The project is funded by Veolia Pitsea Marshes Maintenance Trust as part of a postcode-limited Landfill Community Fund grant, specifically for public access and infrastructure projects. The new centre will have larger educational facilities linking to the social heritage of the site, alongside a café, indoor and outdoor seating areas and an extended car park. The building has been designed with sustainability in mind and is using passive and active methods that will ensure the centre will be as environmentally friendly as possible.
The existing visitor centre at Langdon opened in 1996 and now sees more than 55,000 people per year walk through its doors. Located within a densely-populated area of 180,500 people, the centre acts as a gateway to the natural landscape and plays a crucial role in engaging communities with their local nature and natural heritage.
The Langdon Living Landscape includes a rich mosaic of habitats, with over 500 acres encompassing flower-rich meadows, ponds and ancient woodland. The Langdon Ridge was recently awarded Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) status by Natural England in account of its nationally significant array of grasslands, woodlands, rare plants and invertebrate species including the Deptford Pink and the Grizzled Skipper.
Andrew Impey, CEO at Essex Wildlife Trust says, “we have been presented with a unique opportunity to build a new centre that acts as a fantastic starting point for people to explore Langdon’s beautiful nature reserve and experience the unique social and natural heritage the site has to offer. This new building will not only cater for the increasing number of visitors to the site but will help connect people with the wildlife and nature found on the reserve, so the community can be knowledgeable and proud of the varied nature located on their doorstep.”
Doug Benjafield, Chair of Trustrees at Veolia Pitsea Marshes Maintenance Trust says, “Trustees are delighted to support such a great project as we have a long association with Essex Wildlife Trust and it will clearly improve the facilities at a popular visitor centre and nature reserve.”
The current visitor centre will be closed from the end of August this year and will re-open mid-summer 2020.