Wednesday, 12 February 2014
Cliff top returns to nature
Thanet District Council is returning a former pitch and putt course at Foreness Point back to nature as part of its priority to protect the district’s open spaces.
The cliff top grassland area (by the Ridings, Cliftonville) was a seasonal facility without toilets or wider amenities and was last used for pitch and putt in 2009.
The land was highlighted in an external audit of Thanet’s open spaces (PPG17) in 2009 as being suitable for alternative uses, given the range of pitch and putt facilities available across the district. Since that time the council received no interest for an alternative commercial use.
The council will now allocate the area for natural chalk grassland, a rare type of grassland, to promote the growth of wild flowers and to encourage wildlife and is already becoming renowned for attracting rare butterflies and insects.
Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr Clive Hart, said: “Enhancing our public open spaces for the benefit of the local community is vital. We are fortunate to have an array of open space in Thanet, from areas of cliff top grassland through to formal parks. We need to do what we can to encourage these natural spaces.
“Returning the management of this land in a way that encourages and supports nature is wonderful for the many local families and visitors who enjoy this well-trodden natural clifftop walk and reflects our commitment to protecting and preserving our beautiful open spaces.”
Up to 40 species of flowering plants can be found in one square metre of lowland calcareous chalk grassland. It has even been called the European equivalent of the tropical rainforest. (Source the Wildlife Trusthttp://www.wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife/habitats/lowland-calcareous-grassland