The Jurassic Coast Protected Site Strategy is underway!

In our last work update, we introduced Saskia Elliott, who is leading on our Protected Site Strategy Project. There will be lots to say about the project as it develops, but Saskia has already been making great progress after only three weeks in the role. Working closely with colleagues at Natural England, Saskia has been compiling a baseline for the World Heritage Site, gathering together all the relevant information that helps us to understand how the Site is protected, what condition the various elements of its unique geological heritage are in, and then organising as much of that information as possible into a digital mapping system to help us visualise it all.

Our starting point has been the network of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and Geological Conservation Review sites that together help describe and protect the key parts of the geology of the Jurassic Coast. Whilst there is plenty of data to work with, we need to make sense of it using the statement and attributes of the Jurassic Coast’s Outstanding Universal Value, the overall reasons it was made a World Heritage Site. Once complete, the baseline will help us plan targeted research and highlight conservation issues that may come up in the future and that we can prepare for now. We can’t show you any of the work yet, but we hope to be able to soon.


Lower Otter Restoration Scheme complete!

Two important stakeholders on the Jurassic Coast – Clinton Devon Estates and the Environment Agency - were celebrating earlier in March as they completed a major project to restore the lower parts of the River Otter to a more natural state. There are a great many benefits to the scheme, but chief amongst them are to make the community of Budleigh Salterton more resilient to flooding and future climate change, and also to create new area of rare inter-tidal habitat to compensate for losses of this same habitat on the Exe estuary.

This project is also really good for the Jurassic Coast. The shingle spit of Budleiugh Salterton beach, which stretches across the front of the Otter Estuary and is part of the World Heritage site, now has a more natural setting both in how visitors experience the area but also in how all the processes that shape and reshape the shingle spit function. With the river estuary now more active during different tidal conditions, and generally having more energetic water flow, the end of the shingle beach may change shape. This is really exciting, a rare opportunity to see restored natural systems fully re-establish themselves.

Find out more about the project by searching online, or better yet, get down there for a visit! The networks of paths than run through and around the project area are gentle and accessible, with lots of viewpoints and information provided on site about what you can see. Take binoculars if you have them as there is already plenty of varied birdlife taking advantage of the newly created habitat.

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