Dave Young

Only a few metres from Ore station is an urban green space, an area of lakes and woods on the site of a former power station, once used to power the town’s tramways.

Participants on a recent Heart of Hastings (HoH) nature walk spent a June morning here learning of the richly diverse ecology and history of this hidden area, along with future plans for the site.

Walk Guide, community land trust environment and outreach co-ordinator Anton Hack, and a team of experts, revealed a wealth of edible and medicinal plants, rare trees, flora and fungi. This included: Sessile oak and Norway Maple, ‘Lovebinder’ Woody Nightshade, edible Turkey Tail and Chicken of the Woods sensile mushrooms and ‘bramble salading’.

The HoH community land trust plans a locally focussed, sustainable regeneration of the Ore Valley, to develop affordable housing using innovative building techniques. This will transform the long derelict, industrial site, into a thriving, eco-village. Using an innovative ‘bottom up development’ approach, they aim to deliver 76 homes and 100 jobs.

Working with Zedfactory, who would build the timber framed housing and have a factory on site, and Sussex Coast College they hope to create apprenticeships and jobs.

They also want to create two greenways through adjacent woodlands, in order to better connect the local community, currently subject to detours around it.

However, as some walkers pointed out, the latter plan is on hold as East Sussex County Council recently used most of the potential funding budget to fund overrun costs on the Sea Change ring road development.

Also, as reported in HIP in January 2017, part of this valuable, publicly owned asset, has already been sold by Sea Change – the overall owner – to a private developer, breaching their own constitution by selling it without consulting with representatives of three local councils. 

Similar nature walks, aimed at accompanied under 16s, but open to everyone will be held on: 7th July, 28th August, 11th and 25th September, 8th and 22nd October. Walks start at midday, lasting between one and two hours. Free refreshments provided and wear sturdy footwear and protection against brambles!

For more information visit facebook.com/HofHOreValley and heartofhastings.org.uk/ore-valley

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