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More about Ashenbank Wood

Rare fungi and wildlife thrive in this Site of Specific Scientific Interest, which includes ancient woodland, former wood pasture and some great archaeological features.

Ashenbank Wood is a fantastic place to visit, with so much of interest on offer within the wood and the surrounding area. Its 29.95ha (74-acre) mix of ancient woodland and former wood pasture provides a range of habitats, closed canopy and open areas, veteran trees and notable wildlife species. The ancient woodland contains mainly broadleaf trees including ash, field maple, hornbeam, oak and sweet chestnut, and is known for its beautiful shows of bluebell and wood anemone during the spring.

Huge trees with girths up to six metres dominate the wood pasture which was once managed as parkland as part of the Cobham Hall estate. These open glades are once again maintained by grazing castle, providing a beautiful pastoral scene with lovely views.

The abundance of dead and decaying woods from the 1987 storm supports over 300 species of fungi and provides a home and food source for a range of specialist insects and invertebrates. Rare and threatened wildlife includes the great crested newt, dormouse and Leisler’s bat.

For visitors interested in exploring the wood’s history, there are a number of archaeological features on site including a Bronze Age barrow, a medieval wood bank and the remains of five World War II bunkers built by the RAF. Walkers are well catered for too with a well-developed network of permissive paths – including two waymarked trails – and links into the Darnley Trail (PDF, 2.4MB), connecting Ashenbank Wood with country parks and other woodlands within the area. 

Setting

Ashenbank Wood lies approximately half a mile north of Cobham and four miles due west from the centre of Rochester within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

It is bordered by Shorne Woods Country Park, Jeskyns Community Woodland, Cobham Park, and Ranscombe Farm. All of these sites and Ashenbank Wood are linked by The Darnley trail, a 10km circular multi-user route which takes in highlights of the area.

OS Explorer 148 and 163, Landranger 177 and 178, grid reference: TQ675692

Directions

By bus
Closest bus stop is at the War Memorial in Cobham, near the junction of The Street and Halfpence lane. This is approximately 0.8km (0.5 mile) north of Ashenbank Wood.

By train
The nearest train station is Sole Street which is on the London-Swanley-Rochester line. Sole Street station is approximately 3.75kms (two miles) from our car park along the public roads.

Further information about public transport is available from traveline – or phone 0871 200 2233.

By bike
There are no specific facilities for locking bikes to apart from to the rustic post and rail fence which surrounds the car park.

By car
Follow The Street eastwards out of Cobham and continue north along Halfpence Lane towards the A2. This is a surfaced country lane without any pavement and the route to Ashenbank Wood is reasonably flat. Along this route you will pass an orchard on your left, followed by Ashenbank Wood which is adjacent to Jeskyns Farm on the west side of Halfpence Lane.

A car park for up to 10 cars is just off Halfpence Lane and the main entrance to the wood is through the car park. There is a vehicle barrier across the car park entrance which is closed every evening at dusk or by 9.00pm, whichever is first, and is opened by 9.00am every morning.

Halfpence Lane is a busy route and it is not recommended to park on this road and walk into the wood if the car park is closed. Alternative parking can be found at Shorne Wood Country Park Visitor Centre just north of the A2.

Local amenities

Public conveniences
The nearest are in Shorne Wood Country Park Visitor Centre approximately 0.4km (0.25 mile) from Ashenbank Wood. Disabled access facilities can be found here and they're open daily, 9am until dusk (same hours as the park).

There are also toilets at Cobham Recreation Ground, Cobham village, approximately 0.8km (0.5 mile) by road. These are open from 8.30am – 6.30 pm daily.

Refreshments
There are a wide range of eateries in both Cobham and Rochester. For a comprehensive list of restaurants, please visit tripadvisor.

Accommodation and tourist information
The nearest Visitor Information Centre is located at 95 High Street, Wouldham, Rochester, Kent ME1 1LX. Tel: 01634 338141.

For information on places to stay, try Hotels UK or tripadvisor.

Entry into our woods is free but please donate now to help us care for them.