Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve and Jeffery Harrison Visitor Centre
Know before you go
Entry feeFree entry
Parking informationFree parking. No overnight parking.
Bicycle parkingYes, blue butterfly bicycle racks are located near the visitor centre
There are a number of trails around the reserve, please note that there is very deep water in places, so under 16's must be accompanied by an adult. No dogs (except guide dogs) or bicycles are allowed and picnics are restricted to the designated area only. Visitors in wheelchairs have access to the visitor centre (with the exception on one first floor display), three hides and most of the nature trail. Parts of the reserve have restricted access and other areas may be closed from time to time for management or wildlife reasons. Please be aware that running/jogging round the Reserve is prohibited.
Wheelchair accessible. Visitors in Wheelchairs have access to the visitors centre, three hides and most of the nature trail
When to visit
Opening timesVisitor Centre & Café open Wednesday to Sunday 10am-4pm
Reserve open daily dawn-dusk
Best time to visitAll year round
About the reserve
Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve lies immediately to the north of Sevenoaks. The reserve was the first example of a gravel pit site being developed for the purpose of nature conservation. It is a spectacular site for birds, as well as dragonflies and damselflies there is also a diverse community of plants, fungi and other wildlife, including creatures of the night such as bats and glow-worms. So far well over two thousand species have been identified and more are regularly being added to the list. This pioneering nature reserve covers 73.00 hectares and comprises five lakes surrounded by woodland, there are a few ponds, seasonally flooded pools as well as grassland and small areas of reedbed, the clear water of river Darent flows through the northern part of the reserve and supports a reasonable population of invertebrates and fish.
More on the wildlife. The deeper lakes attract all the common wildfowl which are especially abundant in the winter. Surface feeding duck such as teal and shovelers tend to frequent the shallower areas. Waders such as green and common sandpiper, greenshank, lapwing and little-ringed plover can be seen around the muddy edges of the shallow water. The last two species nest on the reserve. Grey herons are resident and other birds like kingfisher, grey wagtail can often be located. Birds such as reed bunting and reed warbler can easily be seen in the reedbed in the summertime.
The trees and scrub support of breeding perching birds, including the common garden birds, warblers such as chiffchaffs and blackcaps, woodpeckers (all 3 species including the lesser-spotted are found here), treecreepers and bullfinch. In the winter the alder trees attract flocks of siskins and redpolls.
About the Visitor Centre
Despite the summer being behind us there is still loads to see and do at the Jeffrey Harrison Visitor Centre. Our autumn schedule includes talks and walks on the fungi common around the reserve, or workshops on how to use your iPhone to capture the moment and scene in the beautiful outdoor environment around Sevenoaks. We will also be hosting more childrens activities during the half term school holidays at the end of October. For more details...
The Jeffrey Harrison Visitor Centre has been the starting point for thousands of visitors to the reserve since 1987. The centre houses displays illustrating the prehistory and history of the site, the creation of the reserve, its habitats and the wildlife that they support. In addition, the Visitor Centre can advise you on how best to enjoy your day at the Reserve, highlighting recent wildlife sightings, walks and trails and forthcoming events. The Visitor Centre has an indoor seating area and a café serving hot and cold drinks, sandwiches and a selection of savoury and sweet snacks. There is also a shop area selling local produce, bird food and accessories and a great range of Hawke Optics binocular and scopes which we are happy for you to test onsite so that you get the right optic for you.
Adjacent to the Centre there is a fully accessible bird hide looking over the West Lake, as well as a picnic area with two accessible picnic tables a sensory elemental garden and wild space to explore.
BBQ's and fires are not permitted on the reserve.
Launch of design competition for pioneering £2m ‘Nature and Wellbeing Centre’ for Sevenoaks
Kent Wildlife Trust, in partnership with The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), is pleased to announce the launch of an open design competition seeking registered architects and architect-led teams worldwide to put forward designs that promote learning, wellbeing, curiosity and nature for an exciting new visitor centre at its popular Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve.