Pegwell Bay Country Park is Kent Wildlife Trust’s largest nature reserve and is of international importance for its bird populations, including nightingales and cuckoos.
However, a number of these animals and their habitats were destroyed when a camp fire became out of control at the site, which sits between Sandwich and Ramsgate, and spread across a large area of grasslands and undergrowth.
Kent Wildlife Trust is supporting Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s (KFRS) campaign to reduce accidental grass fires in the county. Kent Wildlife Trust does not allow any fires on any of its reserves.
John Wilson, East Coast Warden for Kent Wildlife Trust, headed to the scene of the blaze on 8 May last year and was immediately faced with the heart-breaking consequences.
He said: “It was quite a shocking sight. There was a huge amount of damage and without any effort at all, just from getting out of my vehicle, I picked up what was likely to have been a grass snake, and a sand lizard – a species that’s incredibly rare.
“I couldn’t see any of the birds that would’ve been on the site, as they would have just perished in the flames, along with invertebrates and lots of other wildlife. It was all just gone.”