Wallasea island update

On 19th July myself, Peter Partington, Dan Cole and Richard Allen visited Wallasea island RSPB reserve in the Thames estuary where work has now started to create europe’s largest man-made coastal reserve. In a unique collaboration between conservation and civil engineering some 4.5 million tonnes of earth from London’s Crossrail project will be dumped on the island and sculpted over time into tidal lagoons and mudflats. The pontoons and huge conveyor belt are now in place and the first of an estimated two thousand shiploads of earth has arrived. The scale of this project really has to be seen to be believed; the conveyor winds its way from the pontoon like some vast shiny metallic snake and it’s hard to imagine that eventually all this concrete and metal will give way to sea lavender and spoonbills. We spent an afternoon walking along the sea wall as far as the conveyor – there was plenty to see with good views of yellow wagtails, various wader species, hares and clouds of white butterflies flitted over the thistles, ragwort and docks on the sea wall. We heard and saw several corn buntings near the car park which was ironic as this farmland species arguably has as much to lose as gain from the newly created wetlands. This was the first of regular visits to the island by SWLA artists to document the project. All members are welcome to get involved! I am planning another visit later in the autumn and again hopefully in January/February next year. Please contact me for more details. (studio@brin-edwards.com 01787 211162)

Brin Edwards