Dungeness, Romney Marsh and Rye Bay SSSI - The Wicks (009)
Staff member responsible: Jo Dear
Unit Id: 1029288
Unit area (ha): 47.6384
Unit Status: Live Gridref: TR 018 189
Main habitat: NEUTRAL GRASSLAND - Lowland
Date of last site check: Checked by:
Condition and Comments (click for history): Favourable Assessed by: PETER GREENSLADE
Last assessed: 19/08/2009 Last assessment field visit: 19/08/2009
ISA Survey: View Surveys
Last CSM assessment: 19/08/2009
Estimated year unit will go Favourable: Confidence in estimate:
Comment: The unit is mostly in the hollow between two major shingle ridges but includes small areas of dry shingle ridge vegetation. The main feature of special interest is the fossil geomorphology (both buried and surface geomorphology), invertebrates, shingle vegetation and saltmarsh. The geomorphology is mostly intact but there is evidence of damage in places. The fossil geomorphology appears to be largely intact although there has been disturbance in the past to create a central drainage ditch and part has been modified to construct a firing range. But there is no evidence of recent damage in the lower lying parts and there is clear differentiation between the shingle ridges and the intervening hollow. The vegetation of the lower parts consists of neutral grasslands, some of which are ungrazed. A management agreement has recently introduced cattle grazing to the northern part of this unit in order to enhance the legume cover of these pastures. This will help improve the habitat for the invertebrates and provide nectar and pollen sources. There are extensive stands of fringing reed alongside the drainage channel likely to be of value to some species of birds. The seaward end of the area includes a complex of hollows with a saline influence supporting sea club-rush, low stands of reed, patches of saltmarsh rush and occasional sea aster and sea beet. The vegetation has been burnt in parts. Monitoring of a sample of the burnt areas is on-going in order to assess the extent of the recovery. (Early reports indicate a mixed picture depending on the type of vegetation originally present on site). This monitoring needs to be continued. The drier vegetation surrounding the hollows is moderately species-rich in places and includes birdsfoot trefoil, lesser trefoil, haresfoot clover, catsear and sea mayweed, providing a broad range of nectar sources for invertebrates.
Number of adverse condition reasons: 1
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