Wye National Nature Reserve



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Our View

The Wye NNR is renowned for its views over Romney Marsh and the Weald, and out to the Channel coast, and for landscape features such as the Devil’s Kneading Trough – a dry, steep-sided valley (or coombe) formed by freezing conditions near the end of the last Ice Age. The extensive chalk grassland is one of the best examples of this important habitat in Kent. It is covered in wildflowers and supports several rare plant species, including 21 rare and beautiful orchids such as the rare late and early spider and man orchids. As well as grassland the reserve includes areas of scrub, woodland and over two miles of hedgerows. These habitats support around 50 breeding birds, including nightingale, hawfinch, lesser spotted woodpecker and kestrel. Reptiles found here include adder, grass snake, slow worm and common lizard. In turn, the variety of plant life supports a huge number of invertebrates, including scarce butterfly species such as the chalk hill blue and the Adonis blue, which have secured the site’s special protection as an NNR.

Wye National Nature Reserve


About the area

Discover Kent

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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