Ox eye daisy at Nashenden Down

Kent Wildlife Trust

Sunflower at Nashenden Down, photo by Dave Watson

Dave Watson

Broomrpe at Nashenden Down, photography by Dave Watson
Nashenden Down
Created from an enormous arable field in 2009, this nature reserve is building an impressive species list as it matures into a vital part of the Medway smile living landscape.

Location

Nashenden Down
Borstal
Rochester
Kent
ME1 3TQ

OS Map Reference

TQ730657
A static map of Nashenden Down

Know before you go

Size
55 hectares

Parking information

Parking 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 animals

Sheep graze most of the year round, occasionally cattle but there is no public access to the fields where livestock graze.

Walking trails

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 walk. The permissive bridle route entrance is approximately 500m further south of the pedestrian entrance.

Access

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.

Dogs

Dogs permitted
Dog bins are situated on Nashenden Farm Lane

When to visit

Opening times

Open at all times

Best time to visit

May to October

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.

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.

Contact us

Alison Ruyter
Contact number: 01622 662012

Environmental designation

Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB)