Essex Wildlife Trust and c2c unveil new mural at Thorpe Bay station

31 August 2023

[31 August 2023] Conservation charity, Essex Wildlife Trust and rail operator c2c have joined forces to turn the waiting room at Thorpe Bay station into a gateway to nature, inspiring the local community to visit one of the trust’s many sites on the train line.

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The project celebrates the close link between the nature spots and the railway, with c2c the greenest way for visitors to discover the charity’s work and the local habitats.

The new map has taken over the waiting room at Thorpe Bay station to help the charity attract more visitors to its numerous conservation reserves, many of which are found on the c2c network, including Two Tree Island Nature Reserve near Leigh-on-Sea, Gunners Park and Shoebury Ranges Nature Reserve near Shoeburyness and Chafford Gorges Nature Discovery Park near Chafford Hundred.

The installation has been unveiled during Essex Wildlife Trust’s ‘Butterfly Seekers’ campaign, running until 30 September, encouraging members of the public to record their butterfly sightings to help the organisation bring butterflies back from the brink; 80% of the UK’s butterfly species have declined in abundance and/or distribution since the 1970s.

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The data will help the Trust understand which butterfly species are located where in Essex, enabling them to target conservation actions to help them thrive and recover. The live Project Page shows a snapshot of the recent sightings recorded across the county.

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The new Thorpe Bay station map is surrounded by 3D-effect butterflies hand-painted by artist Dave ‘Gnasher’ Nash of Gnasher Murals, featuring some of the many butterfly species found in Essex, and includes a handy QR code to help visitors plan their days out on the website, with the c2c route the perfect partner to get visitors to the Trust’s sites.

Watch the video of the installation here:

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Zoe Ringwood, Head of Conservation Evidence, Essex Wildlife Trust, said, “The report that 80% of our butterflies in the UK are in decline is a concern to everyone that cares about wildlife. Loss of wildflower meadows, intensive farming and climate change are all contributing to make the UK landscape less suitable for butterflies to feed, breed and move around. Butterflies are important pollinators, essential food for birds and their chicks, and are indicators of the health of our countryside. The good news is actions to restore wild areas for butterflies can have positive impacts and aid their recovery. We hope the public will support us and record their sightings. The data from Butterfly Seekers will provide important information for their conservation.”


Stuart Browning, c2c’s Head of Safety and Environment, said, “It is fantastic to see this project come to life at Thorpe Bay station. As well as inspiring customers to plan an environmentally-friendly trip to one of the charity’s great sites on our route, this mural will help to highlight this important piece of local research. We’re proud to be supporting this great campaign and encourage all of our customers to download the app and help Essex Wildlife Trust with this important project.”

Kim Hall, Chair of the Thorpe Bay Residents Association, came down to see the mural installation in action. She said, “This project has brightened up the waiting room for the local community in a fun and unique way; the butterflies are fantastic – they look like they’re popping off the wall! I hope this will encourage local residents to jump on the train and explore the Trust’s reserves, using this beautiful map to plan their days out.”

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