Project Status: In Progress.
Location: West Thurrock Marshes
Developing management regimes
The urban landscape within the Land of the Fanns area has become nationally significant for invertebrate species. This is especially the case within Thurrock, where a history of industry has left a legacy of bio diverse brownfields, now supporting rare and scarce species such as the Shrill carder bee (Bombus sylvarum) and Five-banded weevil wasp (Cerceris quinquefasciata). The ‘Micro landscapes’ project seeks to raise the profile of this often misunderstood and underappreciated habitat by bringing a brownfield site into management and using this site as a focal point for interpretation and community activity around invertebrates.
The project will be comprised of three distinct phases:
- Site selection
- Development of management regimes
- Community engagement
The first phase will involve a ‘call for sites’, involving the conservation community in putting forward potential sites. Potential candidate sites suggested during the development phase include West Thurrock Marshes and North Ockendon Pit. This process will build on the HLF and Veolia North Thames Trust funded ‘Stepping Stones’ project being delivered at Chafford Gorges and Thurrock Thameside Nature Park by Buglife and the Essex Wildlife Trust. By opening up the initiative across the Land of the Fanns, the benefits of this scheme can be developed across administrative boundaries. An area or areas of up to 5 hectares will be confirmed for the second phase based on expert opinion.
Development of management regimes
This second phase will involve the development of sensitive management regimes in collaboration with the landowner, helping to ensure the future for the invertebrates. The types of interventions could include installing sandy nesting areas for ground-nesting bees and wasps, disturbed wildflower areas, scrub clearance, re-opening of sandy cliff faces and educational green walls.
The interventions would offer opportunities for conservation volunteering. Complementing this work would be a community engagement programme, including bug hunts, moth trapping, volunteer work parties, bumblebee identification training and bug home making. These activities will take place near industrial areas, which tend to be working class and often relatively deprived. The work will run alongside the rollout of interpretation boards and leaflets (B4.1) that encourage further access and use of the network. The project will feature on the Heritage Walks (D1.1).