Rewilding Margate group lays claim to ‘nature strip’ previously razed by mystery mower

Rewilding Margate say they have taken over the strip of land

The Rewilding Margate group has ‘laid claim’ to a strip of land at the side of  Turner Contemporary.

The area, on Fort Hill had been a haven of wildflowers and pollinators until it was mowed to a ‘barren’ patch last month.

The question of who was responsible for the mowing remains unanswered. Thanet council say the site is the responsibility of Kent County Council (KCC) and KCC say it is Turner Contemporary’s responsibility while Turner Contemporary says it ‘definitely’ doesn’t manage the area, saying it is ‘KCC land.’

Rewilding Margate say that as the patch does not appear to belong to Thanet and Kent councils or Turner Contemporary, they will take ‘adverse possession’ of it.

BARREN: From wildflowers to browned patch

Aubrey McKenzie, spokesperson for Rewilding Margate, said: ‘All three parties who would be obvious candidates for owning and maintaining that land state they are not responsible for it, bringing into question – who does own the land and who cut down the wildflower meadow there?

“Given that no one will come forward it is reasonable to assume that the land is not owned by anyone, and so we have begun formal research to progress with adverse possession of the land for the good of the people of Margate and to do our little bit to ensure the future of the planet and the human race.

“It is imperative that we start taking care of the land right away and to protect it as it is so obviously under threat from mystery mowers at any moment. We intend to let the wild flowers flourish with the minimum of intervention to ensure that the area remains a site of beauty for the people of Margate and a haven for birds and pollinators.

“The group lay claim to the ground as their property unless anyone shows superior legal entitlement. Anyone who damages the flora growing on this land will be charged in court with criminal damage.”

Before the site was mowed

The recent destruction of the wildflower area  was also a blow for The Margate Nature Trail group which was using it as a starting point for its route. A walled garden of wildflowers still remains beside the ‘barren’ patch and this is now being used by the trail group instead.

A sign has been placed beside the land explaining the ‘takeover’.

Writer and illustrator Dosh Archer, from the Margate Nature Trail, has created another character to represent the wildlife meadow – Herbie the Bee! He accompanies the sign, buzzing in happiness now that his flowers are protected. He will be used to educate children about the importance of bees and their habitat on the Margate Nature Trail.

Fi O’Connor from Rewilding Margate, said: “Bees are endangered for a number of reasons, one of those being loss of habitat, and it is exciting that we will be going forward in a proactive way to ensure proper management of our environment and the habitat of the pollinators.”


  1. Well done, I am sure the culprits will fess up when they realise land will be taken. It looked beautiful with all the flowers, after the mowing it just looked barren, not really the image we want tourists to see.

  2. Here we go again.
    KCC and TDC denied they own the passageway from the Cottage Car Park leading through to the High Street. They also denied that they own the passageway from Margate High Street through to the Sea front. Now they deny owning this strip of land. However, if you carry out repairs or improvements they will take you to court at the property tax payers expense in an attempt to gain what is not theirs in order to what they perceive to be fair in order to regularise matters.

    If you improve it will TDC take you to court again to take possessions of your materials, in this case seeds.

  3. What a great idea! There must be lots of bits of land that don’t seem to belong to anybody. Not just small strips of verge, either.
    As others have suggested, if Rewilding Thanet announce that they are taking over bits of neglected land whenever they start to look scruffy and litter-strewn, the actual owners may soon make themselves known!! And , hopefully, tidy up the land to prove they care, rather than buying it in the hope of Planning Permission for houses, then let it deteriorate for years.
    A good idea for TDC to follow, surely.
    Regardless of the Party or co-alition in power, I don’t think many of the councillors would relish getting earache from the residents about the state of bits of neglected land around the Isle. So, if TDC had a stated practice of taking over all such pockets of land, and turning them into rewilded public spaces, we might find that the actual owners(if they can be found) will take better care of their property.
    It would not have to be too expensive to do this. TDC would just issue a statement that they intended to take over the land, arrange one mowing/strimming in early Autumn, scatter wildflower seed as necessary, and await results!!
    Who knows, TDC might end up with quite a property portfolio when we find some bits of land genuinely don’t have any identifiable owners.
    Just think how much better we would feel if all the odd, scruffy, neglected bits of land were covered in Poppies and Ox-eye Daisies.
    Our local artists would have a great time producing impressions of the flower meadows.
    I’m getting quite excited about how the old place could look with a bit of imagination and a bit of forceful action from TDC, combined with the drive of Rewilding Thanet. I’m going to have to lie down in a darkened room to calm down!

  4. Andrews passage is a public right of way KCC wanted the former owner of Henry’s and Primark on the other side to cover the cost of repairs as usual overpriced costs the original sea wall and railings are still there the notice at the high street end through says it’s a public right of way. KCC should maintain now.

    • Andrew’s Passage cannot be repaired yet because the owner of the building underneath it has died and legal action cannot be started to get them to make repairs. Apparently the building underneath has structural repairs needed before the pathway above can be fixed by KCC. I was told this when asking Kent PROW about this public footpath TMX29 this week.
      7 years closed is a long time, surely there is a way this can be sorted out satisfactorily.

    • The Counties finest police service is across the road, do you think they would have seen anyone or catch the contractors business details on the side of the van ? Might be worth an ask !

  5. A wonderful area for rewilding is oposite QEQM St Peters Rd, no cars are allowed to park on it so why not rewild it. I have done a small area of my garden and its a treat to see wild flowers growing– mind you it looks a mess but a good mess to my eyes

  6. It’s most definitely Turner Contemptable they probably don’t even know they have a contract with landscapers….they are very disorganised. Money on them being responsible…..

  7. Somebody paid whoever did this mowing (unless it was the Thanet Fairy doing it for free.)
    Don’t be shy whoever you are. Step forward and take a bow.

  8. Why is this news?? Cut the grass and make it tidy. Also you will take legal action if someone cuts the grass haha good luck with that one!!

  9. Whilst i’ve nothing against decent “rewilding” , as has been pointed out who’s going to root out the wind blown litter that is going to accumulate and what will be done about accumulated dead matter , has there been a fire risk assessment of the likely problem of areas of tinder long vegetation in the summer months and people discarding ciagarette butts or idiots purposely setting fires. Will our community group gardeners have insurance in place to cover any claims and cover costs of fire service etc. Many of the californian wildfires and others around the world have become unmanageable as a result of land management practices having changed that allowed large build up of fuel material. Sometimes well intentioned actions have unfortunate results.

    • I don’t think a small strip of Canterbury Bells, daisies, poppies and so on is going to present quite the same threat as 100s of square miles of forest.
      You can relax.

    • Give over mate. It’s a small patch of unused land left for the insects. I’m genuinely chuckling at the fact you just compared this to the California wild fires!!

      • I was comparing the changes of land use and attitudes towards them and that both could represent a fire risk. Quite obviously the effects of burning off of a hyundred or so square metres of dry grass and rubbish is in no way comparable to the wildfires of california, greece etc.

  10. What a load of twaddle leaving long grass to promote bees and other insects by a very large beach used by thousands ,the bees will sting you and the insects irritate you ,much the same as some of these comments , also our four egged friends receiving the reserves in deep flower’s, very difficult to find to clear up what a lovely thought , nicely mown grass verges are more acceptable than wild unkempt flowers ,we used to have a very good horticultural administration in thanet headquarters at St Lawrence ,now called Nursery Close , built on I ask you another council cock up . Let’s have nice gardens like Madeira Walk in Ramsgate somewhere nice to sit and relax . In essence wild flowers are fine in country meadows but not alongside a pavement .

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