Steps Bank project

‘Steps Bank’ is an ecological land management project and one of several areas undergoing environmental regeneration. The area, behind The Pines Calyx, was up until recently, completely overgrown and inaccessible, being heavily populated by non-native trees and shrubs such as sycamore, holm oak and buddleja as well as box leaf honeysuckle.

Regeneration of indigenous coastal habitat

Our staff and volunteers have each brought their own skills and expertise to the project whose intentions are to restore and enhance the habitat on the one and a half acre site. Through re-establishing tree species indigenous to the South coast of England, such as Wild Cherry, English Oak and Silver Birch, it’s hoped that the Steps Bank project will regenerate this small area of coastal habitat.

Building a living woodland classroom

By dividing the area into zones depicting the stages of ecological succession* from grassland to forest, the Steps Bank project has already helped form part of a wider education for visitors.

*Ecological succession is the gradual process by which ecosystems change and develop over time.

Using the woodland classroom

The John Muir Award is an environmental award scheme focussed on wild places. It encourages people of all backgrounds to connect with, enjoy and care for wild places. John Muir Award participants and volunteers alike have been treated to a unique outdoor learning experience; taking in elements of woodland crafts and practical conservation.

Similarly, interest is growing in this innovative project with wildlife groups. The Kent Field Club in particular, lending their support to Steps Bank and its wealth of opportunities and possibilities.

the ‘Steps Bank’ project has already helped form part of a wider education for visitors

Woodland habitat regeneration

In a short space of time, encouraging signs of regeneration in the woodland have begun to emerge. Thanks to additional light from cleared trees, indigenous saplings such as hazel and wild cherry have been given more space to thrive, alongside wildflowers creating a natural regeneration. Zones have been created which will allow differing flora areas depending on the light available and the characteristics of the forest floor.

Everything on the Steps bank site has been re-purposed from other areas, for example, the woodchips that line the pathway steps have been chipped from Pines Garden trees. This has encouraged more diversity in the fungi family, with certain species such as the ‘St.Georges mushroom’, which is flourishing in the improved conditions.

Logs, also from Pines Garden and Rippledown, have been collected and gathered in such a way that insects and reptiles will form their own ecosystems within the bark. Techniques such as dead-hedging, which are traditional barriers made from brushwood, are great for mammals to create their habitats within ‘Steps Bank’.

Habitats have been created for flora and fauna to co-exist as nature intended.

If you would like to use this facility or get involved with the regeneration programme feel free to get in touch!

Call Yolanda on 01304 851737 ext: 2012

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