Fantastic news for the Blean Woods
Congratulations to Kent Wildlife Trust and all those
organisations and individuals that have assisted in the purchase of West
Blean and Thornden Woods, south of Chestfield and Joan Beech Wood, south
of Dunkirk. This is a massive addition to the landholding of conservation
bodies in the Blean Woods complex, the largest area of broad-leaved
woodland in the southeast outside the New Forest. The Trust will have
their hands full for many years in restoring these woods, much of which
have been planted up with conifers. One key species likely to benefit from
the Trust’s purchase is the Blean Woods’ special butterfly the Heath
Fritillary. The Trust’s new management for the woods will undoubtedly
tie in with the work that KSCP and Forest Enterprise have been doing in
Clowes Wood. Well done to all those involved.
A day was spent clearing scrub from Horton Manor Pond at
Chartham. This will allow more light into the pond so encouraging plants
King’s Wood Ride work
Work has finished on four major woodland projects at
King’s Wood, Challock. This has included 14 acres of ride widening to
the south of the wood; the creation of a 1 acre wildlife glade; the
improved management of a calcareous ride; and the extension, through 5
acres of tree clearance, of an area favoured by reptiles – ‘Reptile
Valley’. All this work will benefit wildlife from bluebells to nightjar
to fallow deer but will also improve the attractiveness of the wood for
people, with wider, lighter and more plant rich rides. The projects have
been achieved through a partnership with Forest Enterprise and have been
funded largely from European money (ERDF). Further works are planned.
Beating the gales at Weatherlees Hill
Volunteers have been braving the weather over the winter
months at Weatherlees Hill next to Richborough Power Station. They have
been vigorously cutting and slashing through the scrub and clearing fence
lines. This Site of Special Scientific Interest has been declining in its
wildlife value since grazing ceased in the late 1980s. Scrub now covers
70% of what was a former grassland site of 64 acres (26ha). The KSCP has
overseen fencing the site and around 25 bulls will be grazing the site
until mid May and then from 1st August. However, we shall be
busy into the future as lots of work is needed to remove scrub and enclose
more areas for livestock.
Hammering away at Anvil Green!
Work was completed at Anvil Green, Waltham by volunteers
of the fencing of 4.75 acres (1.9ha) of arable land to revert it to
grassland. This will encourage wildflowers and butterflies to thrive. The
project which is part of a Countryside Stewardship Scheme will also see 1
acre (0.4ha) of arable field margins (grassy strips) created and the
planting of 362m of hedge with a further 191m of hedge restored.
All hands to the hedge
Work has started laying a 300m long hedge near Chislet
Mushroom Farm. Volunteers had a helping hand from professional hedgelayer
Nick Easton from Tankerton. The hedge which will be visible from the A28
at Hersden will not only remind us of how some hedges were managed in the
past but the hedge will thicken up to provide a dense hedgerow good for
nesting birds and other wildlife. Laying the whole length of hedgerow
might take a few years to achieve so there is plenty of opportunity to get
Take a walk on the wildside…….
After some time in the planning, the Wye Riverside
Project got off to a flying start with two community practical task days.
With KSCP advice, assistance and funding over 200 trees and 180 metres of
hedge have been planted, mulched and guarded. The next phase will be to
sow wildflower seed, erect two barn owl boxes plus smaller tit & bat
boxes, construct benches and install an artificial otter chamber holt.
Thanks go to The Village Hall Committee, Wye Parish Council, Mary Barratt
and Harry Henderson. Anyone willing to help out, the next community task
day is the 14th April.
An ambitious project to help reverse scrub invasion and
increase the range of a rare moth on beautiful chalk downland has been
started by KSCP. Down Bank is located near Chilham and is designated a
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). In collaboration with Kent
Wildlife Trust, work has begun on creating a fenced corridor to link the
site to KWT reserve Broadham Down. The 30m x 200m corridor will allow
livestock to move between the sites. Due to the remote location it has
proved very difficult to find a grazier for the bank, the corridor will
solve this problem. The site is owned by the Aspinal Trust and managed on
their behalf by English Nature and KSCP.
Giant Gains for Farmland Wildlife
Over the last twelve months the KSCP has played a
leading role in establishing wholesale gains on farmland. This was
achieved by promoting and entering farms into the Countryside Stewardship
Scheme run by DEFRA. Seven holdings were accepted into the scheme, with
total farm holdings covering nearly 5000 acres (2000 hectares). Some of
the excellent habitat gains include; 12.46 km of hedgerow planting, 10.61
km of hedge restoration, creation or desilting of 26 ponds, 41.8 ha of 6m
arable grass margins, 64.21 ha of arable reversion to grassland, 30.51 ha
of wildlife friendly management of established pasture and 60 ha of winter
stubbles left fallow in spring/summer. Deadline for schemes this year is
the end of March, if you are interested in entering the scheme please
contact the KSCP office.