The Wallasea Wetlands




It’s not often somewhere in our district is mentioned in the national news headlines, but today it was – and for a positive reason.

As explained on the BBC website today:

Looking at Wallasea Island, it’s hard to imagine that this flat, featureless landscape is about to become one of Britain’s most important wildlife sanctuaries.

But 500 years ago – before this corner of coastal Essex was drained to make way for crop production – this was salt marsh. It was a thriving natural environment teeming with life.

Now, in its most ambitious project in this country, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is about to spend ?12m recreating the salt marsh, turning the clock back by hundreds of years.

The plan is simple: the ancient sea walls which have held back the tides for so long will be carefully breached, and the waters will once again flood the land which has been used for wheat production for centuries.

The project manager, Mark Dixon, says: “We will have a landscape of marshes, islands, lagoons and creeks little more than 20 inches deep at high tide.

“Wallasea is one island now but was once five separate pieces of land. We will restore these ancient divisions and each new island will have its own tidal control.” ……

There’s more on the RSPB’s own website . It makes it clear that it’s a very big project and will need a lot of fundraising:

“We need your help

A project of this scale will need considerable help and support to realise our vision and can only go ahead once substantial funding has been secured. Over the next two years, the RSPB and specialist contractors need to carry out more detailed studies to help plan how our vision for Wallasea Island will be delivered on the ground.

If you can help, by supporting the first phase of developing this exciting project, please donate to the project online. If you prefer, you can write a cheque payable to the RSPB to the Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project.

Send it to:

RSPB Eastern England regional office
Stalham House
65 Thorpe Road
Norfolk NR1 1UD”

A limited amount of land has already been converted into wetland – Ron visited it last year andwas quite impressed. This is clearly an example of the kind of ‘vision’ that councillors were talking about last week – creating one of the most important nature reserves in Europe , right on our doorstep. With the remains of Darwin’s “Beagle” lying off Paglesham, this area could become a significant location those interested in the natural world.

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