A WILDLIFE trust is set to demolish its visitor centre near Basildon to make way for a brand new facility.

Essex Wildlife Trust’s Langdon Visitor Centre has received a funding boost from Veolia Pitsea Marshes Maintenance Trust to create a new base.


Talk - one of the events at the wildlife centre

The visitor centre, in Lower Dunton Road, will close in June, with a planned opening date of the new centre being summer 2020.

The new centre will provide improved community and education facilities in response to an increasing number of visitors, which now reach 55,000 people per year.

There will also be a café, indoor and outdoor seating areas and an extended car park.

The building has been designed with sustainability in mind and is using passive and active methods that will ensure the centre will be as environmentally friendly as possible.

The project will be funded as part of a postcode-limited Landfill Community Fund grant, which is specifically for public access and infrastructure projects.

The existing visitor centre at Langdon opened in 1996, and has acted as a gateway to the natural landscape, linking people with the nature and natural heritage.

The Langdon Living Landscape includes a large selection of habitats, with more than 500 acres of flower meadows, ponds and ancient woodland.

The Langdon Ridge was recently awarded Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) status by Natural England on account of its nationally significant array of grasslands, woodlands, rare plants and invertebrate species including the Deptford Pink and the Grizzled Skipper.

Andrew Impey, CEO at Essex Wildlife Trust, said: “We have been presented with a unique opportunity to build a new centre that acts as a fantastic starting point for people to explore Langdon’s beautiful nature reserve and experience the unique social and natural heritage the site has to offer.

“This new building will not only cater for the increasing number of visitors to the site but will help connect people with the wildlife and nature found on the reserve, so the community can be knowledgeable and proud of the varied nature located on their doorstep.”

Doug Benjafield, chair of trustees at Veolia Pitsea Marshes Maintenance Trust, said: “Trustees are delighted to support such a great project as we have a long association with Essex Wildlife Trust and it will clearly improve the facilities at a popular visitor centre and nature reserve.”