September at Seething Wells
|Me and Monbiot photo S. Sivanesan|
So whilst 10,000 of us were at the People's Walk for Wildife, singing in the rain with Billy Bragg, chatting to George Monbiot and hearing more about the charter for wildlife proposed by Chris Packham......
This was happening at Seething Wells.....
When Thames Water was the owner of the site, operatives regularly scraped off the vegetation to remove tree growth, which is not good for the structure. This assisted the growth of the diverse chalk grassland plants -see Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) citation below- many of which have been lost due to the growth of buddleja, ash and holm oak saplings, bracken, etc. However they never cut the Spanish broom to this extent or filled the beds with the arisings and soil.
Where the natural interest of sites has been destroyed -as is sometimes the case- planners are able to take account of the interest prior to the destruction; of course they are, or this would be the regular modus. So the citation below would operate as the baseline.
Meanwhile, the only ones enjoying the aftermath are the predators
Site of Borough Grade I Importance for Nature Conservation
Site Reference: KiBI08
Site Name: Seething Wells Filter Beds
Summary: The remains of the old Surbiton Water Works, next to the Thames, frequented by
wintering wildfowl and other birds seeking refuge from the comparatively exposed
river. Plant species usually associated with the North Downs grow on the chalk
grassland on the concrete basin walls.
Grid ref: TQ 173 675
Area (ha): 5.36
Kingston upon Thames
Chalk grassland, Marsh/swamp, Pond/lake, Ruderal
Access: Can be viewed from adjacent paths or roads only
Ownership: Kennett Homes (development arm of Thames Water)
The remains of the redundant Surbiton Water Works consist of seven rain-fed filter beds in a steep-sided
basin. Adjacent to the River Thames, these filter beds are important to wintering wildfowl and other birds
seeking refuge from the comparatively exposed river. There is a locally significant gull roost here, and other
common water birds breed. Sand martin has also bred here, a London Biodiversity Action Plan priority
species. The largest filter bed has an extensive emergent bed of the uncommon lesser reedmace (Typha
angustifolia), while other wetland plants include common spike-rush (Eleocharis palustris). Wetland
invertebrates include the banded demoiselle damselfly (Calopteryx splendens).
Species-rich grassland has developed over the concrete substrate lining the basin walls, consisting of
plants seen more often on the North Downs. These include upright brome (Bromopsis erectus), wild carrot
(Daucus carota), hoary plantain (Plantago media) and the London rarities small scabious (Scabiosa
columbaria), dropwort (Filipendula vulgaris), salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor), pyramidal orchid
(Anacamptis pyramidalis), fern-grass (Catapodium rigidum) and common broomrape (Orobanche minor).
The site is very important for its resident Daubenton's bats, which are protected and a London Biodiversity
Action Plan priority species.
Site first notified: 01/01/1992 Boundary last changed: 01/01/1992
Citation last edited: 05/05/2006 Mayor Agreed:
Last Updated: 09/03/2007