The Marshes are situated on Swanscombe Peninsula, on the North Kent coastlne of the River Thames. The Peninsula is just to the east of the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge (also called the Dartford Bridge) which links the M25.
The proposed London Resort is set to build on 535 acres of land – 135 times the size of Wembley Stadium – a huge piece of land, which currently hosts a range of species in its grasslands, marshlands, wetlands and scrub. It has been stated that there are 250 invertebrate species which are either rare or threatened, including the Critically Endangered distinguished jumping spider (attulus distinguendus) – which has led to Natural England beginning discussions about making the site a triple SSSI – but this has not deterred the London Resort planners. Nightingales and skylarks have been seen here, along with marsh harriers and common lizards. The land is criss crossed by public footpaths. Some of site is former brownfield land, but it has been returned to nature over decades, plants, butterflies, other insects, birds and reptiles making their home here. As well as Swanscombe Marsh – where most of the proposed development is – the London Resort plan to “landscape” the other marshes – including Broadness Marsh and Botany Marsh, also on the Peninsula. Botany Marsh is currently a Local Wildlife Site with information boards from Kent Wildlife Trust. How the nature that makes its home on the peninsula can remain in a landscaped public realm remains to be seen.
© Donna Zimmer 2020 – used with kind permission