Tudeley Woods RSPB Reserve
The imposing Tudeley Woods Reserve contains one of the largest areas of semi-natural ancient woodland in South East England.
The reserve is a complex blend of woodland, heathland and pasture, supporting a number of rare bird species including woodlarks, nightjars, lesser spotted woodpeckers and willow tits. Tudeley Woods maintains a thousand species of fungi, and several orchids including greater butterfly orchids and violet helleborines. In the spring, there are carpets of bluebells and primroses creating a striking environment, while up on the heath the heather blooms in August. The area has been to a great extent modified by a history of coppicing, plantings and the effects of the Wealden iron industry.
Walkers can take pleasure in around 9 km of local walks through award-winning woodland and restored heathland. Visitors will also be able to observe the Highland cattle and the Hebridean sheep that now graze on the reserve, prohibiting the growth of young trees and shrubs and maintaining the open character of the heath. These rare breeds are hardy and flourish on the open heathland.
Tudeley Woods Reserve is managed by the RSPB.
9 am until 6 pm or dusk if earlier.
The car park is open 9 am until 6 pm (or dusk if earlier) at weekends only.
Free, but donations are welcome.
Walking allowed; Parking; Public transport; Visitor guide available.
From the A21 north of Pembury, turn right straight away after Fairthorne Garage to access Half Moon Lane - car park a quarter mile down lane, on left.
The nearest train stations are Tonbridge or Tunbridge Wells (both 3 miles).
Spring has seen a flurry of activity at RSPB’s Tudeley Woods nature reserve, with numerous records of nationally important butterflies and moths flying in the woodland.
Through careful management of the site, the ideal conditions have been created bringing great results. Three new species have been recorded in just three weeks: the Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper and a moth, the Sloe Carpet, which as its name suggests feeds on Blackthorn.
Add to this is the successful re-emergence of Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterflies and Tudeley is looking like becoming a haven for these and many other beautiful insects.
Steve Wheatley, RSPB site manager, said: “We’re really excited that the work we’ve carried out seems to have been a success. The success of the Pearl-bordered Fritillary builds on the numbers we saw last year and we hope the population will continue to grow.”
This is the second generation of Pearl-bordered Fritillaries to emerge after reintroductions were carried out in 2009. Another 20 adults were released in a separate area of the reserve this spring and both areas will be closely monitored.
Creating the habitat to successfully re-introduce the Pearl-bordered Fritillary has been funded by Ibstock Cory Environmental Trust (ICET).
Angela Haymonds, the Trust’s Secretary, is delighted with the increased numbers of butterflies this year: “ICET recognised that the benefits of funding this important project would not be seen immediately.
“In just two years the skillful management of the habitat has increased the biodiversity of the area and is securing a future for this important species. I hope many people visit Tudeley Woods nature reserve to enjoy all of the wildlife it benefits.”
The decline of this once common species, especially in the South East, has been put down to the loss of sunny, open clearings, caused by the general decline of woodland management over recent years.
A combination of coppicing and opening up a network of sunny paths and rides through the reserve is important to maintain the ideal breeding habitat.
At Tudeley Woods, the RSPB has worked hard to create habitat that allows plants used for food and nectar sources by the fritillaries to thrive, such as Dog-violet, Bugle, and Bird’s-foot Trefoil.
All of this work benefits not just the butterflies, but a host of other wildlife, and for people visiting the reserve, the wide open paths make it easier to walk through the woodlands and enjoy all the wildlife that can be seen.
As we move into summer, other butterflies will start emerging, like the Silver-washed Fritillary, White Admiral, Purple Hairstreak and Common Blue, along with wildlife such as Nightjars and Common Lizards.
Steve added: “This shows how our nature reserves provide places not just for birds, but all sorts of wildlife and, of course, the people who come here to enjoy it.”
The reserve car park is open Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays with RSPB staff and volunteers present to direct visitors onto an appropriate and enjoyable route.
Disclaimer: The information on this leisure attraction was presented with the best of intentions. Any reported errors will be corrected immediately. People interested in contacting the above leisure attraction should confirm for themselves the accuracy of any data presented.
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015