Mid-South Coast wetlands restoration project shows how estate living can coexist with nature

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Just like rainforests and coral reefs, wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world, providing immense value to wildlife and humans. In addition to providing food and shelter for a vast array of diverse species, wetlands improve water quality, provide flood protection, and erosion control, as well as acting as a sponge for carbon.

And these benefits are being felt by residents at Renishaw Hills, the mature lifestyle estate in Scottburgh, where the restoration of indigenous vegetation within Mpambanyoni Conservation Development adjacent to the estate began in May 2016. This restoration aims to convert around 22 hectares of sugarcane farm into its natural wetland state, a project which forms an integral part of the overall restoration project being funded by Renishaw Property Developments.

Renishaw Hills forms part of the 2.6-million-square-metre Renishaw Coastal Precinct. From the start, developers have been committed to the preservation of the natural environment. The team has partnered with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), guided by environmental consultants at SiVEST. Work on the wetlands is being undertaken by around 50 to 60 local inhabitants, providing much-needed job creation in the area.

“Being a labour-intensive project, there was some interruption to the process during the pandemic, but there has been significant improvement with many naturally occurring wetland plants, insects, birds and animals re-emerging,” commented Jonathan Acutt, Managing Director of Acutts Real Estate. “Renishaw Hills residents continue to monitor the progress of the restoration project closely, and are always excited to report new sightings emanating from this ever-changing environment.”

In fact, so committed are Renishaw Hills residents to the region’s biodiversity that they’ve established the Nature Action Group (NAG). These environmental enthusiasts are able to track these exciting new flora and fauna, with Renishaw Rangers submitting new discoveries on the citizen scientist iNaturalist platform. To date, the group has already made around 5 000 observations in the area, including recording near-threatened and vulnerable species.

“The need for a hands-on approach to conservation is clear, and Renishaw Hills residents can witness, daily, the impact this restoration project is having on the local, and the even wider natural world,” continued Acutt. “Conservation will continue to be at the heart of this development to the benefit of all. The many trails found here allow residents to enjoy this natural world through an active lifestyle of hiking and biking, as well as enjoying community activities such as birding and nature walks.”

Renishaw Hills is the first development within the mixed-use Renishaw Coastal Precinct set to include residential, retail, educational, healthcare and light industrial/commercial zones. In addition to extensive nature trails, Renishaw Hills boasts high-end facilities, state-of-the-art security, and welcoming communities for retirees.

Renishaw Hills has just launched Phase 6, a series of high-end maisonettes boasting spectacular sea views and houses surrounded by coastal greenery. Start a new adventure by booking an in-person or virtual tour or visit any weekend for the Open Day. Email info@renishawhills.co.za or visit www.renishawhills.co.za