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The Larches

A mosiac of habitats including woodland, scrub and chalk grassland.

This 25 hectare reserve is situated on the south facing slopes of the North Downs with excellent views across the Weald of Kent. This mosaic of habitats consists of internationally important calcareous yew and beech woodland, hazel coppice with oak standards, scrub and chalk grassland.


The grassland has a diversity of species including autumn gentian, pyramidal and bee orchid and the nationally scarce ground pine. Adders can be found basking around the woodland edges and in the rides. Butterflies include chalkhill blue, brown argus and marbled white.

Much of the beech woodland was flattened in the 1987 great storm and some fallen speciemens can be seen where regeneration has been allowed to occur naturally.

Management by thinning re-growth and the re-introduction of hazel coppicing will allow light to penetrate the woodland floor and help to support existing woodland species of bluebell, yellow bird's-nest orchid, stinking helleborine and white and broad-leaved helleborine. The woodlands are also important habitat for many invertebrates as well as bullfinch, woodcock, dormouse and badger.


Nearby nature reserves

Tyland Barn
2 miles - Kent Wildlife Trust
Westfield Wood
2 miles - Kent Wildlife Trust
Blue Bell Hill
3 miles - Kent Wildlife Trust

Nature reserve map

Reserve information

The Larches
ME14 3HW
Map reference
Great for...
ancient trees
getting away from it all
stunning views
Get directions
Find out here
Public transport
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Opening Times
Open at all times
25.00 hectares
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Not Wheelchair accessible. There are stiles and the surface is a woodland floor. It is slippery on exposed chalk when wet.
Walking information
Steep and uneven in places.
Parking is limited to roadside parking at the western end of the site near Detling.
Dogs allowed
Grazing animals
Cattle and ponies
Reserve manager
Alison Ruyter
Tel: 01622 662012