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Forest View

Forest View

by Mike Bartlett

Local Woodland & Nature Reserves

We are lucky enough to have numerous nature reserves all around Tunbridge Wells, and the best thing about them is that they are free!  Full of colour and interest at all times of the year, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy a real rural setting in any one of these woodlands.

Broadwater Warren

The Broadwater Warren RSPB reserve is currently being re-established to the former historic open landscape of the Weald allowing the native plants and wildlife to flourish. 

Conifers are being taken out and the new palette of heathland and woodland will provide homes for woodlarks and nightjars, adders, bees and butterflies, dragonflies and frogs.

The reserve is open all year round for visitors, including for your four legged friend.

Come and enjoy the views across the countryside.

Bring your binoculars and see what you can discover!

Hargate Forest

Originally Hargate Forest was part of a medieval hunting forest which included Broadwater Warren above and was one of the four grand hunting forests of the Weald.

Today it is quite safe to walk without being hunted through this Forest via the marked routes of different lengths. Registered as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and maintained by the Woodland Trust, this is a beautiful place to which to escape.

With fantastic views across the High Weald as well, there is wildlife to look out for on your visit all year round.

Small seasonal guided activities are put on for a small fee such as the Autumn Fungi Foray.  Check the What’s On listings right now!

Tudeley Woods

Tudeley Woods and Heathlands RSPB reserve has been restored to reduce the historic effect the Wealden Iron Industry had on the landscape.

Woodland flowers and butterflies can now be found on your walk as well as more than 1000 different species of fungi.

Look out for the stunning bluebells and primroses in the spring.

For the birders among you there are lesser spotted woodpeckers, tree pipits, nightjars, willow tits and woodlarks.

Hemsted Forest

Hemsted Forest, based between Sissinghurst and Benenden in the east of the region, is predominately made up of pine trees. Over recent years it has been replanted with Douglas-fir, apparently not a pine, fir or conifer at all!

Since it is still evergreen, the thick foliage attracts a variety of birds and dormice.

There are easy to walk paths and tracks with hard surfaces for easy access and also used much by cyclists and horse riders.  The site’s postcode is TN17 4AN.

To note: all of the above do not have toilets.

Bedgebury National Pinetum

Here is a national collection of over 10,000 conifer specimens which includes many rare, historically important and endangered trees. 

In the village of Goudhurst, this is a great place for children, pushchairs and wheelchair users thanks to the decked walkways.  Parking is pay on entry.

The Pinetum used to have Britain's tallest cypress, also the tallest tree in the county. Unfortunately 'The Old Man of Kent' as it was known, a silver fir measuring 165ft, had to be felled in 2016 due to old age.

You can go for a 2 hour walk or a 30 min ramble, take your pick and see what wildlife you can spot on the way.

Browse the What’s On listings for the latest goings on, there is nearly always something happening at Bedgebury.

 

External links

Woodland Trust - Hargate Forest

RSPB Nature Reserves 

Forestry Commission - Hemsted Forest

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