Size:

103.84 ha (256.59 acres)

Grid reference:

TQ986511

Map reference:

Explorer NULL

OS Landranger NULL

Longbeech North is nestled in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Since its purchase in 2016, the Trust has started to restore this ancient woodland site – currently dominated by conifer – to its former glory.

After an outbreak of tree disease in 2012, areas of the site were clear-felled and the regeneration of this ancient woodland is wonderful to behold. Visit Longbeech North regularly and see it transform into a haven for wildlife.

Features

  • Parking at site
  • Public access
  • Spring flowers
  • Waymarked walk

How to get to Longbeech North

The 104-hectare (257-acre) site lies just north-west of the village of Challock in Kent’s North Downs. It is 3.2km (2 miles) from Charing, 11km (7 miles) from Faversham and 10km (6 miles) from Ashford.

From the M20 junction 8, take the A20 to Charing. From Charing, take the A252 for Canterbury and at the top of Charing Hill, turn left towards Throwley Forstal. After 1.5km (1 mile), turn right into Monkery Lane. The entrance to the wood is around 230 metres (210 yards) on the left.

The closest train station is at Charing, about 4km (2.5 miles) from Longbeech North.

Visit National Rail for more information.

There is a limited bus service from Charing to Ashford.

Visit Traveline for more information.

Facilities and access

The wood is accessed from Monkery Lane on the southern boundary. There is a network of forest tracks and rides including a public right of way which crosses through in the north east of the site.

There is a car park at the entrance to the wood, with space for five cars.

The nearest public toilet is at Charing railway station, but there are no baby changing or disabled facilities. The closest RADAR-accessible toilets are in Ashford and Faversham.

Wildlife and habitats

Animals

Fallow deer roam Longbeech North, and during the summer months, tree pipits and willow warblers sing their hearts out from high branches. During your visit, look out for one of our tiniest birds, the flame-headed firecrest, foraging for insects among the mature trees – they’re often easiest to spot in autumn and winter.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

Longbeech North mainly consists of a mix of mature and semi-mature Douglas fir and semi-mature Norway spruce, with some areas of Japanese larch and Corsican pine. There is also a significant area of chestnut coppice in the centre and east of the site.

Look out for:

Habitats

Although Longbeech North is classed as ancient woodland, very few fragments of the original ancient woodland remain. Historically, it was oak woodland with hornbeam and hazel which was converted to sweet chestnut coppice sometime in the 18th or 19th centuries. Then, in the 1950s, two thirds of the site was planted with non-native conifers, leading to the wood’s designation as a planted ancient woodland site (PAWS).

Explore:

History of Longbeech North

In the 17th century, Longbeech North was a part of the lands belonging to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and 18th-century maps show the wood to have been much larger. It also once belonged to the estate of Pett Place, a manor in the nearby village of Charing, but was sold off in several lots at auction in 1920.

In 2012, phytophthora ramorum disease spread among some of the areas of larch at Longbeech North and around 28 hectares (70 acres) were clear-felled under a Plant Health Notice. The Woodland Trust purchased the site in 2016 and is now gradually thinning the conifers to open out the canopy and increase the light levels. This will allow native broadleaf trees to regenerate and re-establish the diverse character of this former ancient woodland.

An archaeological survey and report of Longbeech North by Dr Nicola Bannister was completed in 2018. There are a number of archaeological features that have survived among the plantation crops, including an early medieval boundary bank thought to be 1000 years old, old trackway and a number of hollows which may have been used as sawpits.

Early purple orchids

A lasting legacy

This wood is just one of many to have been protected by gifts in wills, securing it for generations to come. Your legacy gift could also make a real difference to woods, trees and wildlife.

Learn what your gift could mean

Things to do in Longbeech North

Longbeech North - Management plan

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Longbeech North Management Plan

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