Know before you go
Parking informationParking is on the roadside in Nashenden Farm Lane before the hamlet of Nashenden. Please do not drive up the bridleway/private road through the hamlet
Grazing animalsSheep graze most of the year round, occasionally cattle but there is no public access to the fields where livestock graze.
Visitors can enter the reserve by crossing the rail bridge. Marked paths lead from the North Downs Way onto the circular route.
Please be aware there are no shortcuts.
The whole circuit is approximately 3.5km and takes about two hours to stroll around. The permissive bridle route entrance is approximately 500m further south of the pedestrian entrance.
There are medium mobility kissing gates, off the North Downs Way into shoulder of Mutton wood. Within the woods the paths are criss crossed with tree roots. At the exit from Shoulder of mutton into the southern edge of Nashenden Down a steep unsurfaced path leads to a horse stile. There are bridle gates at the eastern end with no horse stiles. The ground is unsurfaced, being compacted and establishing a grass layer. It is level in places, steep in others.
When to visit
Opening timesOpen at all times
Best time to visitMay to October: Farmland birds - skylarks and linnets. Bee's, dragonflies, and wildflowers
About the reserve
Just a couple of minutes from the hustle and bustle of the Medway towns lie huge rolling fields of wildflowers. Sheep grazed meadows filled with Bird’s-foot trefoil and small scabious attract butterflies and bumblebees whilst the scrubby corners are filled with song birds including the occasional nightingale.
Kent Wildlife Trust has managed Nashenden since 2009 and we have exciting plans this year to further transform this nature reserve via our appeal,
Nashenden Down is unique in that it is also Kent Wildlife Trust’s only arable nature reserve. On the lowest slopes, barley is planted thinly each year and left to grow without fertilisers or pesticides. The wildflowers race away under the canopy of the crop. The nectar and pollen create an insect rich space that attracts birds looking to feed their young. The barley is left un-harvested and unploughed until late March feeding a wide range of wildlife throughout the winter including large flocks of linnets. Skylarks can be heard singing all year round.
This is a place of contrasts. The wide open spaces, with far reaching views can feel exhilarating and windswept; then you turn the corner, descend the slope and find yourself in a sheltered sunny nook. You feel like you are miles away from anywhere in the stillness and the quiet until you turn the corner once more in time to see the high speed train zipping past and hear the dull roar of the motorway once more.
Our Appeal to create a Wilder Nashenden
Just 10 years ago Nashenden was 130 acres of mud. Years of conventional, intensive, arable farming had created a wildlife desert.
Today it is a different story, and has been regenerated with chalk grassland species. Reptiles, dragonflies, bees, arable plants and farmland birds have started to make this their home. But now we want to be able to improve this wonderful nature reserve, and create an even Wilder Nashenden.
Only your support today will enable us to do the following
- A new 27-acre field secure from disturbance and full of critical plant species for farmland birds and invertebrates.
- A series of 5 new ponds spread across 74 acres of grassland and arable land
- A new walking path through the centre of the valley will improve access to the site whilst reducing damaging disturbance
- Wider, thicker hedges, removed from disturbance to help birds like the nightingale
Your support will allow us to further enhance the 130 acres of rolling fields at Nashenden. It has already come a long way since it's restoration in 2009, but your donation will help us create an even wilder, more diverse Nashenden.