On 29th June 2018 Natural England announced that the Langdon Ridge in Basildon would be a new Site of Special Scientific interest (SSSI) with immediate effect.
The 345 hectares of newly protected land includes Essex Wildlife Trust’s Langdon Nature Reserve, Willow Park, Dunton Plotlands and Marks Hill Wood (owned by EWT but managed by Basildon Natural History Society) and Langdon Hills Country Park owned by Thurrock Council. These areas have been part of the Langdon Living Landscape project for a number of years but the new SSSI designation will ensure stronger protection for this nationally significant array of grasslands, woodlands, rare plants and wildlife.
The area is particularly renowned for its diverse mosaic of semi natural habitats which include unimproved neutral grasslands, fen meadows, scrub, woodlands and areas of grassland that support invertebrates and flowering plants such as the Deptford Pink flower, the Grizzled Skipper butterfly and other protected species. The Ridge allows a unique habitat connectivity across a wide sweep of land above the Thames Estuary which enables species to move between locations improving their survival rate by allowing access to wider food supplies, habitats and breeding colonies. Nature conservation is the aim of the new SSSI but the importance for people to connect with nature has always been at the heart of the Langdon Living Landscape; the easily accessible Country Parks and Nature Reserves, on the urban fringes of Basildon, are highly valued by the local population and provide opportunities to enjoy this beautiful area.
It is right that after decades of work by Essex Wildlife Trust, Thurrock and Basildon Councils and Basildon Natural History Society, who provided much of the scientific evidence, this amazingly rich and diverse area has been given the protection it deserves. Indeed Aiden Lonergan, Natural England’s Area Manager for West Anglia said “Langdon Ridge is a wildlife-rich landscape that deserves to be recognised as one of the most important areas for nature conservation in England.”
- Notification document (PDF, defra.gov.uk)
- Supporting information (PDF, defra.gov.uk)
- Summary Map (PDF, defra.gov.uk)