Size: 347 acres (140 ha)
Near: Whitstable, Kent
Overlooking the Medway and the sea, Victory Wood, three miles from Whitstable was purchased in 2004 and chosen to be ‘flagship’ of 27 new ‘Trafalgar Woods’, one for each ship in Nelson’s fleet. Trees mark out the footprint of HMS Victory, and there’s a line of oaks taking the positions of Nelson’s arch enemy, the Franco-Spanish fleet.
After the Second World War this land was cleared for agriculture leaving only a small patch of ancient woodland. A successful £2.25 million appeal enabled Sea Cadets to plant the first new trees here on the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar in October 2005. Now, those young trees join up areas of ancient woodland and extend wildlife habitats.
Two of the three entrances have wide kissing gates; from the car park on Dargate Road, where there are also bus stops close by, and off Denstroude Lane. There’s a good network of paths although some are steep and can get slippery, and some areas have grazing animals.
A series of dramatic sculptures and the living interpretation of the Battle of Trafalgar attract and inspire visitors, including school children, who have recently helped plant more trees here as part of the Trust’s Tree For All campaign. Gifts in wills made a substantial contribution to this fantastic site.