Beaver who needs protecting at Betteshanger Country ParkBeaver who needs protecting at Betteshanger Country Park

Help Protect our wildlife

Our mission:

To be a voice for the wildlife at Betteshanger Country Park, in the face of proposed developments that threaten its plants, animals and habitats. 

We invite others to join us so that our voices become a deafening chorus that cannot be ignored.

RSPB Quote

“Although the creation of new foraging areas, along with ponds, scrub enhancement and supplementary feeding will still go ahead for this species in the park as part of the agreed mitigation from the development at Betteshanger Grove, we believe the value of this mitigation, along with the Turtle Dove populations that the park currently supports, is at risk,” says Nicole Khan, RSPB Conservation Officer.
This is because the new hotel and surfing lagoon developments will be built adjacent to some of these mitigation areas. And with the Ecological Appraisal for the developments suggesting levels of disturbance could increase in the park, we believe this undermines the original mitigation planned, putting an already threatened species at further risk.”

Protect Our Wildlife

At a time of ecological crisis when we are watching all the wild places disappearing corner by corner field by field our mission is to be a loud voice for our natural world.

We hope the Dover planning authority and the planning committee will listen. The wildlife is depending on it.


Skylark nesting areas would disappear under the proposals for the surf lagoon. Skylark numbers have declined by 75% since the 1970’s and they are now on the Red list of conservation concern. Modern farming methods have made it difficult for them to rear young in their preferred habitat- arable fields, so it is very important to safeguard sites like Betteshanger, where they choose to nest in relative safety. All this will change if permission is granted for the surf lagoon.

Lizard Orchid

Have you seen the Lizard Orchids that grow at Betteshanger Country Park? Amazing plants up to 1m in height with a flower that looks like a Lizard with a long curling tail. Up to 600 of them would be dug up and ‘translocated’ under the plans for the Surf Lagoon. There is no evidence that this has ever been done successfully and plant translocations in the UK have a poor record. So we risk losing part of the second most important colony, in the country, of this rare and ‘protected’ plant. Nature is in deep deep trouble – how can this be justified?

Turtle Dove Wading

Turtle Dove

Turtle Doves are one of Betteshanger Country Park’s most notable species. They are the UK’s fastest declining bird, numbers having dropped by 98% since the 1970’s. They are vulnerable to extinction.
Sad to say Dover District Council gave permission for a sister site(the pit head area of the old colliery) to be developed for housing, which will result in the loss of known Turtle Dove territory. To compensate for this the developer had to create special mitigation areas at the Park to maintain and increase the Park’s population of Turtle Doves. These were in relatively undisturbed areas of the Park. However, this was apparently forgotten about when locations were selected for the Hotel and Surf lagoon, as both are directly adjacent to the mitigation areas. There is consensus among the NGO’s that this jeopardises the whole mitigation scheme and there is concern that Turtle Doves could abandon the Park altogether, if the development proposals go ahead.

Common Lizards at Betteshanger

Common Lizard

In 20161,300 Common Lizards were moved from the Discovery Park in Sandwich to Betteshanger Country Park for their long term protection. Now they are in the way of the proposed Surf Lagoon and will be translocated again. The idea is to fence them out of the construction site and then release them back into the spaces around the Lagoon when building is complete. This is  despite the developer’s ecologists saying that all suitable Reptile habitat will be removed from the Surf Lagoon site as a result of the development !!
What chance for the site’s  Common Lizards?

Fiery Clearwing Moth

The Fiery Clearwing Moth , an endangered species and found only in Kent, is present on both the proposed development sites. Betteshanger Country Park has the fifth largest colony in the UK. There are plans to translocate the Dock plants that the Moth lays its eggs on. This is fraught with risk as the moth larvae can spend up to two years feeding in the roots of the Dock plants and there is no evidence that that the kind of translocation proposed has been carried out successfully

Thank you for helping to save our wildlife!

The Friends of Betteshanger is a group of local people that got together in 2020 to try and protect their local wildlife from the threat of development.

We have a special site in our area. It is one of those brownfield sites that has become a refuge for wildlife of all kinds. It used to be the spoil tip for the old Betteshanger colliery that closed down in 1989. Now it is our local Country Park and the owners, who are property developers, want to use it to build a Hotel and Surf Lagoon. They argue it will be good for the local economy and tourism. What they don’t say is that it will be disastrous for the Park’s wildlife. If the development goes ahead a wonderful piece of wildlife habitat will be wrecked and the peaceful green open space so appreciated by local people will be ruined.

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Beaver who needs protecting at Betteshanger Country Park