The first UK green wall to be designated a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation?!

Madeira Drive’s 130 year old green wall was tonight voted a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) at a meeting hosted by Brighton Council.

As far as we know, this is the first planted green wall to be given this designation in the UK – recognising its importance for wildlife as well as people, and offering protection in the city’s planning policy.

Green wall on cliff face in Brighton

Madeira Drive green wall

We’ve had good conversations with the Council about how best to manage the wall, to safeguard the cliff whilst protecting this amazing feature of the seafront…for another 130 years!

Here’s the draft citation: 105 – 323 036 Madeira Drive Green Wall

Volks goes solar, shingle habitat park to be created

The Council approved an application to rebuild the Volks railway sheds at Banjo groyne, Kemptown – and install a park with ‘solar trees’ to harness green electricity for the train. Very cool, and a nice addition to what – green wall apart – is a long stretch of seafront with little natural habitat.

There will be some existing vegetated shingle lost – unfortunate, given this is a national priority habitat of European importance – but overall there will be net gain of 192m2. See the ecology statement. This will be in a new ‘solar park‘ to the left of the groyne, where the council keep the swimming buoys in winter…with interpretation etc.


Amazing to think that when the Volks was running in the late 19th Century, the sea came in right up to the road boundary – that section of track to the left of the sandy triangle was elevated above the water.

Elevated section – shingle solar park to be created to the left of this section of track

All that shingle collected in a little over 100 years by groynes and longshore drift…



Visualisation by vistudio


69 plants recorded, Marine Parade green wall, Brighton


Plant list by Ben Kimpton MSc BSc Dip(Hort) MCIEEM of Ecology Consultancy (many thanks), with negligible help from me! If you have any other records, esp inverts, get in touch! Most interesting finds were hoary stock and a poss nationally rare sea fern grass Catapodium marinum.

Acer pseudoplatanus Sycamore R y
Achillea millefolium Yarrow R
Anisantha sterilis Barren brome R b
Anthriscus sylvestris Cow parsley O b
Arctium minus Lesser burdock R b
Asplenium adiantum-nigrum Black spleenwort LF w
Avena sativa Common oat R b
Bellis perennis Daisy R b
Berberis sp. Barberry R b
Capsella bursa-pastoris Shepherd’s purse O
Carex pendula Pendulous sedge R b
Catapodium marinum Sea fern grass R NR, ?
Catapodium rigidum Hard fern grass O
Centranthus ruber Red valerian F
Cerastium fontanum Common mouse-ear O b
Chenopodium album Fat-hen R b
Cirsium arvense Creeping thistle R b
Cirsium vulgare Spear thistle O
Convolvulus arvensis Field bindweed R b
Conyza canadensis Canadian fleabane R ?
Coronopus squamatus Greater swinecress R b
Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora Monbretia R b
Cymbalaria muralis Ivy-leaved toadflax F
Cyrtomium falcatum House Holly Fern R w, ?
Dactylis glomerata Cock’s-foot R o
Digitalis purpurea Foxglove R
Epilobium ciliatum American willowherb R b
Epilobium hirsutum Great willowherb R b
Erigeron glaucus Seaside daisy LF
Erysimum cheiri Wallflower LA
Euonymus japonicus Japanese spindle D
Ficus carica Fig R b
Galium aparine Cleavers O
Geum urbanum Wood avens R b
Hedera helix Englsh ivy LA
Hemerocallis fulva Orange day-lily R b
Hordeum murinum Wall barley O b
Hyacinthoides hispanica Spanish bluebell R b
Lolium perenne Perennial ryegrass R
Malva sylvestris Common mallow R b
Malva x clementii Garden tree mallow R ?
Matthiola incana Hoary stock O NR
Narcissus pseudonarcissus Daffodil R b
Parietaria judiaca Pellitory-of-the-wall A
Pentagottis sempervirens Blue alkanet R bPhyllitis scolopendrium Hart’s-tongue fern LF w
Picris echioides Bristly ox-tongue O b
Plantago coronopus Stag’s-horn plantain O b
Plantago major Greater plantain R b
Poa annua Annual meadow grass F
Polypodium vulgare Common polypody LF w
Rumex obtusifolius Broad-leaved dock O b
Sagina procumbens Procumbent pearlwort R
Sambucus nigra Elder R b, s
Sedum acre Biting stonecrop LA
Sedum album English stonecrop O
Senecio cineraria Silver ragwort F
Senecio vulgaris Groundsel F
Sisybrium orientale Oriental rocket O b, ?
Smyrmium olusatrum Alexanders O b
Sonchus asper Prickly sow-thistle R b
Sonchus oleraceus Smooth sow-thistle R s
Spergularia rubra Sand spurrey O
Stellaria media Common chickweed O b
Taraxacum officinale agg. Dandelion R b
Triticum aestivum Bread wheat R b ?
Ulex sp. Gorse R
Urtica dioica Common nettle R b
Veronica x franciscana Hedge veronica LF

b = base of wall or planters on Max Miller’s Walk
s = seedling
y = young tree/sapling
w = growing in more wet/shady areas
? = species level to be checked
NR = Nationally rare

Dominant, Abundant, Frequent, Occasional, Rare, Locally