The Swanscombe Peninsula in North Kent is home to a remarkable mosaic of grasslands, coastal habitats, scrub and intricate wetlands.
The exceptional range of breeding birds at Swanscombe is comparable to some of the best sites in England- a testament to the rich array of habitats. The variety of scrub is home to nightingales, cuckoos, and the elusive grasshopper warbler. Ducks like shoveler and pochard breed in the ditches, whilst marsh harriers rely on the reedbeds, and grey herons breed in the secluded copse. In a few places, derelict buildings from previous developments even provide important spaces for rare birds such as black redstarts.
The diverse habitats at Swanscombe also support an extraordinary variety of invertebrates including; the endangered Duffey’s bell-head spider, brown-banded carder bee, saltmarsh shortspur beetle, and the orange-striped water beetle. The site is also one of only two sites in the country that is home to the critically endangered distinguished jumping spider. Over 2,000 species of invertebrates have been recorded at Swanscombe, double the number at our Canvey Wick reserve, which was designated as a SSSI in 2005 for that very reason.
Swanscombe Peninsula is also home to rare plants such as the Man orchid as well as bats, reptiles and water voles.
The recent notification of the Swanscombe Peninsula as a SSSI is a recognition of its status as a nationally important wildlife site.
As well as its importance to today's wildlife, Swanscombe plays a significant role for local people as a precious greenspace. On the fringes of an increasingly congested city, green spaces are vital for people’s recreation and well-being, something that became increasingly evident during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A coalition of environmental Non-Government Organisations alongside 77 senior figures from conservation groups and public bodies supported the rationale for the site’s SSSI designation.
We want to ensure this important site is safeguarded for people and wildlife.