Thursday, 20 January 2011

New Local Wildlife Site - The Beach

After I commented upon two Local Wildlife Sites last week, the White Cliffs Countryside Project have announced a management plan for another one, along the beach from the Zetland Arms north past Walmer Castle, to the yacht club.

At a meeting in the Village Hall, WCCP staff explained that the Site would not have any more legal protection from development or damage, but that the habitat would be assessed and managed in a sensitive way - hopefully by local residents in the spirit of "Big Society" [my words, not theirs, I hasten to add]. Funding to groups like the Project has, of course, been slashed on all sides.

They have identified four zones within the Site, each with its own characteristic identity:
Zone A was described as the most important one and I agree, as it holds the large colony of Small Blue butterflies, as well as Bright Weave and Sussex Emerald moths and an interesting and rare shingle heath flora.

Zone B includes grassland near the old lifeboat station, Zone C runs along the shingle beach and includes sea pea, sea sandwort and Babbington's orache, while Zone D is the close-cropped lawn between the shingle and the road, with its population of Autumn Lady's Tresses.
The experts were clear that much of the site is suffering from non-native invasion, and would benefit from the clearance of holm oak, valerian, red-hot poker and other garden escapes. I can see that this could be controversial but with education I'd hope it would be accepted. The Project has no powers to force landowners to do anything (or indeed not to do anything) but "have only persuasion and assistance".
On the positive side, the shingle means that invasion is only slow, so control should not be too difficult.
I look forward to hearing more about the plan, and hope that a working party will be arranged. In the meantime, it's a good opportunity to show some summery pictures :-)


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

"managed in a sensitive way - hopefully by local residents in the spirit of "Big Society"" careful our residents assoc did a tidy up of their shingle beach and ripped out all the native vegetation even after they'd had a presentation from the rangers. Apparently it looked messy, doeesn't have nice flowers and traps litter rather than letting it blow away. The great unwashed - don't yer just luv em!



Warren Baker said...

Every little helps, I wish something like that could be done on my patch :-)

Greenie said...

Steve ,
Sounds to me like the management of the area needs someone to take the reins .
Know anyone who would 'step up to the plate' ?
Let's hope it will be done with the wildlife 'up front' .

Stewart said...

Those powder puffed tits are superb Steve, I'd love to give that pair a good going over ...

(some more unsavoury types will be googling you now no doubt)

Fantastic birds though...


GrahamH said...

Yes, I would cautiously welcome this news (bearing in mind the first comment from Davo).

Is it Sea Pea in the first picture Steve - they look like violets!

Kingsdowner said...

Graham, it's Ivy Leaved Toadflax, which apparently is in season at the moment - I'll see if I can find some thios weekend for a taste.