New signs at the Volks wildlife site, Madeira Drive

Good to see the great new interpretation boards at the Volks railway opposite Duke’s Mound, celebrating the wildlife of the seafront. Everyone was stopping to have a read on their way past.


The interpretation is by the talented Lucid Design.

Part of the Volks track bed is a local wildlife site, and sports vegetated shingle plants that local developments such as the new Marina development are looking to incorporate into their green roofs and landscaping.

A UK first at West Quay, Brighton Marina

The first ‘vegetated shingle’ green roofs in the UK are currently being built at the West Quay development at Brighton Marina Village.

West Quay is a significant development, with 853 flats. Green roofs are being established at each level by contractors Midgard for developer Brunswick.


As the natural ecosystem in this location is the vegetation that grows in beach shingle (ie vegetated shingle), the aim is to mimic this habitat. Planters at podium level will also incorporate this habitat.


Bird boxes for swifts, sparrows and peregrines are also being put up.

There is natural vegetated shingle at Black Rock, next to the marina, and west along the Volks Railway. This is one of the rarest habitats in the UK, and a large proportion of the world’s vegetated shingle is found in Hampshire, Sussex and Kent.


Much of the shingle habitat in Brighton is in poor condition, and a management plan is being drawn up with funding from developer contributions. A new shingle garden is planned as part of the Volks Railway redevelopment.

Continue West to Shoreham beach, or East to Dungeness, and in the summer you’ll see what a glorious and special habitat this is.

Building Green is planning a visit to see the roof works in progress.

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