This is an important success for the Trust and we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated to the public appeal. Thanks to your generosity, we have been able to secure rare, cherished Essex coastal grazing marsh.
As promised, the additional money (c. £20,000) raised is restricted for use at Blue House Farm, and will go to support our on-going work there.
We are now in the process of trying to secure the significant funding required to improve the new land for the benefit of wildlife, including many declining species.
Our reserves team has some really exciting plans to improve the habitat. We plan to raise the waterlevels in the borrowdyke, to establish 1 hectare of reedbed. We will also raise the water levels on an existing 7 hectares of grazing marsh and 11 hectares of the acquisition site. Water levels will also be raised in 15km of existing ditches and we will create over 800 metres of new ditches. There are many important species which will benefit including: Reed Bunting, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Wigeon, Teal, Pintail, Golden Plover, Curlew, Dunlin, Shoveler, Mallard, and Snipe, as well as grazing marsh plants and invertebrates. Water Vole, Lapwing and Redshank - all threatened species - will benefit especially.
Yellow Wagtail and Brent Goose will also benefit significantly and it will offer ideal habitat for colonising species such as the Southern Hawker Dragonfly, Spoonbill and Great White Egret.
Blue House Farm is a 600-acre farm in North Fambridge situated on the River Crouch. The farm is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is internationally important for wildlife, particularly overwintering birds and also for coastal plants and insects.The farm has many permissive paths and is a wonderful place to experience our Essex wildlife. Our webcam Barn Owls breed on this farm every year and always raise good numbers of young.
Many people enjoy a walk at Blue House Farm to recharge their batteries and experience the bleak but beautiful landscape. We manage this working farm to conserve and increase the wildlife that it supports. This involves maintaining high water levels and balancing good livestock farming with good conservation practice.
Our two staff wardens at Blue House are relishing the opportunity to take on the additional 44 acres and, once funding is secured, the opportunity to improve this land for wildlife.
Thank you again to all who donated to the public appeal. All donors will be invited on a special guided walk, led by Essex Wildlife Trust staff and volunteers, at Blue House Farm in the future.