Many Brightonians and visitors will have noticed the greenery on the seafront east of the pier. This is mainly Japanese spindle – an ornamental plant established in Edwardian era as part of the (now removed) formal gardens along Marine Drive, but there’s ivy and other plants too.
It’s possibly the largest and oldest growth of this plant in the UK – and without it the seafront would be a very dull and barren place – and wildlife like wrens and migrating butterflies would certainly suffer. I’m sure the green walls have a big benefit for managing run off too – and the ivy will protect the cliff render where it’s in good condition. I don’t think Max Miller would have approved – the aerial walk bears his name.
The cliff face in some areas is in poor condition, and something will probably have to be done to cut the planting back to allow stabilisation works. Here at Building Green we’re working with the Council to see how this can be done whilst saving this vital greenery.
If anyone knows the best way to cut back or coppice this plant, would like to volunteer to do a botanical survey of the cliff, or can get involved in managing the Marine Drive planting, get in touch.
What we really don’t want is a repeat of what happened further East, where a long section of green wall was unceremoniously stripped away in the name of litter and pest control.