8. Kemsing Down
Kemsing Down Nature Reserve lies right on the top of the North Downs, above the village of Kemsing. It is quite a steep climb up the Downs but when you reach the top you will be rewarded with a spectacular panoramic view across Kent – on a clear day you will be able to see as far as Detling in the East and Leith Hill in Surrey in the West.
The Reserve is in two parts, divided by an ancient cart track (now a public footpath). The eastern side is a chalk grassland area rich in wild flowers including nine species of orchid. Other wildflower species you could see include the squinancywort, fairy flax, burnet saxifrage and common rock rose. Take your wild flower book with you to see how many you can spot.
Early summer is the best time to see this profusion of flowers and insects. Butterflies to watch out for include the brown argus, common blue and dingy and grizzled skipper. The western side of the reserve is a mixture of ancient woodland and chalk downland. Here you may see a kestrel or a green woodpecker.
The reserve is owned by Kemsing Parish Council and managed by Kent Wildlife Trust and Sevenoaks District Council.