Main Kent panorama restoration challenge hailed as a terrific success for native wildlife and other people


A large year-long challenge in Kent which noticed the large-scale restoration and creation of 228ha of wetlands, restoration of 4 woodland websites totalling 1400ha, and intensive administration of 1 grassland website, has simply accomplished.

Seasalter Ranges, a wetland to the west of Whitstable, Blean Woods – 4 pockets of woodland throughout Kent together with RSPB Blean Woods nature reserve close to Canterbury, and Wraik Hill to the south-west of Whitstable, now have a extra sure future, due to the work of the challenge.

Funds totalling £1.9 million from the Inexperienced Restoration Problem Fund, enabled the RSPB and Kent Wildlife Belief to work in partnership with Canterbury Metropolis Council to ship this unimaginable work.

Hawfinch, copyright Glyn Sellors, from the surfbirds galleries

Seasalter Ranges

The Seasalter Ranges website had been uncared for for many years previous to a partnership coming collectively in 2007 to assist handle the location and develop it right into a nature reserve. Regardless of this work, many components of the location remained in poor situation and this challenge targeted on these areas by putting in new options to retain water and alternatives for animals to graze as a part of its ongoing administration, together with:

  • Set up of dams, embankments, dykes and pipework
  • Restoration of two.1km of ditches
  • Creation of 119,246sqm shallow water channels throughout the location
  • Set up of fences, gates, corrals and a bridge to maintain cattle in
  • Clearing of invasive plant species from waterways

On account of this work, the location shall be extra resilient to local weather change by enabling water to be retained on the grazing marsh through the spring and summer time months when birds resembling lapwing and redshank are elevating households. It’ll additionally present a ‘stepping-stone website’ for species which are predicted to maneuver into new geographical areas to stay as a result of altering local weather.

Seasalter Ranges which is recognised as a Particular Safety Space (SPA), Ramsar website, Web site of Particular Scientific Curiosity (SSSI) and a Native Nature Reserve (LNR), will now actually thrive as a sanctuary for breeding and wintering wildfowl and waders, water voles, uncommon invertebrates and vegetation.

It’s hoped the location shall be opened up for guided walks sooner or later.

Blean Woods

Blean Woods noticed the restoration and ‘re-wetting’ of over 1400ha of woodland which had suffered over time by a mix of artificial drainage and the warming local weather.

In complete 160 pure dams, referred to as ‘leaky dams’ as they keep water but in addition permit water to progressively seep by, had been put in at 4 woodland websites, together with RSPB Blean Woods nature reserve, in East Kent.

The dams, a lot of which had been put in by volunteers from the local people, will assist the woodlands to retain water and never dry out; guaranteeing the longevity of the websites, offering water within the spring and summer time months for wildlife and can assist to scale back close by flood dangers. Dams have additionally been used to reconnect pure meanders (the winding bend or curve of a river) that had been lower off from an area river throughout historic drainage works.

Volunteers had been key to serving to the challenge thrive with over 160 folks getting concerned in dam constructing and many various teams from the neighborhood coming alongside to lend a serving to hand, together with native faculties, Scout teams, college teams and even a stag do.

Themed occasions as a part of the challenge together with woodland storytelling, rookies wildlife identification workshops, folklore and music occasions, forest bathing and woodland yoga enticed 250 folks to attend these on-site enjoyable and engaging occasions.

Wraik Hill

A pure steppingstone between Blean and Seasalter Ranges, Wraik Hill noticed the removing of 10,000 metres of invasive scrub, leading to a flower wealthy grassland and habitat hall for wildlife. Pond restoration together with the removing of overgrown vegetation and the unblocking of a significant drainage channel, resulted in a terrific enchancment to the pond, attracting species resembling dragonfly and newt.

4 info boards had been produced and added alongside 950 metres of waymarked trails on the location. Over 620 metres of recent fencing was put in, and 200 metres of fencing repaired or changed to allow Konik ponies to graze. Konik’s are perfect for conservation grazing as they encourage wealthy biodiversity by carefully grazing some grassland areas and leaving different areas of lengthy vegetation untouched.

As well as, three chook monitoring surveys had been carried out to know and file the chook species discovered on website, establishing a baseline quantity for future chook surveys to be in comparison with. These surveys recorded 5 purple listed species – together with the nightingale, with 35 chook species being recorded.

Customer entry to Wraik Hill was additionally improved together with introducing a welcoming footpath on the entrance for website guests and different enhancements had been made with the clearance of fly-tipping and the automobile barrier on the website was repaired.

Alan Johnson, RSPB Space Supervisor for Kent mentioned: “Biodiversity in Kent is beneath risk; habitats are fragmented, usually in poor situation and topic to stress from recreation, improvement and agricultural actions. These two tasks is not going to solely massively profit key wildlife species in Kent, but in addition assist fight the results of local weather change on this county, which suffers from prolonged drought intervals, the bottom rainfall within the UK and excessive temperatures all through the summer time. Thanks to the Inexperienced Restoration Problem Fund for making these tasks doable and our companions Kent Wildlife Belief and Canterbury Metropolis Council who had been important in making this occur. “

Will Douglas, Kent Wildlife Belief Space Warden for the Blean, mentioned: “The Rewetting the Blean challenge has performed wonders to deal with the continuing impact of the biodiversity and local weather crises on East Kent. Past assuaging flood danger, the habitat restoration and ‘wilding’ of the waterways within the woodland will massively profit the resilience of the Blean panorama. The work performed on Kent Wildlife Belief reserves has been transformative, and we will’t wait to observe them develop over the approaching years. Many due to challenge companions RSPB and Canterbury Metropolis Council for making Rewetting the Blean doable in an inspiring and collaborative ambiance. And thanks to the Inexperienced Restoration Problem Fund for financing these tasks”.

Cllr Ashley Clark, Canterbury Metropolis Council’s Lead Councillor for Open Areas, mentioned: “There may be much more to range and combating local weather change than simply planting bushes and in some instances that may be counter-productive.

“Inexperienced areas resembling these are important bastions of range however that doesn’t occur by itself. They should be labored on and enhanced to take care of a steadiness of important key habitats.

“That is all of the extra necessary with ongoing improvement and inhabitants stress in Kent the results of which go far past the precise margin of the developments themselves. The work undertaken in these areas is commendable and has our full help.”


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