Once a bus park, now a wildlife haven

Bus Company Island is a Local Nature Reserve hidden away in the middle of Canterbury. Once part of the grounds of Dean’s Mill, a watermill with a history stretching back centuries, the area was used for a time as a municipal bus-park, hence the name. The City Council created a nature reserve on the island in 1995 and it is now home to birds, reptiles and insects.

Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership volunteers started work on renovating the nature reserve last autumn. First, the 20 year-old boardwalk was replaced and bramble was hacked back from the meadow and orchard. The renovation has now been completed with the orchard getting a prune and gaps replanted with fruit trees.

Martin Thomas, volunteer leader for the Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership, explained the site’s importance: ‘Well-managed nature reserves in urban areas provide much-needed habitat for wildlife and space for people to experience nature close to their homes. Canterbury City Council employs the Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership to manage the site and St Stephen’s Residents’ Association help too.’

Bob Cockle is a local resident and a volunteer community warden at the nature reserve. He visits the nature reserve almost every day, and said, ‘I’m very pleased with the work the volunteers have carried out and it’s good to see so many cheerful helpers.’


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