This move will see 345 hectares of land receive legal protection on account of its nationally significant array of grassland, woodlands, rare plants and invertebrate interests. The new designation will ensure stronger protection for features such as wildflower rich grasslands, woodland habitats, as well as rare species such as the Deptford Pink and the Grizzled Skipper butterfly.
The new SSSI will encompass sites that are well known for their natural history in the local area, including all of Essex Wildlife Trust's Langdon nature reserve, the Dunton Plotlands, Langdon Hills Country Park, Marks Hill Wood and Willow Park. The SSSI will ensure protection for not only the existing high quality environments, but also the interconnecting green corridors of habitat that enable species to move between locations.
While nature conservation is the main aim of the new SSSI, given its location on the urban edge, the importance of this area for people hasn't been ignored. The designation will ensure the local communities continue to have this amazing natural resource available as part of their daily lives. Research has shown how the natural environment provides society with benefits in terms of helping mental and physical health, offering informal recreation opportunities, inspiration for art, and helping people feel connected with their local area.
This achievement is thanks to the hard work and support of Natural England, Essex Wildlife Trust, Thurrock and Basildon Councils and Basildon Natural History Society to gather the evidence needed to proceed with this designation. This partnership approach will continue in the coming months, as we work together to build a long term vision for a wildlife-rich, accessible environment around Basildon.