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2020 / 2021 Edition

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Tarmac renew management agreement with KWT

Holborough Marsh

Kent Wildlife Trust to continue to manage Holborough Marsh nature reserve on former cement-making site

HOLBOROUGH Marsh, a thriving 35ha nature reserve on the outskirts of Snodland, in Kent, was once part of Tarmac’s largest cement and quarrying operation. The restored site has been managed on behalf of the company by Kent Wildlife Trust (KWT) for nearly a quarter of a century, demonstrating an excellent collaboration between the two organizations.

This arrangement is now set to continue after Tarmac recently renewed their management agreement with KWT.

The reserve, on the flood plain of the river Medway, has been classified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and features a wide range of wetland habitats with tidal brackish reed beds, freshwater marsh, marshy grassland, scrub, woodland, and both freshwater and saline dykes. 

The site is also very important for its diverse range of birds. The reed beds support breeding reed and sedge warblers as well as providing important migratory roosting sites for swallows and sand martins, whilst wildfowl take advantage of the wetland areas and Cetti’s warblers and nightingales can be found in the scrub.

A variety of plant species are also found at the site, including marsh-mallow and early and southern marsh orchid, meadowsweet, knapweeds and bladderwort. The conservation area is also bucking trends with its thriving population of water voles – the UK’s fastest declining mammal. 

Mark Heeley, Tarmac’s property estates manager, explained: ‘Holborough has a long association with cement making and the legacy of this industry has helped shape the reserve. The marsh is a patchwork of wet fields and scrub criss-crossed by ditches and home to many rare and unusual plants and animals. A network of paths provides access for people’s quiet enjoyment. 

‘Since 1995 Tarmac have worked with KWT under a regularly reviewed management agreement, whereby the company funds a KWT warden who, with a number of volunteers, is dedicated to looking after the marsh. 

‘As part of our continued commitment to restoration and biodiversity in this nationally important site, we have recently renewed this agreement, demonstrating our commitment to the continued husbandry and improvements at this flourishing nature reserve.

‘We value our partnership with KWT and are proud to be able to continue working with the Trust to develop the nature reserve still further, creating a wildlife haven for the enjoyment of all.’

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