Why a national park

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In 1861 Charles Dickens ‘ famous novel Great Expectations was published and I’m sure many of you will recollect his famous words written about our marshes that are as relevant now as they were nearly 160 years ago .

“Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the rivers wound, twenty miles of the sea.  My first most vivid and broad impression of the identity of things seems to me to have been gained on a memorable raw afternoon towards evening. At such a time I found out for certain that this bleak place overgrown with nettles was the churchyard………. and that the flat dark wilderness beyond the churchyard, intersected with dikes and mounds and gates, with scattered cattle feeding on it, was the marshes; and that the low leaden line beyond was the river; and that the distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing was the sea…..

Dickens was describing a scene unchanged to this day. With your help, future generations will be able to make the same comparisons.

The idea of making the Hoo Peninsula a National Park is not a new one. Others before us have realised how important this unassuming piece of real estate is to our Natural and Cultural Heritage.

Most would never see it in the same light as the picture postcard destinations such as the Lake District or the New Forest.

But,

The Hoo Peninsula is, in my opinion, the second most important wildlife site in England, internationally designated and protected.

The Hoo Peninsula is home to the Thames and Medway Estuary Marshes covering an area of 38 sq miles from Gravesend rounding the Isle of Grain to Rochester. It is the central most important and fundamental feature of the greater North Kent Marshes which stretches from Dartford all the way to Whitstable.

The Hoo Peninsula is the custodian of a Ramsar, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Protected Areas (SPA). They include coastal grazing marsh, intertidal mudflats, salt marsh and fresh water lagoons. At the end of the escarpment of the North Downs lies Northwood Hill, a National Nature Reserve, overlooking the marsh to the north.

Picture if you will the dikes fanning out across marsh to the estuary beyond channelling the gently ebbing and flowing tide. Look a little closer and see the myriad of wildlife feeding on the richly fertile mudflat with its high content of organic material ideal for the filter feeding scavenger Invertebrates and of course flocks of wintering wildfowl, phenomenal and spectacular in numbers.

In the foreground the vast expanse of lowland wet grassland lies in front of the sea wall maintaining a bio diverse food source when the salt marsh is covered by the tide.  True Dickens Country!

Unlocking the potential of the Hoo Peninsula to development will herald the beginning of the end for this national treasure for ever and the unstoppable march of the urban fringe.

Please join with me and help make the Hoo Peninsula a National Park.

Help Protect our Natural and Cultural Heritage.

Help to make it a place where people and nature are better connected.

A place that continues to be rich in wildlife.

A place where we, our children and our grandchildren, can connect with nature and benefit from exploring, playing and learning.

We are among the most Nature depleted nations in the world our government statisticians tell us that :-

We have lost 97% of our wildflower meadows since 1930.

We have ever more specie of birds in decline.

Insects and invertebrates are struggling.

A third of our British bees are in decline.

 WE MUST START NOW to make a change by embracing the idea of a National Park for the Hoo Peninsula, perhaps even encompassing the whole of the North Kent  Marshes. Making the whole area as large as the North Norfolk Coast.

We have the landscape, the raw beauty, the geology, the geography, the biodiversity, the history, the archaeology and the rare species of plants and animals.

What we now need is the will to start to plan and to work together with a real ambition to achieve a healthier, happier future and ensure our wonderful countryside is greener, more beautiful and PROTECTED FOR THE WHOLE NATION.

Please visit my website and pledge your support for the Hoo Peninsula National Park.

Www.ronsands.co.uk/whats-the-latest

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