Crossness southern marshes

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In recent years, the Crossness southern marshes have undergone extensive improvements to encourage visitors and wildlife.

Wader scrape created

The new wader scrape in our wetland field has been carefully designed and created with our proposals to raise water levels via a weir.

This area holds water during the winter, and exposes bare mud when levels drop through the summer.

These shallow muddy areas provide ideal foraging habitat for waders such as redshank, snipe and lapwing.

Small islands added

Three small islands have been created:

  • Two are shingled-topped - ideal for breeding plovers and terns.
  • One is covered with vegetation for increased diversity.

Wildlife viewing screen installed

A new wildlife-viewing screen also provides ideal bird-watching opportunities while minimising disturbance.

This was put to good use in the spring of 2007, when a rare squacco heron took up residence for nearly two weeks.

This bird, which hadn't been seen in Greater London for 141 years, attracted large numbers of birdwatchers and national press.

The viewing screen, created from recycled materials, allowed very close views of this rare and unusual bird.

New visitor footpath integrated

The new footpath runs north from our southern boundary at the back of Southmere Park, and then takes visitors east through the site towards the public right of way that leads to Waldrist Way.

The path has been designed to allow access for all; it is wide enough, and the surface smooth enough, to allow wheelchairs, and we have altered the gradients of steep slopes to make the path suitable for people with limited mobility.

Ditch restoration project

A large ditch network restoration project has been undertaken across the marshes.

We have:

  • Remodelled the banks to make them suitable for water voles and other species.
  • Desilted some channels to ensure that they hold water throughout the year.
  • Created new ditches to encourage expansion of water voles, and to provide suitable habitat for dragonflies and damselflies.

All our hard work has paid off

Water voles, previously only present in 130m of ditch, now make use of over 1.5km of our restored ditches.

As the UK's fastest declining mammal, the water vole needs all the help it can get and we are very proud that we have been able to create an ideal home for them.