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How you can help protect Polhill Bank

PUBLISHED: 13:31 09 April 2018

Polhill Bank is great for walks

Polhill Bank is great for walks

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Remote Polhill Bank is our oldest and most treasured nature reserve and now you can help secure the future for its precious wildlife

Polhill Bank is a beautiful piece of chalk grassland set on a south east-facing hillside overlooking the Darenth Valley, with stunning views of the Sevenoaks area.

Its remoteness makes it a peaceful haven for an abundance of wildlife and a wonderful place to walk and explore.

Kent Wildlife Trust has managed the nature reserve at its own cost in recent years to keep it in prime condition, but this fragile arrangement has given the site no long-term security.

However, the Trust now has the opportunity to purchase this 10-acre nature reserve, along with a huge extension, which will protect 40 acres overall and secure the future for its precious wildlife.

Yellowhammer (photo: Amy Lewis) Yellowhammer (photo: Amy Lewis)

This exciting opportunity, if successful, will mean 11 acres of once-arable land will be returned to the wild and the creation of new access points to the site will allow for easier and more efficient management.

So Kent Wildlife Trust has launched a fundraising appeal to help restore and expand this threatened site and protect it for generations to enjoy.

Polhill Bank is unusual in that it embraces three types of habitat; woodland, scrub and open chalk grassland full of flowers and a variety of insects, making it ideal for birds.

Birds such as the blackcap and willow warbler can often be seen feeding and, among the array of butterflies to be found here, the grizzled and dingy skippers are particularly notable, as is the scarce rufous grasshopper, which may be spotted (and heard) on warm summer days.

Grass snake (photo: Jason Steel) Grass snake (photo: Jason Steel)

In addition, the restoration of four acres of chalk grassland and scrubland will extend the habitat available for species to flourish – iconic species such as the adder and grass snake, the red-listed yellowhammer, pyramidal orchids and the rare Kentish milkwort.

Visiting Polhill Bank

This delightful reserve can be found sandwiched between the villages of Halstead and Shoreham, not far from the M25. Its secluded location is some distance from the nearest lane, with the best place to park near the former Polhill Arms pub (TN14 7BG) on the A224.

From here, the reserve can be reached by walking over the railway footbridge and following the footpath to the right. Alternatively, you can walk from Sepham Farm (TN14 5JT), turn right up Filston Lane and turn left on to the footpath across fields to the reserve. The nearest railway stations are at Shoreham and Otford, some 30 minutes’ walk away.

There are kissing gates at the entrances to the site and visitors should be aware that some paths are uneven and steep in places, but your efforts are sure to be rewarded with the most splendid panoramic views.

Find out more

In 2018, why not help the Trust write the next chapter on the future of Polhill Bank, one of our oldest and most treasured nature reserves?

Please visit our website www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk for more information.

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