Project > Improving access to the countryside > Shingle Management

Shingle Management Plan

A key output in the project is the implementation of the Shingle Management Plan in East Sussex.

Tim Smith is the Shingle Officer working at East Sussex County Council and through the project he has been raising awareness of the importance of shingle habitats within local communities to encourage the protection and enhancement of shingle habitats across the county, thereby helping to make shingle beaches accessible and enjoyable places to visit.

Part of this role has included the development and installation of an interpretation board at Sovereign Harbour, to help inform locals and visitors, making their trip to the beach not only an enjoyable but also an informative experience.
Interpretation Board Photograph taken by Ian Weeks

Another aspect of the role has been the development and production of a documentary which charts a year in the life of the shingle beaches of East Sussex. The documentary ‘A year on the beach’ has been sent to schools across the county to help raise awareness of the habitat’s importance, and to promote understanding of the natural environment.

Tim presented his work to the project partners at the Biodiversity technical seminar in June 2010, as part of a wider comparative study of Biodiversity protection across Europe.

To view the documentary, please click on the links below:

Shingle beach formation

Gravel pits


Vegetated shingle habitats are extremely rare, only being located in northern Europe, Japan and New Zealand. This rarity makes the habitat a very important natural resource, on both a national and international scale. Because of its importance, the UK government has made a commitment to protect and where possible enhance areas of shingle around the country.

Vegetated shingle is home to a collection of fascinating species, highly adapted to the harsh conditions often experienced on shingle beaches. Due to the harsh and dynamic environment of shingle beaches the plants that grow there are very resilient, however the loss of numerous areas of shingle around the UK has threatened the existence of many shingle specialists.

Sea-kale, Yellow Horned-poppy, Sea Pea and Red Hemp-nettle are some of the shingle specialists which could be lost if shingle sites diminish further. Red Hemp-nettle, which has been classified as critically endangered, and Sea Pea, which is nationally scarce in the UK, are both found at only a handful of locations across the East Sussex coastline.

To view more information about the Shingle Management Plan, please visit the East Sussex County Council website