Places to see birds

Tudeley Woods (COVID-19: please check the reserve website for restrictions before visiting).

Tudeley Woods (COVID-19: please check the reserve website for restrictions before visiting).

The RSPB Tudeley Woods reserve is an intricate mix of ancient woodland, heathland and pasture, being the largest area of semi-natural ancient woodland in southeast England. The reserve supports several rare bird species including woodlarks, nightjars, willow tits and all three species of British woodpeckers. Other birds include tree pipit, nuthatch, tree creeper, Dartford warbler, blackcap and chiffchaff as well as sparrowhawk and kestrel. Tudeley Woods also supports many species of fungi and several orchids as well as wood ants, tiger beetles and dragonflies.

Spring is one of the best times on the reserve, when carpets of bluebells and primroses appear in the woods. This is also the best time to see the increasingly rare and elusive lesser spotted woodpecker. On the heath areas the heather blooms in August and there are Highland cattle and a flock of Hebridean sheep that graze this area of the reserve. During autumn, reserve residents are joined by wintering siskins and lesser redpolls as well as redwing and fieldfare on the woodland edges and heaths. In winter mistle thrush sing and kestrel and sparrowhawk hunt whilst crossbill can be spotted in the conifers on the heath.

Management includes the restoration of lowland heath by the removal of conifers and annual coppicing to create open sunny conditions for insects and butterflies to thrive. These include the silver-washed fritillary and white admiral butterflies. In addition, charcoal is made at Tudeley Woods and sold to local outlets, which helps viable coppice management.

There are three trails through the woods and heathland with the longest being 3 miles and the shortest mile. Paths can be muddy after rain so bring waterproof footwear.

Tudeley Woods is 2 miles southeast of Tonbridge off Half Moon Lane, a minor road to the village of Capel from the A21, and is open from 9 am until 6 pm or dusk if earlier. There is a small car park but please note the car park gate will be locked outside these hours. There is an information board including reserve leaflets and a 'what's about' notice but no other facilities. Entrance is free but donations are welcome.

Please note - Dogs are only allowed on public footpaths and bridleways.

Please contact 01273 775333 for more details.

Grid reference: TQ617433