Berengrave Local Nature Reserve (LNR) was once a chalk pit which provided chalk for use in cement production. Now it provides a unique habitat for a variety of wildlife, including reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals.

The Berengrave LNR improvement project aims to improve access and ecological value on the site.

The project is funded by developer contributions from the Berengrave Nursery development. 

After a public drop-in event in January 2020, we appointed access consultants and ecologists to do site wide surveys to see how best we can achieve the project aims.

Planned works for 2024

Tree works are planned to start at the reserve from 29 January 2024 and will last for approximately 6 days (weather dependent).

The works will be to remove some trees, coppice willow stools and over hanging vegetation around the pond area. Coppicing helps to keep certain trees healthy, and the harvested wood has many different uses.

We commissioned an ecology report in 2021, which showed that the biodiversity has decreased. The works will help to slow down the decline in this area.

Removing and coppicing trees around the pond will increase visibility and safety for visitors of the site. It will also encourage the plant life in the pond to recover, as the works will allow more light to the pond.

We applied for a felling licence from the Forestry Commission to carry out these works. We were granted this felling licence in December 2023 (application reference: 019/3382/2023).

The works will be carried out by a specialist contractor and are being undertaken outside of the bird nesting season.

Project progress

Work so far from 2020 to 2022 includes:

  • new hazard signs at the 3 main entrances
  • new and refurbished noticeboards at the 3 main entrances with new interpretation signs
  • the 2 steps along the footpath adjacent to Berengrave Lane have been replaced and new handrails installed
  • a successful public drop-in event at Berengrave LNR held on 15 May 2022, where the access proposals for the site’s improvement were shown
  • 54 people completing a survey about the reserve and future improvements. Read the Berengrave Local Nature Reserve survey feedback
  • works to benefit the ecological value of the site determined by the management plan (in revision)
  • extensive ecology surveys
  • improved safety barriers have been installed to the viewing points.

The access consultants reviewed the options of replacing the circular boardwalk and improving access around the site. Unfortunately, replacing the old boardwalk is not feasible due to significant costs. 

Instead, access improvements have been undertaken to provide seasonal access around the site, rather than a circular route. This is from Lower Rainham Road to the washmill and pond. 

At times of flooding, it will not be possible to get beyond the pond at the lower section. 

The access improvements were completed in December 2022.

Planned work

Further improvements planned include:

  • new access to Berengrave to be finished by Bellways (this will connect the LNR to Kingfisher Green Estate)
  • additional seating
  • information panels to tell the history and ecology of the site.

There will also be improvements to the biodiversity of the site including:

  • layered and dead hedges
  • allowing natural light into the areas for the local fauna and flora to flourish.

If you have any queries on this project or would like more information, please email

Photograph of the pond at the Berengrave Local Nature Reserve.

Berengrave LNR pond

Photograph of Berengrave Local Nature Reserve

New steps leading to Berengrave Lane entrances

Photograph of Berengrave Local Nature Reserve

Berengrave LNR historic washmills