Rare wart-biter crickets, chalk aquifers and combatting climate change were all on the agenda when Sacha Dench visited one of South East Water’s 33 Sites of Special Scientific Interest on Wednesday, 11 August.
Known as The Human Swan for her epic journey following the migration route of the endangered Bewicks Swans from Arctic Russia to the UK, Sacha is now flying around the coast of the UK on an electric-powered paramotor to inspire positive action on climate change.
Deep Dean is also home to one of the company’s 88 water treatment works, which takes water from deep wells within the chalk rock and makes it safe to drink before distributing it to customers across the South Downs as well as coastal towns of Seaford and Eastbourne.
Because of this, the surrounding grassland has been managed by the water company for decades to protect water quality at the source and enhance the range of flora and fauna living on the site.
This includes rare chalk grassland, the UK's equivalent of the Amazon rainforest, and the elusive wart-biter bush cricket which is found at just five sites across the country.
Emma Goddard, South East Water’s Head of Environment, said: “It was a pleasure to show Sacha the work we do to protect water quality at its source and enhance the wider environment.
"By keeping the water clean at the source we need less energy and fewer chemicals during the treatment process, reducing our carbon footprint.
“In turn, this provides healthy soils which lock in more water and carbon while helping wildlife to thrive and creating an environment which is more resilient to the effects of climate change, such as drought and flooding.
Speaking about her trip to Sussex as part of the epic 3,000-mile expedition, Sacha said: “It was fascinating to learn about the work that goes on behind the scenes to make sure the water we all rely on is not only plentiful and of the highest quality, but sustainable too.
“During my visit we were lucky enough to spot two wart-biter bush crickets, as well as rare butterflies and a range of beautiful wildflowers that grow on this patch of the South Downs.”
Sacha epic journey started just outside Glasgow and has seen her fly through the Lake District, around Wales and the West Country, Cornwall, Devon and the South Coast, landing frequently, talking with, filming, and gathering information from, industry, innovators and entrepreneurs, local heroes, communities, schools, farmers and individuals – anybody interested in or involved in addressing the effects of climate change in their areas.
A compilation of these stories will be presented at COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November.
On her journey Sacha is also be calling on people to sign up to Count Us In. This is a campaign to inspire people to take personal climate action in a month as part of a global effort https://www.count-us-in.org/