Thurrock Stepping Stones

Our exciting Thurrock Stepping Stones will help protect Thurrock’s nationally important populations of invertebrates and bring people closer to the special wildlife on their doorstep, by restoring and creating wildlife-rich brownfield habitat.

Update November 2015:A huge area of bare chalk has been created at Grays Chalk Pit SSSI thanks to the great work of the Essex Wildlife Trust. This includes a series of chalk topped bunds to create varied bare chalk habitat for some of the site’s rare bugs and even some seasonally wet pools. The brownfield education area at Thurrock Thameside is still underway- now using hundreds of free tyres as well as the hundreds of tonnes of aggregates!

Thurrock’s history of industry has left a legacy of diverse brownfields, which now support nationally rare and scarce species such as the Shrill carder bee (Bombus sylvarum) and Five-banded weevil wasp (Cerceris quinquefasciata).

However, Thurrock’s brownfields are under threat from the intense development pressure of the Thames Estuary which was highlighted by our All of a Buzz in the Thames Gateway project.  The Thurrock Stepping Stones project will create new opportunities for the special invertebrates of the region and help ensure their future.

We have formed an exciting partnership with the Essex Wildlife Trust to create habitat for invertebrates on two of their popular brownfield nature reserves and make sure they are well managed long into the future.

Thurrock Thameside Nature Park is a former landfill site which once received 15% of London’s waste, but is now a developing haven for the region’s wildlife. The site will benefit from a brownfield educational area with interpretation, sandy nesting areas for ground-nesting bees and wasps, and disturbed wildflower areas.

Chafford Gorges Nature Park is a network of former chalk quarries which supports nationally important assemblages of bees, wasps and flies. Habitat works will include a network of sand topped chalk bunds, scrub clearance, wildflower enhancements, re-opening sand cliff faces and an educational green wall.

The project will also undertake extensive expert surveys to improve our knowledge and understanding of the site. A broad programme of community engagement is planned, including bug hunts, moth trapping, volunteer work parties, bumblebee identification training and bug home making.

Thurrock Stepping Stones is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Veolia North Thames Trust.

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