Novel studies to inform moat management at Tilbury Fort
© English Heritage
English Heritage has appointed specialist marine consultancy ABPmer to help determine how best to manage water-levels in the distinctive twin moats around Tilbury Fort, to include how they might be used to enhance biodiversity.
Tilbury Fort protected London’s seaward approaches from the time it was built, between 1670 and 1685, until the Second World War. After travelling from an earlier fort on the present site to a hill in nearby West Tilbury, Elizabeth I delivered a famous speech to her army, waiting to fight during the Spanish Armada crisis in 1588.
English Heritage wishes to develop a new moat management plan for the two concentric moats that surround the star-shaped fort. These moats take in saline water from the tidal Thames and freshwater from the hinterland catchment.
ABPmer will undertake a series of surveys and modelling studies to understand how the moat system functions and how the water and salinity levels can be managed using the site’s complex, inter-connecting sluices.
The plan aims to preserve the historic appearance of the moats whilst exploring how the site’s biodiversity and ecological value might be enhanced. Such enhancement might include creating marginal wetlands areas for breeding and overwintering waterbirds.
Dave Hedges, Head of Estate Management at English Heritage, said “Tilbury Fort has played a large part in the history of the river Thames, and placed on the north shores of the estuary means it’s part of a nationally important landscape for wintering wetland birds. This ground-breaking partnership will identify innovative solutions to restore the Fort’s moats and create new important habitats for wintering birds and rare insects.”
Colin Scott, Habitat Creation and Restoration Business Manager at ABPmer, said “We are delighted to support English Heritage on this unique and visionary project. Climate change means it is becoming increasingly important to protect our heritage, enhance biodiversity and manage our interactions with the shoreline.
“As specialists in marine surveying, coastal and canal system modelling as well as wetland habitat design, we are well placed to carry out this fascinating project and fully understand what can be achieved at Tilbury.”
The project is expected to complete during summer 2021 and will provide English Heritage with an improved understanding of how the moats operate and related management options.
English Heritage cares for over 400 historic buildings, monuments and sites – from world-famous prehistoric sites to grand medieval castles, from Roman forts on the edges of the empire to a Cold War bunker. Through these, we bring the story of England to life for over 10 million people each year. Registered charity no. 1140351 www.english-heritage.org.uk
ABPmer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Associated British Ports Holdings Limited. We have been helping clients develop, manage, operate and protect the marine environment for more than 70 years. We are known for our knowledge of the marine environment, technical ability and emphasis on service excellence.
At ABPmer we employ highly skilled specialists from a variety of marine disciplines so that we can provide a wide range of services. We carefully match the skills and experience of our staff to a client’s requirements so that every project team is unique.
We pride ourselves on understanding client needs and work closely with them to achieve their goals.
All our work is undertaken in accordance with our Quality Management System certified to ISO 9001 for the delivery of Environmental Consultancy and Research Services.
From our base in Southampton, England we support projects around the globe.