Sandwich & Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve
Sandwich and Pegwell Bay NNR, with its spectacular stretch of fragile windswept coastline, is internationally important for migrating and over-wintering waders and wildfowl. It is the Kent Wildlife Trust’s largest and one of its most important nature reserves, and the only ancient dune pasture in Kent. The reserve is made up of a complex mosaic of habitats which include inter-tidal mudflats, saltmarsh, shingle beach, sand dunes, ancient dune pastures, chalk cliffs, wave cut platform and coastal scrubland. Wildlife and flora of the dunes and coast include the rare natterjack toad and sand lizard, while flowers include the yellow horned poppy and the lizard and bee orchids. The reserve is of international importance for its waders and wildfowl, best seen during winter or during the spring and autumn migrations. Species seen here include oystercatcher, dunlin, curlew, sanderling, grey plover, redshank, ringed plover, barnacle goose, sandwich and little tern and shelduck.
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About The area
The White Cliffs of Dover are an English icon – the epitome of our island heritage and sense of nationhood. They also mark the point where the Kent Downs AONB, that great arc of chalk downland stretching from the Surrey Hills and sometimes known as ‘the Garden of England’, finally reaches the sea. This is a well-ordered and settled landscape, where chalk and greensand escarpments look down into the wooded Weald to the south.
Many historic parklands, including Knole Park and Sir Winston Churchill’s red-brick former home at Chartwell, are also worth visiting. Attractive settlements such as Charing, site of Archbishop Cranmer’s Tudor palace, and Chilham, with its magnificent half-timbered buildings and 17th-century castle built on a Norman site, can be found on the Pilgrim’s Way, the traditional route for Canterbury-bound pilgrims in the Middle Ages.
In the nature reserves, such as the traditionally coppiced woodlands of Denge Wood and Earley Wood, and the ancient fine chalk woodland of Yockletts Bank high on the North Downs near Ashford, it is still possible to experience the atmosphere of wilderness that must have been felt by the earliest travellers along this ancient ridgeway.
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