ESSEX Wildlife Trust will start important conservation work in February, to benefit valuable wildlife in Chafford Gorges.
Grays Gorge, within Essex Wildlife Trust’s Chafford Gorges Nature Park, is officially designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) – meaning that it is recognised as one of the country’s best wildlife sites – due to its array of invertebrates, which rely on there being a diversity of wild flowers.
Before Essex Wildlife Trust took over the management of the site (2004), parts of the chalk grassland in Grays Gorge had been taken over by thick woodland, of a very limited variety of trees, which severely restricts the amount of wild flowers that can grow – and therefore the numbers of invertebrates on the site.
Essex Wildlife Trust’s long-planned restoration work will see selective felling of trees in areas of less valuable woodland, to create a mixture of inter-locked grassland and woodland in Grays Gorge, to increase the diversity of plants and invertebrates. More than 50% of the current tree cover in the area will be left in place.
“Some of the valuable wildlife for which this site was designated as an SSSI is under threat, so we need to restore parts of Grays Gorge to make sure that that wildlife is not lost forever,” Matthew McGettigan, Essex Wildlife Trust warden at Chafford Gorges, said. “Felling less valuable trees will ensure that woodland and wild-flower meadow wildlife can exist together in this special place.”
Essex Wildlife Trust appreciates the patience and support of visitors to Chafford Gorges Nature Park, while this important conservation work is carried out over the next couple of months. For more information, please call Essex Wildlife Trust’s Chafford Gorges Visitor Centre on 01375 484016.