Pilots Wood Urgent Appeal

Save Pilots Wood - Unlock the Magic

c) Barry Cook

Match Funding Appeal - Triple your donation

We all have magical memories of woodland, whether it’s walking through the autumn leaves in a woodland glade or enjoying the dappled summer sunshine; no other habitat is quite as evocative all year round.  But our beloved woodlands are critically at risk. The UK has lost over 80% of the woodland it once had, making us one of the least wooded nations in Europe. The time to act is now.

This year, with your help, we can save a wonderful piece of woodland known as Pilots Wood, offering a rare opportunity to help some of the UK's most threatened wildlife.

For this appeal we have the fantastic opportunity to triple your donations through match funding. This means that if you help us to raise £50,000 it will unlock the £150,000 needed to purchase and restore Pilots Wood

Help us Save Pilots Wood

First shoots of bluebells at Pilots Wood

A magical woodland world

This beautiful part of ancient woodland sits on top of the Darent Valley and provides a crucial habitat that links in with other wildlife sites in the area. This includes our Polhill Nature reserve which, with your generous support, was purchased for restoration last year.

If we can buy and manage Pilots wood, we'll have an incredible new 70-acre nature reserve spreading through this magical woodland and down to the chalk grassland below.

However, time to raise funds is short.

Save Pilots Wood- Unlock the Magic

Red Kite

A donation of £50....

...will be worth £150 with match funding

A donation of £100...

...will be worth £300 with match funding

a donation of £500...

...will be worth £1500 with match funding

The Animals of Pilots Wood

Pilots wood is rich in diversity, from the smallest creatures and fungi that reside on the woodland floor, to the deer you can see bounding through the glades. From April and May, you can see incredible carpets of bluebells through Pilots wood and beyond. These are a great indicator of ancient woodland and provide an important early source of nectar for bees, butterflies and other insects. We are incredibly fortunate to have over half of the world’s bluebells in the UK, so we must protect our woodland to ensure future generations can continue to see beautiful displays of bluebells.

Find out about the magical species that we can protect, with your help, at Pilots Wood


Red Kite

C) Andy Rouse / 2020VISION

Pilots Wood is home to a wide variety of birds

Buzzards are increasingly seen in the area, soaring over the valley, and excitingly red kite have also been seen in the area.

By protecting and managing the woodland, we can ensure that all these birds can thrive here and in time we would expect that they will be joined by others which are in decline in other areas.

Sadly, of the 49 breeding woodland bird species in the UK, 16 are red listed- the highest priority of conservation, and only by ensuring areas like Pilots Wood are managed for wildlife can we reverse this alarming decline.



c) Julia Beadle

Pilots Wood is also home to a range of mammal species.  In areas of the woodland, freshly turned earth gives clues that badgers are active in the area and if you’re lucky, foxes can be glimpsed through the trees.

Deer are also present in the woodland and surrounding fields


Pine marten (Martes martes), Scotland, UK

Pine marten (Martes martes), Black Isle, Scotland, UK. July 2010. 4-5 month old kit. - Terry Whittaker/2020VISION

Kent Wildlife Trust is looking to trial wildling at different scales and our initial assessment is that Polhill Bank nature reserve, including Pilots Wood, could be a location to really benefit from this new approach. 

Wilding works with nature, and includes bringing back lost species, and using more effective processes when managing the land.  The details of how we will do this are subject to a detailed assessment, but we anticipate that we will use native breeds of cattle to graze the grasslands and woodland. We may also look to introduce other livestock such as pigs, who’s rooting in the ground will create disturbed areas allowing a greater variety of plants to develop on the site.

We are also considering Polhill Bank nature reserves as a reintroduction site for Pine Marten. Although most people associate this fascinating mammal with the highlands of Scotland, it was once widespread across the UK, but its range has drastically reduced due to historic persecution and habitat loss.


This small but important predator will re-balance populations of other prey species, which would have benefits for species further down the food chain. This could be a key step in wildling Pilots Wood and Polhill Bank nature reserve.

Help us raise £50,000 to save Pilots Wood


c) Barry Cook