Wildlife and Conservation

The Museum Grounds and Wildlife Areas

In the days when the Museum was a working pumping station, the grounds were mainly laid to lawn, with large formal shrub beds and specimen trees. Maintenance was by full-time gardeners employed by the water company.

When the site fell into disuse in the 1960’s maintenance ceased and the grounds became overgrown, to the extent that even the roads around the main building could not be seen. When the Museum of Power came to Langford in 1996 some initial clearance work was done.

The shrub beds and lawns were rediscovered and the roads revealed again for the first time in over three decades. Today the gardens and grounds are maintained by a team of volunteers.

We have taken advice from the Essex Wildlife Trust and with their help have identified numerous native varieties of wild flowers in these areas. In addition, a bird survey has also been carried out that suggests that the Museum is host to regular visits from over 70 bird species and that many, including kingfishers, goldcrests, sparrow hawks and green woodpeckers nest on the site.

The River Blackwater that flows through the grounds of the museum is home to a number of types of freshwater fish including dace, roach, chub, pike, carp and the recently reintroduced brown trout. Other ‘visitors’ to the grounds and the river include the water otter.

Work and interpretation continues, with clear paths and picnic areas being created in the wildlife areas so that visitors are encouraged to explore and enjoy them.

The Museum is heavily reliant on a small group of volunteers who work hard here every Wednesday to maintain and improve the seven acres of grounds on site. We are looking to create new nature trails and hunts around our grounds, to encourage children to explore. In January 2017, as part of our first ever ‘Wassail’ event, we planted an orchard of Apple & Pear Trees along the bank of the River Blackwater, which we hope will soon produce fruit.

We also have a range of engine exhibits in our grounds, including our Mirlees engine, which is in the final stages of reconstruction by our engineering team. Unfortunately the engine won’t be able to run again, but we hope it will be a fantastic addition to our display once it is complete. Future projects include work on our ‘Simpson’ Engine, which is currently in our compound in bits. We hope to make it a gate centurion, giving people driving past our site an example of what we have on display in the Musuem and grounds.