Help us to save Betteshanger Country Park's endangered wildlife

by The Friends of Betteshanger, CPRE Kent - the countryside charity, KWT, RSPB

Help us to save Betteshanger Country Park's endangered wildlife

by The Friends of Betteshanger, CPRE Kent - the countryside charity, KWT, RSPB
The Friends of Betteshanger, CPRE Kent - the countryside charity, KWT, RSPB
Case Owner
A coalition of The Friends of Betteshanger, CPRE Kent, KWT and RSPB are working together to safeguard the future of Betteshanger Country Park and its protected species.
23
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£17,446
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Pledge now
The Friends of Betteshanger, CPRE Kent - the countryside charity, KWT, RSPB
Case Owner
A coalition of The Friends of Betteshanger, CPRE Kent, KWT and RSPB are working together to safeguard the future of Betteshanger Country Park and its protected species.
Pledge now

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Latest: Aug. 30, 2023

The fight to save this iconic wildlife haven continues

Betteshanger Country Park is proving to be even more special than we originally thought. Not only does this amazing open space hold the second largest colony of Lizard Orchids in the UK, support the …

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We are the Friends of Betteshanger, a local group campaigning to protect a rewilded colliery site, which has now become a haven for wildlife. This beautiful 250-acre site has transformed into a valuable wildlife habitat over many years and now boasts some of the finest flora and fauna in the UK, showcasing the amazing ability of nature to recover.

Betteshanger Country Park, having once been a spoil tip for the Betteshanger colliery that closed down in 1989, now consists of priority open mosaic habitat, supporting some of our most endangered and vulnerable species. Over many years, nature flourished, gradually regenerated and now the park supports, and is home to, an incredibly rich array of biodiversity including rare Turtle Doves, Skylarks, Yellow Hammers and Song Thrush, Beavers, Water Voles, Rare Invertebrates, over 120 species of Fungi, Bats, Common Lizards, Grass Snakes, Slow Worms, Lizard Orchids, the rare and fascinating reindeer cup lichen and over 300 species of native plants including 20 on the Kent Rare Plant Register.

                             

A government agency, and later an agricultural college, working closely with the local community, invested lots of public money planting trees and shrubs etc. to help make the park what it is today. The history of Betteshanger Colliery has deep roots in the community, and since its closure the community has forged deep bonds with the Country Park and its wildlife, enjoying this wide, undulating, open green space and beautiful vistas.  

Due to the impressive array of habitats within Betteshanger Country Park, over the years it has also been used as a compensation and receptor site for protected species from other developments in the area, including turtle doves and reptiles.  These compensation schemes are secured by legal agreements through the planning system. However, these areas are amongst those which are now under threat.

                            

In 2019 the park was sold on to a local property developer who now wants to build a huge commercial surfing lagoon and luxury hotel and spa.  Both the hotel and surfing lagoon will destroy priority habitat, wildlife mitigation sites and the second largest colony of lizard orchids in the UK.    

Major nature conservation charities have rallied and are supporting The Friends in opposing these plans, including the RSPB, CPRE Kent - the countryside charity, Kent Wildlife Trust, Buglife, Plantlife, the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland and Froglife, along with 500 people, including eminent academics.

SSSI designation has been applied for, from Natural England, but these designations are infrequent and despite the high biodiversity value and the huge support we are getting, the odds are still very much stacked against us and the wildlife.

Despite the clear need to protect this fantastic site for both wildlife and for the local community there is a risk that either planning permission could be granted, or an appeal could be launched by the developer if it is refused by the Council. Therefore, we are preparing to use all legal means necessary to defend and protect both flora and fauna, which will be costly. We intend to use raised funds to enlist expert advice and possibly legal representation towards any possible Judicial Review and help our campaign.

                               

In this age of catastrophic biodiversity decline, we are desperate to protect the flora and fauna of this valuable open space and preserve it for future generations to enjoy. We need your help to secure these resources that we so urgently need to protect and preserve the precious wildlife and their habitats.

Please donate to help the Friends of Betteshanger save the wildlife at Betteshanger Country Park, and please sign our petition. Thank you so much for your support.

See our web site www.friendsofbetteshanger.co.uk and find us on Facebook Friends of Betteshanger https://www.facebook.com/groups/321800662134764

Update 1

The Friends of Betteshanger, CPRE Kent - the countryside charity, KWT, RSPB

Aug. 30, 2023

The fight to save this iconic wildlife haven continues

Betteshanger Country Park is proving to be even more special than we originally thought. Not only does this amazing open space hold the second largest colony of Lizard Orchids in the UK, support the critically endangered Turtle Dove, it now also hosts a breeding colony of the beautiful Fiery Clearwing Moth. 

So, on to the updates so far...

The 120 bedroom hotel and spa was refused by the planning committee. However, the application was withdrawn before the refusal notice could be served. So this remains a threat for the future...watch this space.

The Friends of Betteshanger are working hard to get a covenant enforced that would ensure the park exists for the betterment and education of the local and wider community and exists to protect the wildlife into the future.

The park is still in the process of being considered for SSSI status by Natural England.

Please continue to support us as we move forward with our efforts to protect this special place into the future and to ensure it remains a safe place for the diverse and rare species that depend on this unique habitat to survive. 

We thank you all so much for your support.

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