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Kent Downs AONB

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Wye National Nature Reserve is home to an abundance of wildlife, including moths, insects and orchids that are important for national and international conservation efforts.

The site became a nature reserve in 1961 when a local nature enthusiast realised the importance of the site and wanted to ensure that it was protected. The 134 hectares  are one of the finest examples of  chalk grassland in Kent, and are home to  21 species of orchid, 3.5km of hedgerows, 50 breeding bird species and four reptile species, as well as many other species of rare plants and insects.

The tops of the chalk hills offer breathtaking views that are some of the best in Kent and the reserve’s panoramic viewpoint sculpture will help you identify the landmarks before you. The Devil’s Kneading Trough is a dry valley that cuts into the North Downs. The view from the Millstone at the top of the Devil’s Kneading Trough is outstanding and on a clear day, it is possible to see Rye, Romney Marsh, the Coast around Hastings, and Dungeness.

Fossilised sharks teeth have been found here on the Wye Downs. They are a reminder that this area of Kent was covered with sea water 85 million years ago when the chalk of the North Downs was formed from the compressed remains of billions of small sea creatures from this time.

Wye National Nature Reserve has a circular nature trail and several public footpaths passing through it. Visitors should take care on the steep slopes, and watch out for grazing livestock.

The reserve is 2km southeast of the town of Wye and 6km northeast of Ashford. By car, access to Wye is via minor roads from the A28. The reserve’s eastern boundary is marked by a minor road from Wye to the village of Hastingleigh.  There are two car parks available – one next to and the other opposite the reserve.  The car park on the same side of the road as the reserve can accommodate coaches by prior arrangement.  Voluntary car parking charges, for both car parks, can be paid in advance or on the day using the RingGo app.

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