- What is the Fifth Continent?
- Where does the term ‘Fifth Continent’ come from?
- What is a Landscape Partnership Scheme?
- What is this scheme all about?
- Are there partners that contribute to delivering the Fifth Continent scheme?
- How is the project funded?
- What’s in it for farmers and landowners?
- What are you doing for nature?
- How do I find information about the projects?
- How to I find out what’s going on?
- How do I get involved?
- Can you give me some guidance about volunteering?
- How long will the scheme run for?
- What happens when the project finishes?
1. Q. What is the Fifth Continent?
A. The Fifth Continent refers to the whole of the Romney Marsh including Denge Marsh and Walland Marsh. It covers all the land south of the Royal Military Canal, from Rye in the west to Hythe in the East. The area is characterised by its low-lying flat profile, criss-crossed by a myriad of wet ditches, its isolated churches and its proud rural population of Marsh-ians.
2. Q. Where does the term ‘Fifth Continent’ come from?
A. It comes from Rev Richard Barham, Vicar of Snargate writing as Thomas Ingoldsby in ‘The Ingoldsby Legends’ in 1837 who wrote; ‘The world, according to the best geographers, is divided into Europe, Asia, Africa, America and Romney Marsh’.
3. Q. What is a Landscape Partnership Scheme?
A. A Landscape Partnership scheme aims to deliver projects on a big scale across land managed by many different people by having multiple organisations working together to a common aim. Having partners of different organisations brings a wealth of different expertise and experience as well as the connections to really deliver a lasting difference.
4. Q. What is this scheme all about?
A. Broadly speaking, the Fifth Continent Landscape Partnership Scheme aims “to work with Landowners, agencies and communities to conserve, restore and uncover information about the historic landscape of Romney Marsh for present and future generations”.
What this means is we are looking to deliver a whole range of projects to benefit communities, businesses and wildlife in the local area.
From projects looking to provide skills and training to local people, to ones opening the doors of the churches to wider audiences or ones joining up habitats for bumblebees. We want to show there really is something for everyone on the Fifth Continent.
5. Q. Are there partners that contribute to delivering the Fifth Continent scheme?
A. Yes, there are a number of partners that form the partnership established to deliver the Fifth Continent Landscape Conservation Scheme.
6. Q. How is the project funded?
A. Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) & other funding bodies.
7. Q. What’s in it for farmers and landowners?
A. The main aspects which may apply to farmers and landowners are:
- The Blue Lanes Project which aims to deliver advice, surveys and capital works to ditches for the benefit of wildlife whilst balancing the need for flow, flood management and drainage. There is potential for a significant cost saving as the works could be funded through this scheme as well as providing hydrological surveys and networking between farmers at demonstration sites. For more information click here.
- Green lanes for Bumblebees which builds on the work of the short haired bumblebee project and rolls it out to the east of the Marsh to develop a network of bee friendly options which connect up across the marsh. Through this project farmers and landowners could have their sites surveyed to gain more information about what’s already living there, advice on how to improve habitats for Bumblebees, have measures implemented and promotion as a “bee-friendly farm”. For more information click here.
- Rediscovering the Fifth Continent interpretation programme which will create a host of trails, walks, leaflets and events promoting the uniqueness of the Romney Marsh to visitors and locals. Within this project local produce will be front and centre as we develop the brand. For more information click here.
8. Q. What are you doing for nature?
A. Benefits for nature underlie all that we are doing on the Romney Marsh. Many of the projects have a specific nature focus like the Blue Lanes project which aims to restore parts of the ditch network for wildlife and provide corridors of good habitat throughout the Marsh. Others have wildlife woven into their fabric like the new Coastal Communities Oral History Project which will give a better understanding of how the Marsh has changed over time and people’s memories of how the fates of species have waxed and waned through the telling of personal stories.
We will be documenting more of the habitats and species than ever before, we have already been working with partners such as the Kent and Medway Biological Records Centre to collate all existing wildlife records into one huge database (now with over 800, 000 records!) and training up new volunteers to get out into the field and find out what’s there.
We will use this data to look at where to target our efforts at an individual species level and make the best connectivity of habitats so that wildlife can permeate through the landscape.
9. Q. How do I find information about the projects?
A. Go to the projects list page and then follow the links for projects you are interested in.
10. Q. How to I find out what’s going on?
A. Go to our Things To Do page.
11. Q. How do I get involved?
A. Go to our volunteering page and individual projects pages for more information.
12. Q. Can you give me some guidance about volunteering?
A. If you decide to volunteer with us, we will follow the guidance and procedures put in place for volunteers by the lead partner, the Kent Wildlife Trust. Please go to the Kent Wildlife Trust volunteering page for more information.
13. Q. How long will the scheme run for?
A. The scheme will be finishing in March 2022.
14. Q. What happens when the project finishes?
A. The endurance of this project (it’s Legacy) has been considered right from day one, it’s one of the reasons the grant was successful in the first place. The Landscape Partnership Scheme model has been shown to provide real lasting differences in the areas in which they work. From specific management agreements running far beyond the length of the project to allowing organisations and individuals to learn new skills and think of new ways of working. By working together, we can bring about long-term change.
None of these FAQs answer my question what do I do now?
Please contact the Fifth Continent project team.