Mid Kent Downs Countryside Partnership

Landscape and wildlife

Landscape and wildlife in the Mid Kent Downs

Clearly everywhere has character and everywhere has some potential for wildlife, so what’s special about the Mid Kent Downs and its wildlife habitats?

As the central part of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Mid Kent Downs is a nationally protected landscape, given the same protection as a National Park. Its beautiful rolling chalk hills are typical of Kent and form a vital part of the scenery in the centre of the County. Edged by the M20 and M2 motorways, and adjacent to conurbations including Maidstone, Chatham and Faversham, this is an active and busy piece of the countryside vitally important both for people and for wildlife.

Landscape Character Areas

Landscape Character is a way of describing an area of the landscape and its components, for example, in this case rolling downland characterised by open arable fields, ancient hedgerows and woodlands. In the official Landscape Character Assessment the Mid Kent Downs Countryside Partnership area is split into two main Landscape Character Areas known as the Mid Kent Downs and the Hollingbourne Vale. Together they form the typical steep scarp slope (Hollingbourne Vale) and shallower rolling dipslope (Mid Kent Downs) of the AONB. Further information on these Landscape Character Areas and their appropriate management can be found in the Kent Downs Land Manager’s Pack.

Landscape character area 1

Areas of specific interest and character of their own with the area include ‘Perry Hill’ mounts of gravel and sand unexpectedly rising from the dipslope, much more similar to the nearby Blean complex; and the ‘Faversham Fruit Belt’, a much more horticultural landscape than much of the rest of the Mid Kent Downs, characterised by busy pattern of orchards, hop-gardens and shelter belts.

Landscape character areas 2

Landscacape Character Area map

Designated Sites

Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs)

SSSIs are areas considered to be those of the highest value for wildlife and geological interest.

There are four SSSIs in the Mid Kent Downs.

sssis

All of these sites are important chalk grassland habitats with an impressive array of wildflower species; in turn supporting many insects, birds, mammals and reptiles.

chalk grassland

Part of the Wouldham to Detling Escarpment is also designated as a Special Area of Conservation of European significance.

Sites of Special Scientific Interest map

Local Wildlife Sites (LWSs)

LWSs are a second tier of sites important for their wildlife and geological interest, contributing significantly to biodiversity throughout the countryside. There are also numerous Local Wildlife Sites in the Mid Kent Downs, ranging from churchyards and orchards, to ancient woodland and areas of grassland.

local wildlife sites

Local Wildlife Sites map

Some special things to see in the Mid Kent Downs . . . Ground pine, Perry Wood heather, lady orchid, adder, great crested newt, lemon slug (Malacolimax tenellus), buzzards, crossbills, hawfinches, box trees at Boxley.

The Mid Kent Downs Countryside Partnership