Know before you go
Parking informationLarge car park with 2.2m height barrier.
Grazing animalsCattle ponies and sheep at various times of the year. Please see information boards for current livestock location.
Yes, 4 waymarked routes.
Large car park which has a compacted sand/ gravel surface with a reasonably flat surface (expect some potholes). Access from the car park onto the reserve is across a small road and then through a large kissing gate. The kissing gate provides enough space for a wheelchair, however, the surface within the kissing gate does get eroded, making an uneven surface.
When you are on the reserve, the paths are natural compacted sand but will get wetter and more eroded as you travel further from the car park and during periods of heavy rain. Most of the paths travel over uneven ground and holes from rabbits and dogs can appear anywhere.
There are four marked circular routes, these are indicated with waymarker discs on wooden posts.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitAll year round
About the reserve
A visit to Hothfield Heathlands is a visit to one the last remaining heathlands in Kent. After walking through a narrow canopy of broadleaved trees, you break through to reveal the wide-open landscape of Hothfield heathlands. The spring will bring with it the fresh green growth of Heather, gorse and a myriad of tiny plants.
The coconut scented gorse bushes provide the perfect perch for many bird species, Yellowhammers, White Throat and Willow Warblers all sing boldly from these prickly bushes. Make sure you keep an eye on the floor too, the finger-sized holes of the minotaur beetle are scattered liberally across the bare ground, while the metallic Green Tiger Beetle will be buzzing vigorously around your feet.
A series of waymarked paths allow you to explore most of this unique site, with boardwalks allowing access to some of the wettest parts of the reserve. These wet bogs are home to a wonderful collection of rare plants, many of whom are found only at Hothfield. Carnivorous Round Leaved Sundew, cotton grass, bog asphodel and heath spotted orchids are amongst the most dramatic.
The reserve is managed by Kent Wildlife Trust on behalf of Ashford Borough Council.