Celebrating our Heritage
On Saturday 15th September, Monkton Nature Reserve joined in the national celebrations of Britain’s heritage, by throwing open its gates and allowing free entry to the general public; and they came in droves!
This annual event ran over two weekends, from 8th to 16th September. Venues and attractions across the nation, that can claim to have some heritage value, are encouraged to participate in a multitude of ways, with special features, activities, and open days. The duration of participation is up to the venue, but most join in for one or two days.
We are very proud of the heritage that is Monkton Nature Reserve. As you may know, it was a chalk quarry for over 150 years, providing local building material and closing in 1957. This industrial site was then re-designated as a landfill site, until it was rescued by a group of volunteers that took it over and created the Thanet Countryside Trust. Over the years since 1982, it has benefited from the care and attention of many volunteers, to develop it into the environmental oasis that it is today. An excellent example of how to recover an industrial site (known as “brownfield remediation”).
For our event, we didn’t just allow free entry, but provided a range of activities and attractions, including pond-dipping, craft stalls, birds-of-prey on display, a look at the Thanet Observatory … in fact pretty much a replication of our own Annual Open Day held in May. This helped to raise some funds towards the maintenance and upkeep of the Reserve and its facilities, a never-ending priority for us.
We are therefore most grateful for the £1,000 match funding contribution from Barclays’ Community Scheme, having been supported on the day by their Margate Branch – every little helps! This money will be put towards specific expenses, such as the bird-feeding overhead of £30 a month, and educational supplies.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of the day was that everyone involved – staff, volunteers and visitors – had a wonderful time, enhanced by some mild autumn weather. Such success has prompted us to mark up our Heritage Open Day as a new annual event!
Andrew Ogden, 10/11/2018