Biodiversity is the variety and complexity of life at all scales. The Brede Valley supports a great many plant and animal species in varying abundance by providing the habitats in which they live. Some of the species and habitats are locally and nationally rare, and this has contributed to the area’s recognition as being of significant importance to the county, through its designation as a Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI). Indeed, the Sussex Wildlife Trust declared it the most important wildlife site surveyed in Sussex during the SNCI selection process.

The part of the valley floor lying less than 5m above sea level is known as the Brede Level. It was formed through a combination of two processes. First, a gradual silting of the estuary occurred, resulting in less water inundating the area. Secondly, the salt marshes making up the area were drained, using a mesh of ditches, to form freshwater grazing marshes. These ditches are replenished and their water quality is maintained by the many freshwater springs which issue from the slopes of the Icklesham and Udimore sandstone ridges. This enables them to support an exceptional diversity of aquatic plants and animals.

With careful management, and the active help of local landowners, this rich reservoir of wildlife species has been making it possible to enhance biodiversity in parts of the valley where previous land drainage and agricultural intensification had severely reduced it.

The Brede Valley forms a westward extension of the grazing marsh and drainage ditches which are a special feature of the neighbouring Dungeness, Romney Marsh and Rye Bay Site of Special Scientific Interest and Natura 2000 European Site. Many rare wetland species characteristic of this habitat are found throughout this whole area, which, with the adjacent Tillingham Valley is collectively known as Rye Bay.. To find out more about wildlife elsewhere in Rye Bay, take a look at Furthermore, lying as it does between two sandstone and clay ridges of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it forms an important wildlife corridor between the marsh and wealden ecosystems. You will find more information on the High Weald AONB, on the website

The slopes of these two ridges support areas of semi-improved pasture and blocks of ancient woodland. Spring lines have formed tributary side valleys, some of which retain their original wooded ghylls, an important wildlife habitat within the High Weald.

As a result of all this, there is now an ever increasing diversity of wildlife to see, hear and enjoy, for anyone prepared to spend a little time in quiet exploration of the valley.

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