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Walk: Hamstreet Woods, a natural haven

PUBLISHED: 10:56 30 August 2016 | UPDATED: 11:04 30 August 2016

Hamstreet Woods National Nature Reserve (Photo: Explore Kent)

Hamstreet Woods National Nature Reserve (Photo: Explore Kent)

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Hamstreet Woods is a wonderful walk for people seeking a peaceful woodland haven; it is easily accessible via public transport, yet sits in a quiet oasis of calm

Location: Hamstreet, TN26 2DX

Distance: 2 miles (3.22 km) Circular

Time: Allow 1 hour, 15 minutes

OS Explorer Map: 125

Terrain: Well-defined tracks

Public transport: For information about public transport to Hamstreet please visit www.kentconnected.org

Hamstreet Woods National Nature Reserve (Photo: Explore Kent)Hamstreet Woods National Nature Reserve (Photo: Explore Kent)

Parking: At the start of the walk or on the road

Refreshments & facilities: The Duke’s Head public house in the village and local shops are available for lighter refreshment.

This is a wonderful walk for people seeking a peaceful woodland haven; it is easily accessible via public transport, yet sits in a quiet oasis of calm. Make your way through the woods and see the beautiful Autumn splendour unfold before your eyes – the colourful array of leaves fluttering gently from the trees makes for the perfect Autumn walk.

Starting at Hamstreet station, this walk is perfectly situated for grabbing a morning coffee or tasty lunch at the Dukes Head after your walk. Hamstreet is also well worth exploring with plenty of interesting nooks and crannies to uncover.

Hamstreet Woods National Nature Reserve (Photo: Explore Kent)Hamstreet Woods National Nature Reserve (Photo: Explore Kent)

Hamstreet has an interesting recent history. In 1991, a series of postage stamps were produced which contained images of Hamstreet to celebrate 200 years of Ordnance Survey maps because Hamstreet was the first village to be mapped in this way. Countryfile dedicated a whole programme to celebrate the occasion with Hamstreet featuring in a Blue Peter mountaineering spoof to raise money for charity.

This walk comprises of well-marked tracks suitable for most abilities and there are no stiles which is great for those with canine companions.

Making your way around the walk

From the station, take the footpath to the entrance of Hamstreet Woods. Follow the path uphill through the nature reserve along the former coastline.

Natural England uses traditional woodland management methods, such as coppicing, to encourage wildlife to flourish. Wild service (chequer) trees can be found among the oak, silver birch and hornbeam. This type of woodland flourished after the Ice Age and once covered the whole of the Weald.

Nightingales are heard in spring and tawny owls in autumn. Other birds regularly seen include treecreeper, hawfinch and spotted flycatcher. A large number of rare invertebrates can be found, particularly near or on decaying wood, as well as being a great spot for seeking out moths and butterflies.

Turn south and join the Greensand Way for a short distance before following the route back towards Hamstreet village. The popular walking the Greensand Way starts here running 105 miles (169km) to Haslemere in Surrey, along a sandstone ridge through the Kent Downs AONB and the Surrey Hills. Take time to enjoy stunning views across the marshes and rich farmland to the Royal Military Canal and beyond.

Hamstreet has been described as the “gateway to Romney Marsh” and was one of the first sites in the country to be designated a National Nature Reserve.

Explore More

To find out about other walks in Kent and hundreds of ideas for days outdoors, visit the Explore Kent website www.explorekent.org. Follow @explorekent on Twitter and Facebook and share your experiences with us!

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