Cole Kitchen Down
Near Guildford, Surrey
This Surrey Wildlife Trust reserve consists of 6.6 acres (2.7HA) of chalk grassland with flowers including small scabious, fairy flax, yellow-wort common rock-rose and autumn gentian. There is also a good variety of butterflies including chalkhill blue, silver-spotted skipper and marbled white.
The reserve is just to the south of the North Downs Way above Gomshall. To arrange access please contact the Surrey Wildlife Trust Reserves Manager on 01483 488055. Nearest station Gomshall.
Ranmore Common, Denbies Hillside And White Downs
Near Dorking, Surrey
These sites form part of a group of properties owned by the National Trust near the Regency Villa of Polesden Lacey just north of Dorking. There are areas of ancient woodland in which may be found such plants as columbine and nettle-leafed bellflower. Butterflies include purple hairstreak and white admiral. The grassland areas hold many of the characteristic chalk downland species including man orchid, clustered bellflower and round-headed rampton. Butterflies include adonis blue and silver spotted skipper and there is a rare woodland moth here the straw belle.
The North Downs Way passes across part of Ranmore Common and White Downs. There is a car park at Ranmore Common. Nearest stations Dorking (two stations), Boxhill & West Humble.
Near Dorking, Surrey
The 954 acre (386 HA) site is owned by the National Trust and comprises a mixture of woodland and chalk grassland. The hill is named after the box trees which are native to the site and support a rare insect, the box shield but. The woodlands also include many yew trees as well as beeches and oaks and there is a good range of birds many orchids and other flowers occur in the grassland including horseshoe vetch, birds-foot trefoil , hairy violet and cowslip. Over two-thirds of the British butterfly species have been recorded at Box Hill . There is a visitor centre and refreshments are available.
The North Downs Way crosses the site. There are car parks near the visitor centre. Nearest stations Boxhill & West Humble and Dorking (two stations).
Near Sevenoaks, Kent
The nature reserve is owned by Kemsing Parish Council and managed by the Kent Trust For Nature Conservation and Sevenoaks District Council. The North Downs Way crosses the upper slopes of the reserve which consists of chalk grassland, woodland and scrub. The grassland is especially interesting with a rich flora including several species of orchids. Butterflies include chalkhill blue, and brown argus and elsewhere a range of woodland birds may be seen including hawthorn willow tit, kestrel and green woodpecker.
The North Downs Way crosses the site. There is very limited car parking on the Pilgrim's Way at Kemsing. Nearest station Kemsing orOtford.
Shoulder Of Mutton Wood
Near Rochester, Kent
Shoulder of Mutton Wood forms a distinctive feature at the start of the North Downs ridge south-west of Rochester, overlooking the Medway Valley. Although this small beech woodland has been badly storm damaged it still contains many features of interest including a bronze age burial mound. The woodland has been replanted predominantly with beech nut trees typical of chalk woodland are beginning to regenerate and include ash, birch, whitebeam, wayfaring tree and hawthorn. Ground flora includes wood rivers and privet and sanicle. The 5.36 acre site has been acquired by the Woodland Trust with assistance from Natural England and several local councils and is open to visitors for informal recreation.
The North Downs Way runs along the edge of the wood. Nearest station Rochester.
Burham Down And Blue Bell Hill
Near Maidstone, Kent
These two sites adjoin one another just west of the A229 north of Maidstone. Both contain areas of chalk downland with a characteristic variety of flowers including orchids, marjoram, common milkwort and dropwort. Burham Down which is managed by the Kent Trust on licence from Blue Circle Industries has extensive wooded areas which support many bird species including summer migrants such as chiffchaff, willow warbler, garden warbler and blackcap. Areas of scrub support populations of whitethroat and lesser whitethroat in the summer. Blue Bell Hill picnic site is owned by Kent County Council.
The North Downs Way crosses Blue Bell Hill Picnic Site where there is a car park. Nearest station Maidstone East or Maidstone Barracks. Bus services run via Blue Bell Hill from Maidstone to the Medway Towns.
Near Ashford, Kent
This large area includes the Wye Downs National Nature Reserve managed by Natural England. The chalk grassland is outstanding and includes the following species:- horseshoe vetch, cowslip, autumn gentian and rarities such as early spider orchid and Kentish milkwort. There is also a rich population of insects including Duke of Burgundy butterfly and several scarce or rare moths. In the woodlands ground vegetation includes bluebells and wood anemone and the breeding birds include hawfinch, nightingale and lesser-spotted woodpecker.
The North Downs Way crosses Wye Down. There is a car park on the Wye to Hastingleigh road adjoining the National Nature Reserve. Nearest station Wye.
Folkestone Warren And Abbott's Cliff
The North Downs Way reaches the Channel coast at Capel-Le-Ferne and runs above Folkestone Warren and along the clifftops. The cliff vegetation includes typical chalk plants as well as some unusual species such as wild cabbage, Nottingham catchfly, stinking iris and wood spurge. Early spider orchid may be found here and there and horseshoe vetch also occurs providing food for the caterpillars of the scarce adonis blue butterfly. Breeding birds on the cliffs include fulmar and one of tow Kent colonies of cliff-nesting house martins. Folkestone Warren a local nature reserve managed by the White Cliffs Countryside Project on behalf of Shepway District Council, holds populations of scarce invertebrates including the continental migrant sub-angled wave moth. It is the only British site for the fiery clearwing moth.
The North Downs Way runs along the clifftops and there are paths from there into the Warren. Cars may be parked at several places near Capel-Le-Ferne. Nearest station Folkestone.