Bring nature back to Hucking Estate
We’ve been granted a very small window, until the end of May, to buy a 116 acre plot of pastureland adjoining the magnificent Hucking Estate and reclaim a corner of Kent’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
But we need your help to buy this land so that we can allow trees and shrubs to regenerate naturally, buffer existing ancient woodland and give wildlife species the chance to thrive.
Past, present and future
During the 20th century, new farming methods took their toll on the land near Hucking and large areas of ancient woodland, chalk grassland and hedgerows were damaged or destroyed.
In 1997, we bought what was then our largest woodland in England - the 573 acre Hucking Estate, near Maidstone. And since then we’ve worked hard to restore Hucking, planting 238,000 new native trees to buffer and protect the ancient woodland and managing the coppice woodland for the benefit of wildlife.
Today, Hucking is one of the Woodland Trust’s top 10 bluebell woods and has an incredible diversity of wildlife species. Ten birds listed on the Biodiversity Action Plan have been recorded here, including the bullfinch, hawfinch, lapwing, linnet, marsh tit and starling. 21 species of butterfly, including the marbled white, small heath and silver-washed fritillary, have all been spotted. Three species of bat, Daubenton’s, Natterer’s and brown longeared bats use the chalk pit shafts for winter hibernation too.
In 50 years, Hucking will be a truly resilient landscape against a backdrop of restored chalk grassland. Visitors will be able to enjoy its tranquil beauty, its diverse habitats and archaeological features and walk on through a shady, wooded landscape.
Access for everyone
A big slice of land coming up for sale next door to Hucking Estate will almost certainly never happen again. The owner has kindly given us time to raise the funds but we must buy this land before the end of May or it will be put back on the open market.
If you help us buy this land, we'll be able to tear down more than a mile of restrictive barbed wire fencing, providing new access and allowing visitors to roam and explore. Threatened species such as the linnet and small heath butterfly will have a new habitat. The flowers on the bank of the rare chalk grassland will bloom and spread in an historic area of England which faces relentless threats from development.