Loz Pycock (CC BY-SA 2.0)
British Wildlife 32.5 April 2021

Nature reserve or theme park? The battle of Swanscombe

Home to a spectacular array of rare species, such as the Distinguished Jumping Spider and Hairy Vetchling, Swanscombe Marshes has now been pegged to be the site of a new £2.5 billion resort theme park. Despite the very recent recognition from Natural England that this site should be a SSSI, the threat of development still looms. Here, Peter Marren highlights the remarkable species of Swanscombe Marshes and provides an update of the proposed plans that endanger this special site.

Swanscombe Marshes is a triangular peninsula about the size of Regent’s Park, tucked inside a bend in the Thames between Dartford and Gravesend. If you have heard the name before, it may be because of Swanscombe Man (now believed to be a woman), the 400,000-year-old remains of an ancestor of the human race. Otherwise it is best known for containing one of the oldest cement works in the world, running from 1792 until 1990.

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