It’s sometime difficult to appreciate, but much of the Lewes Railway Land Nature Reserve is man-made. Some of this has resulted due to the former use of the site, as railway sidings. Other parts of the reserve have been constructed more recently, such as the Heat of Reeds.
However, this relatively small patch of green space is vitally important both to the wildlife and also for local people. The key is to manage the reserve so it looks natural, feels natural and to balance the protection of the site with public access.
One reason this site is important is because we have lost 45 % of wetland habitat in the UK in the last 75 years. This is disastrous to aquatic wildlife but is also a major problem to terrestrial wildlife too that visit wetland habitats for food, water, to reproduce and more.
Loss of wetland habitats is particularly impacting on species such as dragonflies, amphibians and waterfowl. The live cams have added to our awareness of the biological diversity of the site. We have seen moorhen, mallard, heron, marsh frogs, grass snake, dragonflies, rudd, tech, sticklebacks, eels and much more. So many species relying on just this one site; imagine the diversity of species that live on a large area of wetland.
We hope that Railway Land Live is helping to raise awareness of the reasons why such places are important. It is easy to walk through the reserve and miss most of what is there if you are not tuned into your surroundings and sadly this is true for some people. We hope that it’s also helping people to engage with the wildlife on the reserve and has enhanced the enjoyment and wellbeing for our visitors.
We face the constant challenge that human activities bring and sadly litter and even shopping trollies frequently end up in our wildlife rich ponds.
Sadly, if we don’t protect our green spaces, with the pressure from new roads and housing, such places will continue to disappear.