The Fifth Continent - Romney Marsh Landscape Partnership
The Fifth Continent Landscape Partnership will facilitate the restoration and enhancement of the Marsh’s natural heritage, investigate local archaeological heritage and promote the physical and cultural assets of the area through education and interpretation programmes.
In February 2017, the project was awarded a £1.76m National Lottery grant and the the five year programme of works will run from March 2017 to September 2020.
This ambitious project plans to restore and protect habitats and species, and put local people back in touch fragile landscape through: will the landscape around them. The scheme covers 242 sq km of low lying coastal land in South Kent containing historic settlements such as New Romney and Hythe.
Distinctive Norman churches built on the back of the medieval wool industry dot the landscape, which is nationally important for biodiversity and built heritage featuring 5 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), 6 Local Wildlife Sites, 19 Scheduled Ancient Monuments, 10 Conservation Areas, and 257 Listed buildings. Dungeness is one of the largest shingle ridges in the world and supports over 600 plant species - one third of the national flora!
The project will feature three themes, 'Restore', 'Rediscover', and 'Reclaim', which aim to address challenges brought by poor transport links, rural isolation and the decline of local industries. The National Lottery players' money will be invested in activities and opportunities for volunteers that aim to involve local people in protecting this fragile landscape through:
• restoring and surveying shingle habitats
• producing guidance for landowners to protect their environmental assets
• a community archaeology project to uncover the lost port of Romney
• 55 accredited apprenticeships including land management, livestock management and sustainable tourism
• creative workshops for young people, community events, and film making
• activities designed to put churches back into the heart of communities
Fifth Continent Steering Group
To help everything run smoothly a ‘Fifth Continent Steering Group’ has been gathered together. It will meet every two months to provide guidance and advice, direct efforts and assess progress.Membership is drawn from:
Environment Agency, Kent & Medway Biological Records Centre, Kent County Council (Heritage team),
Kent Wildlife Trust, Natural England, New Romney Town Council,
Romney Marsh Countryside Partnership, Romney Marsh Internal Drainage Board, Romney Resource Centre,
Rother District Council, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Shepway District Council,
Sussex Wildlife Trust, The Marsh Academy, Visit Kent, Diocese of Canterbury
and a landowner/farming contact.
Other organisations may be invited.
For more information about the project please see The Fifth Continent Scheme Summary May 2015.
You can also visit the Kent Wildlife Trust Fifth Continent web page, where you can download a factsheet and presentation about the Scheme. You can keep up to date with the progress of the project at Facebook Page.