Mission statement

A comprehensive survey of the flora and fauna of the Shingle Street area, to demonstrate its great biodiversity and establish its importance as a rich and sensitive environment to be conserved and protected.

Statement of Purpose

The plan is to produce a comprehensive survey of the flora and fauna of the Shingle St area (see map). This is an locality of great natural diversity and abundance, which already contains within it an area designated as a conservation site of special importance and also has close to it other wildlife reserves and protected areas.

We are implementing this project through a combination of local volunteer efforts and a commissioned report from the professional ecological consultants, Abrehart Ecology. The project is funded by generous donations from the Environment Agency, Touching the Tide and other regional sponsors. We are also grateful for the initial data provided by the Suffolk Biological Records Office.

We already have in place some of the elements of such a survey in the Vegetated Shingle Surveys sponsored by the ‘Touching the Tide’ project and in the records of local naturalists, but these need to be brought together in a systematic and professional way and supplemented with data on other taxa that have been less well recorded (various insect and invertebrate groups, fungi, molluscs, crustaceans, amphibians etc).

We see this as creating an important resource that can be periodically updated and will serve as a benchmark for monitoring changes to this rich but sensitive environment. It should become a point of reference for all future discussions of the conservation and protection of this area. Once established, there would also be opportunities to derive from such a survey various more accessible and popular local publications for residents and visitors alike, such as information booklets of walks, species lists, and local cultural and natural history.

The work of assembling the data for this project is already underway and the overall time-scale will be the full calendar year from 1 January 2015, in order to take account of all the relevant seasonal changes.

Britain’s wildlife is currently threatened as never before. In this situation it is increasingly important for local communities to document and celebrate the biodiversity of the areas in which they live. See as further background the 2014 State of Nature report from the RSPB and all the UK’s main conservation bodies and the recent article in the 8-14 August issue of the New Statesman. The SS survey is envisaged as a small step in addressing this crisis and it is hoped that it might serve as a model for other coastal communities on the Suffolk coast, who could thereby pool their results and resources and act jointly to protect this endangered environment.

Jeremy Mynott
15 January 2015