Kent Wildlife Trust is celebrating over a quarter of a century managing Holborough Marshes nature reserve, a 35-acre nature reserve near Snodland, Kent, which is owned by Tarmac.
Holborough Marshes is on the flood plain of the river Medway and has been classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its diverse range of wildlife.
Tarmac gave the management of the reserve to Kent Wildlife Trust in 1996, subsequently transforming the post-industrial land into a space for nature to thrive.
Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, progress has been made to develop the reserve with the invaluable help of Kent Wildlife Trust volunteers. During the period from July to December 2021, there were significant infrastructure repairs to viewing screens, kissing gates and fencing.
Substantial cutting back of vegetation has also allowed better accessibility and diversity of flora, as well as natural grazing by ponies and four of the trust’s longhorn cows over summer. In addition, priority safety works are regularly undertaken, including regular litter picks and the removal or relocation of hazardous trees affected by bad weather and/or ash dieback.
Orchids including common spotted, pyramidal, early marsh and southern marsh orchids have been recorded at the reserve, as well as evidence of the presence of the nationally endangered water vole. The diverse range of wetland habitats at the reserve support a range of birds, including warblers, wildfowl, swallows and nightingales.
Stephen Weeks, area manager for Kent Wildlife Trust, said: “It has been a very rewarding partnership working with Tarmac for more than a quarter of a century developing Holborough Marshes as a diverse place for nature and for the local community to enjoy. It is refreshing to work with a landowner who recognises the importance of supporting the management of their most biodiverse land.”
Will Bridges, development manager at Tarmac, said: “Since 1996 Tarmac has collaborated with Kent Wildlife Trust in this nationally important nature reserve that has achieved much for wildlife conservation. The marsh is a patchwork of wet fields and scrub criss-crossed by ditches which are home to many rare and unusual plants and animals. A network of paths provides access for people’s quiet enjoyment.
“We value our partnership with Kent Wildlife Trust and are proud to be able to continue to develop the nature reserve, creating a wildlife haven for the enjoyment of all.”
Kent Wildlife Trust is looking to recruit more volunteers to work at Holborough Marshes and other Medway Wetland, Medway Grassland and Swale nature reserves. To get involved, visit kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/get-involved/volunteering.