associated species

  • Bittern Botaurus stellaris
  • Grass Snake Natrix natrix
  • Swollen Spire Snail Mercuria confusa
  • Flame Wainscot Mythimna flammea
  • Common Reed Phragmites australis
  • Reed Sweet-grass Glyceria maxima

Harvest Mouse

Photo: Natalie Rogers/Hampshire Wildlife Trust

Advice on reedbeds

After Minerals
Sussex Wetland Landscapes Project

Sussex Targets

Biodiversity Action Reporting System Website