Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos, singing from a hawthorn bush, Minsmere, Suffolk

Save Lodge Hill

The most important home for nightingales in the UK is under threat.


Positive news: The 10,000 voices of RSPB and Kent Wildlife Trust supporters and nightingale lovers have been heard and Homes England are revising their housing plans for Lodge Hill. The proposed reduction in the number of houses is an important step in the right direction, although we remain concerned should housing still be proposed right next to the site. We will continue to work to ensure that Homes England's final plans safeguard Lodge Hill and its wildlife for the nation.

Fighting to save the nightingales’ home

Lodge Hill, the UK's most important home for nightingales and protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), is under threat from development. 

If the nightingales’ home is allocated for housing, it means that other protected places across the country are at risk as well.

With your help, we’ve made good progress over a number of years to save Lodge Hill SSSI from being covered in houses. 

The latest consultation stage closed on 25 June 2018, and over 10,000 people sent messages to ask the council not to allocate it for houses, which was a brilliant effort. We can't stress enough how important it is to have all of those responses to show that people care. 

Thank you for all your support so far - and we hope we can call on you again if we need to when we find out what the council intends to do, towards the end of 2018.


What happens next?

Medway Council will now consider all the consultation responses and decide how to move forward with their Local Plan.

They will then produce the next draft, which goes out for the final stage of public consultation, we believe in late 2018 or early 2019.

The owner of Lodge Hill - the government agency called Homes England - has also said that they will submit a new planning application for houses at Lodge Hill, and that could be towards the end of 2018 as well.

With all your help, a big marker has been put in the ground that Lodge Hill SSSI and its nightingales should be saved. We will be watching very closely for the next moves.

Pedunculate Oak Quercus robur, in woodland at Lodge Hill site of special scientific interest, Medway, Ken

Help save the nightingales of Lodge Hill

The song of the nightingale, surely too precious to lose from its most important home?

The song of the nightingale, surely too precious to lose from its most important home?

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In a nutshell

The nightingale is one of our most severely-threatened birds – its population has declined by more than 90% in the last 50 years. Fewer than 5,500 pairs now remain across the country. 

The range of nightingales has also contracted dramatically, so they are now found only in the south and east of England. 

Lodge Hill in Medway, Kent, is their best remaining site, critical for their survival, and so special that it is protected for the nation as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

But, in a long-running saga, it is under threat of being lost to a housing development. 

To lose it like that would mean the loss of most of the nightingales and other wildlife that lives there and would set a very worrying precedent for all our other protected sites.  

Thousands of you helped us get the original planning application “called-in” by government and, thanks to your efforts, the application was dropped.

Thousands of you then called on Medway Council to revise its plans. In the spring 2018 consultation, it had made some changes, but not gone anywhere near far enough.

Nightingale perched in tree

What you can do

Nightingale in tree

Stay tuned - we are probably going to need your help again to keep the pressure up and save Lodge Hill.

Lodge Hill on the map

Nightingales were once seen across large parts of England (the areas shown in blue), but they have declined by 90% in the last 50 years. Now, these iconic birds are found at just a handful of sites (shown in red), the most important being Lodge Hill.

Field maple trees, Acer campestre, at Lodge Hill SSSI site, Medway, Kent

Working together to save Lodge Hill