The Langdon Living Landscape was established in 2012, in keeping with a nationwide strategy, initiated by the Wildlife Trusts. Thus the Essex Wildlife Trust has been instrumental in setting up an initial fifteen such living landscapes, with a view to establishing more in the future.
The aim is to encourage landscape-scale conservation, where possible linking up wildlife-rich sites so that wildlife can move more freely across the landscape. Thus we seek to address the problem of species becoming restricted to just a few protected sites, where their longer-term chances of survival are at increasing risk ~ from accident, inclement conditions, genetic inbreeding, etc.
There are other aims as well. In addition to protecting and maximising biodiversity, it is hoped to encourage economic sustainability where that is practicable ~ supporting local businesses and encouraging communities to engage actively with their environment, through volunteered effort, education and initiative.
Various exciting projects are anticipated. The Langdon ridge used to have a lot of orchards of different kinds, with several local fruit varieties. It is possible to identify some of the trees that remain, with a view to propagating and planting new stock, including in community orchards.
It is also hoped to see more of the ancient woodlands brought back into regular coppice management, after very lengthy periods of neglect during the past century. Meanwhile the considerable areas of more recent (‘secondary’) woodland are increasingly being treated as coppice, thereby promoting the wildlife interest.
The Langdon Living Landscape extends right along the ridge, from Dunton and the margins of Horndon in the west to Basildon golf course and Vange Heights in the east. Thus it encompasses the precious green lung which is so important for folk living in the surrounding urban communities.