Our plans for Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve
Kent Wildlife Trust’s flagship Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve is a nationally important nature reserve, home to over 2,000 species including some spectacular birds. It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and should be one of the few remaining wildlife refuges in the UK where nature is properly protected.
In recent years, the high number of visitors at Sevenoaks nature reserve has put increased pressure on wildlife habitats on the site. In order to manage this the Trust has plans to redevelop its visitor centre at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve to better accommodate visitors and reduce their impact on the site, whilst providing improved facilities for education around wildlife protection. This will help nature flourish in the long term, ensuring more people connect with, and feel empowered to take responsibility for safeguarding our local wildlife.
Plans include installing clearer signs and improving paths for visitors in order to avoid sensitive areas, allowing wildlife to thrive. We will also be extending and upgrading the current visitor centre with a revamped café overlooking the lake; improved accessibility for the wider community and fitting new solar panels to reduce the site’s carbon footprint.
The Trust has had to review plans for the site at a time when our natural world has never been so threatened, putting wildlife at the core of any decision making. Due to the new improvements, we have been in discussion with Bromley (Kent) & District Angling Society on capacity issues and will need to remove some of the existing structures on site to make more room for wildlife. The two organisations have now agreed to produce a joint vision (see below) to incorporate angling into the future long-term plans for Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve.
Fiona White, Director of Education and Engagement at Kent Wildlife Trust said:
“We hope that our new visitor centre will help people connect with nature at such a crucial time for our environment and our wellbeing. It is an opportunity for the local and wider community to engage with nature and inspire future generations to learn about the importance of biodiversity and concepts such as Wilding.
“Our priority is to maintain the wildlife value of this important and cherished site in the heart of Sevenoaks. The centre will become a place to learn, research, explore, be active, get connected and provide opportunities to give back to the local community through volunteering. This reserve will bring Wilding to life and create space for nature and natural processes to thrive as part of our vision for a Wilder Kent.”
UPDATED 26th FEBRUARY 2021
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Full Statement from Kent Wildlife Trust and Bromley (Kent) & District Angling Society
Kent Wildlife Trust, Bromley (Kent) & District Angling Society (BDAS) and the Angling Trust agreed to produce a joint vision to incorporate angling into the future long-term plans for Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve.
The organisations have committed to working together on the wider plans to offer more of the community access to nature through the Sevenoaks site. The Bromley (Kent) & District Angling Society have been shown to align far more closely with the ambitions and vision of Kent Wildlife Trust for the site prompting an agreement to work up a joint document upon which a new licence can be drawn for the longer-term involvement of BDAS to provide angling opportunities on the reserve.
Paul Hadaway, Director of Conservation at Kent Wildlife Trust said:
“Angling is an important part of what we do at Sevenoaks and we want to see angling take a more active part in the visitor experience onsite to ensure more people can engage with nature. Our plans for wilding, including the reintroduction of beaver to the site, take it much closer to the original Harrison family vision for Sevenoaks and the support from BDAS in working with us to do this is welcome.”
Fiona White, Director of Engagement and Education at Kent Wildlife Trust said:
“There is an urgent need to create a new visitor centre at Sevenoaks and to improve much of the infrastructure. I was pleased to see that the angler’s vision for the site is very close to our own and clearly forms the basis for angling to play its part in connecting visitors from a diverse range of backgrounds with nature. Kent Wildlife Trust is committed to building a site which will create opportunities for everyone and to ensuring that people who wouldn’t otherwise visit the countryside have full access and a fulfilling experience.”
Dennis Puttock, Honorary Secretary of BDAS said:
“We look forward to working closely with Kent Wildlife Trust in forging a long-term plan for the benefit of nature conservation, beaver reintroduction, angling and birdwatching on this historic wildlife site.”
Jamie Cook, CEO of the Angling Trust added:
“We absolutely support Kent Wildlife Trust’s desire to improve facilities on this important site and the need for anglers to create space to allow these works to progress. Luckily there is ample room at Sevenoaks to accommodate multiple uses and with the good will shown today I’m confident that together we can create something fantastic down there with angling as an important connection with the natural world.”