What about a “Pembury Wildlife Group”?
We are fortunate in Pembury to be surrounded by varied and beautiful countryside. There are miles of footpaths in the parish going through habitats including woods, orchards and open grassland. There are many streams and some are piped to the Pembury reservoir which collects water for supplying the Tunbridge Wells area. From the higher ground we have some great views across the Low and High Wealds.
Much of the rural surroundings to the village are designated as an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” (AONB) and some parts are in the Metropolitan Green Belt (MGB). These categories give a degree of protection but they can be adjusted if pressures such as housing development override. This makes it important to try and record what wildlife, of all forms – plants, insects, mammals, amphibians, reptiles etc. are living alongside us. Such information is vital for officials and planners to properly assess proposals and to support or add protection where it is needed. Also it could provide a valuable educational resource possibly accessed via the Parish website and social media.
Some other villages have started Wildlife Groups to collect data and set a base line against which changes can be measured. Climate change is having a big effect locally and nationally and is a growing concern. Increased population and extra traffic are adding to the pressures.
A wildlife group could bring together a spread of residents both young and old. There must be a wide range of skills within the village. Bird watchers and insect enthusiasts will be vital but also photographers, I.T. experts and those with other specific interests or just with a general empathy for the countryside.
At present a Pembury Neighbourhood Plan is being prepared for the next 20 years and the Environment and Green Spaces working group is looking at a variety of relevant issues. A Pembury Wildlife Group could provide a wealth of valuable information from the community to help preserve and enhance the natural world around us.
The next step is for the working group of the Pembury Neighbourhood Plan to decide. The Marden Wildlife Group is a local model started only a year ago and with much information already collected and a superb publication as a result. They have formed a core “WhatsApp” group for those strongly involved – including some local farmers, an ornithologist, an entomologist, a botanist and a photographer. A Facebook link has also been set up for everyone interested and a website may possibly follow. They have forged links with local environmental organisations such as the Kent Wildlife Trust and have had some advisory visits where Covid restrictions allowed. Main activities last year included moth trapping and bat detecting as well as recording bird species and meadow flora.
For further information and to get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.