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Wildlife, trees and plants at Marden Park

The site supports 25 species of butterfly, including the marbled white, purple emperor, white admiral, small blue, silver spotted skipper and Camberwell beauty, as well as the striped wing grasshopper. If you visit in the evening or on a damp day, you may come across the Roman snail, an edible snail with a shell that can measure 5cm in diameter.

Birdlife includes tawny owl, woodpecker and redkite, and the woods are also home to roe and fallow deer, and badger. Sheep and goats graze the grassland to keep scrub in check and maintain the biodiversity of the chalkland habitat.

Trees and Plants

The site has a diverse range of tree species, including beech, whitebeam, yew, field maple, lime, hornbeam, ash, oak, horse chestnut, wayfaring tree, sycamore and hazel. The shrub layer comprises elder, dogwood, hawthorn, blackthorn, wild cherry and field maple.

Ancient semi-natural woodland covers 16.2 hectares of the site, which includes all of Great Church Wood. There are also large expanses of secondary woodland at various stages of development, and three areas of recently restored chalk grassland totalling two hectares.

In the older parts of the wood, the ground flora is typical of ancient woodland and contains bluebell, dog's mercury, foxglove and wild garlic. Where the canopy is more open, you will find an abundance of bracken, bramble and wild clematis and an extensive cover of moss.

The grass clearings contain several types of wild orchid, including common spotted, bee, butterfly and twayblade, as well as wild marjoram, field scabious, knapweed, dwarf thistle, lady’s bedstraw, bird’s-foot trefoil, fairy flax and milkwort.