As well as the dense yew woodland, there is a lot of diverse mixed woodland at the site; ‘broadleaf’ quite literally referring to the broader leaved native tree species that grow here. The mix includes: oak, ash, field maple, hazel, sweet chestnut and hornbeam, all of which provide different opportunities for diversity of mammals, lichen, fungi, birds and insects.
As mentioned above, the woodland here has a particularly natural feel. Whilst there is remnant coppice (that was worked much more in the past), there are also many mature trees and a natural ‘messiness’ created by the wind on these steep slopes. Nature likes things messy – it leaves lots of nooks and crannies for shelter and ‘windthrow’ creates natural glades giving light for plants growing on the woodland floor.
There are several ‘ancient woodland indicator species’ found amongst the ground flora, including bluebells, wood anemone and a dainty little plant called ‘sanicle’. Several orchid species also favour the woodland edges and glades to the open grassland. Volunteer and contracted work has been carried out to reintroduce some larger glades in the woodland to aid this diversity of special woodland plants. These glades also provide perfect sheltering, feeding and breeding spaces for many creatures, including woodland butterflies and bats.
At the Western edge of the reserve the woodland joins to ‘Westfield Wood’ which is managed by Kent Wildlife Trust. The LNR Committee works with KWT to make sure that we’re managing these woodlands jointly for the benefit of wildlife.