Size:

140.40 ha (346.93 acres)

Grid reference:

TR093619

Map reference:

Explorer 150

OS Landranger 179

Enjoy a taste of history at Victory Wood which was planted between 2005 and 2008 to mark the 200th anniversary of Britain’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. Various features relating to the battle have been created, such as sculptures and groves representing each ship in the British fleet.

Take in breathtaking views across the Kent coastline and nearby Blean Woods. There are open habitats too, along with two areas of ancient woodland, all surrounded by an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), with some of the most scenic and diverse examples of natural woodland in south-east England.

Features

  • Parking at site
  • Public access
  • Grassland
  • Broadleaved woodland

How to get to Victory Wood

Victory Wood is a 140-hectare (350-acre) site on the western edge of one of the largest areas of continuous ancient woodland in South East England. Known as the Blean complex, it arches over the north of Canterbury and covers an area of 28.5 square kilometres (11 square miles).

The site is centred between the villages of Dargate and Yorkletts, some 7.8km (3 miles) north of Canterbury, and lies in the North Kent Plain Natural Area to the north of the North Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and south of the Thames Estuary.

Victory Wood is located south of the A299 in Kent, close to Canterbury and Whitstable.

From the A299, take the exit signposted ‘Yorkletts, Dargate, Waterham’ beside the service stations (on either side of the road), into Highstreet Road. Follow Highstreet Road for approximately 300 metres until there is a sharp bend. At the bend, turn right, following the sign for Victory Wood (and Lamberhurst Farm). Continue for approximately 100 metres and our car park entrance is on the left-hand side under a height restriction barrier.

The nearest train station is in Whitstable on the London–Faversham-Margate line. Whitstable Station is 4.8km (3 miles) from the car park.

Visit National Rail for more information.

The nearest bus stop is on Barn Close in Yorkletts. There are connections from here to Whitstable town centre (Saddleton Road) and to Dargate village beside the Dove Inn.

Visit Traveline for more information.

Facilities and access

There are four entrances to Victory Wood.
The main entrance is via an all-access kissing gate (suitable for pushchairs) from the Woodland Trust car park, off Dargate Road. A surfaced path has been constructed for wheelchairs and pushchairs to allow access to the Victory footprint from the car park.

The second entrance lies on the northern boundary, off Dargate Road, through an all access kissing gate.

The third entrance is towards the south-west of Victory Wood, just off Dargate Road, via a pedestrian squeeze gap. This entrance has no car parking.

The fourth entrance is at the south-east corner of Victory Wood, off Denstroude Lane. Access is via an all-access kissing gate. Parking is not permitted on the track leading up to the gateway.

All the paths have unmodified grass and earth surfaces which can get slippery and muddy when wet, particularly in the winter. In addition, there are some steep slopes at the southern end of Victory Wood, so caution is advised when attempting to negotiate this area of the wood.

There is a free car park at the entrance to the site, immediately after passing under the height restriction barrier. It has space for 15 cars.

Local toilet and baby changing facilities can be found at the service area on the A299, at the exit signposted ‘Yorkletts, Dargate, Waterham’, around 0.4km (0.25 miles) by road from our car park off Dargate Road. Disabled access facilities can also be found here, which are open daily.

Wildlife and habitats

Animals

Victory Wood connects two ancient woodlands, providing an important woodland buffer and extension for local wildlife.

Look out for:

Trees, plants and fungi

The planted woodland now links the ancient Blean Wood and Ellenden Wood once again, a connection that was broken when the ancient woodland between the two was cut down in a piecemeal way and converted to agriculture in the early to mid-20th century.

Areas of wild flowers were also sown in the open parts of the site, and these are gradually spreading out into the general grassland habitat surrounding them to become a beautiful, natural display in late spring and early summer.

Look out for:

Habitats

Our work here has reversed the fragmentation of ancient woodland on the site and, with conservation management and the creation of woodland and non-woodland habitats, now provides good diversity for wildlife.

Explore:

About Victory Wood

History 

We, together with a number of partner organisations, commemorated the Battle of Trafalgar and highlighted the role trees played in it by creating 33 new woods across the UK in 2005. Each bore the name and become a symbol of the English ships which battled against French and Spanish adversaries on 21 October 1805. As the flagship of Nelson’s fleet was HMS Victory, it was fitting to name the project’s flagship site Victory Wood.

Hundreds of people had been part of this momentous battle in which Admiral Lord Nelson lost his life serving on HMS Victory, but trees were also heroes of the battle. Tens of thousands of them, mostly oak, were felled to construct the ships used in Nelson’s fleet.

Cold war bunker

This wood was one of 1,563 underground posts built during the Cold War to report nuclear explosions and monitor radioactive fallout in order to give the public the best chance of survival. This bunker was opened in 1966 and decommissioned with all its contents removed in 1976.

Download the Victory Wood leaflet.

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 Victory Wood

Walking and horse riding

A multi-user path allows horse riders, pedestrians and off-road push bikes to cross Victory Wood on a designated route from the car park entrance to the entrance off Denstroude Lane in the south-east. This route is open all year round but restricts horses to the spring and summer months only.

Part of the Big Blean Walk passes through Victory Wood along the ridge, and walkers are welcome to use the path network provided to gain access to the rest of the Blean complex beyond – 28.5 square kilometres (11 square miles) of predominantly ancient woodland arching over the north of Canterbury.

Victory Wood - Management plan

Download

Victory Wood Management Plan

PDF  (153 KB)