‘The State of Kent’s Wildlife’ (Kent Biodiversity Partnership. 2011) illustrated that during the last century Kent has seen major losses in wildlife and many of the species that remain have seen big population declines. Our project area sits within Kent’s Garden of England and extends from Kemsing Down up to Cobham and across to Detling Hill and covers approximately 10,000 hectares in total; it is bordered by large and expanding urban conurbations including the Medway Towns, Sevenoaks and Maidstone. The area includes chalk hills which are the remains of the rim of the Wealden anticline which were created 65 million years ago. The project area’s landform is dominated by the North Downs escarpment and encompasses long dry valleys which extend along the dip slope to meet the River Medway, responsible for the deep trenches through the chalk hills.
The geology of the area is mainly chalk and the landscape is intensively farmed. Only very small, fragmented patches of chalk grassland, of which just 3% (273 ha) remains, survives in Kent and a very small percentage of this (17 ha) is categorised as unimproved and species rich. Chalk grassland is one of Western Europe’s most rich and diverse habitats providing an essential home to species of butterfly and plant unable to survive elsewhere. The precious patches of chalk grassland that remain are an important part of our natural heritage and need to be improved, expanded and protected for future generations to enjoy and appreciate. Surveys will enable the effective monitoring of the key indicator species within the project area.
The following links provide information on self-guided walks in our project area: