Trip reports

Reserve Visit: Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve

Long-tailed tit perched on branch

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve was the brainchild of Jeffrey Harrison and the visitor's centre still bears his name today. He took on the project of converting a vast area that was once a gravel pit into a nature reserve. This would have been around 1956.

The whole site was totally man made, with all the trees being manually planted and the lakes and ponds created by excavating and flooding former gravel pits using water from the River Darent. The vision of this one man to take a gravel pit and convert it to a wonderful nature reserve, the first of its kind in the UK, stands as a testament to the vision of this pioneer. I hope he is pleased when he looks down on to what he has achieved. The reserve is now designated as a SSSI.

Mild weather with only the odd light shower now and again did not in anyway affect our enjoyment of the place. We split into two groups with Sedley leading one and Neil the other. Neil compiled the following list of birds seen. Green and great spotted woodpecker, jay, pheasant, long tail tit (pictured), blue and great tit, reed bunting, dunnock, pied and grey wagtail, blackcap, chiffchaff, reed warbler, wren, blackbird, song and mistle thrush, goldfinch, robin, swallow, coot, moorhen, sand and house martin, Canada and greylag geese, mute swan, mallard, tufted duck, teal, great crested grebe, shelduck, lapwing, redshank, little ringed plover, cormorant, heron, wood pigeon, stock dove, jackdaw, crow, magpie, starling, chaffinch, herring and black headed gull, Egyptian geese and buzzard. The group also heard cuckoo and garden warbler.

At the end of the day as we sat in the picnic area with our various hot drinks and cakes and we had time to reflect on what a really enjoyable day we had in this quiet, calm and idyllic place right in the middle of a large town. Now managed by Kent Wildlife Trust, it is definitely worth a visit.

Bird Guides: Sedley Underdown and Neil Greenaway

SMB