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Ellie Graham
25th July 2023

All across Kent, the outdoors is calling, and we can’t wait to share how you can get involved this year in some of the best conservation work going on in the county. From wilding birds straight out of the history books and introducing European bison, to learning about the nature right on our doorstep, the Kent Wildlife Trust is bringing back to life the flora and fauna of the county to create a truly #WilderKent. The mission? To increase wildlife abundance across Kent’s beautiful land and sea. And how will they do it? By restoring the ecosystem, inspiring locals, and growing their knowledge of the wildlife here. 

Want to head on out to see and support all of this bountiful nature for yourself? Here are just some of the ways that the Trust is laying the grounds for you, family, and friends to re-discover the wonder of our wildlife. Earth-conscious, breath-taking, ground-breaking work? Without a doubt, it’s in Kent Wildlife Trust’s nature…

(c) Tom Gibbs

Wilder Blean

Remember we mentioned those European Bison? For the first time ever in UK conservation, the Kent Wildlife Trust has partnered with Wildwood Trust to introduce these magnificent creatures in the West Blean and Thornden Woods. Acting as “eco-system engineers”, as they graze, take dust-baths, eat bark, and fell trees, the bison are just one of the ways that biodiversity is being brought back to the area. Step aside humans, the bison are here to do some fantastic work.

Let’s put on our conservation hats and join the bison in creating an abundant landscape by sponsoring a bison bridge, allowing these wonderful creatures to venture across to 200 hectares of woods. Or what about going on a Wilder Kent Safari to get a glimpse of them in the place they and many other animals call home? But more on that later, now let’s look up to the skies and see what other work the Trust is doing…

Reintroducing Chough

Emerging from our history books and legends after four decades of chalk grassland restoration, our skies are once again dotted with the charming chough (pronounced chuff - and we’re pretty chuffed to be seeing them again!). Due to habitat loss, these beautiful birds have been absent in Kent for over 200 years – apart from on pub signs across the county and even on the Canterbury coat of arms! – so this is truly a momentous time to celebrate.

Hugely significant in Kent’s history, like their lesser-known part in the tale of Thomas Becket’s murder, it’s safe to say they’ll be warmly welcomed back to the county (like last year when four of the birds took up residency at Dover Castle's chough aviary), giving us a taste of what the people of time’s gone by would’ve seen when looking up to those beautiful blue skies.

(c) Tim Horton

Wilder Kent Safaris

For a true experience of the work that the Kent Wildlife Trust is doing, there’s no better option than their Wilder Kent Safaris. Whether you’ve always wondered about water buffalo, you’re mad about marshes, or are keen to get a better look at those bison from earlier, you’re in for an amazing day out at one of the Trust’s stunning nature reserves. Head off on your own adventure, joining a small group as you’re led by your expert guide through the Oare Marshes of Faversham, Bull Heath in Maidstone, Ham Fen Nature Reserve, and many, many more spots.

While we can’t recommend just one (we’re adding them all to our bucket list!), whichever you choose is sure to leave you awestruck and inspired. Wilding projects and crucial conservation are waiting to be discovered, so lace up those walking boots and get ready to learn about the exciting wildlife work taking place on your doorstep.

Nature Tots  

Now that we’re ready and raring to discover Kent’s bountiful wildlife, it’s time to inspire the next generation of mini-conversationists. Luckily, the Forest School is doing exactly that with Nature Tots – a “playground gone wild”, where kids can explore, investigate, and learn in the best way: right from nature. They’ll be raring to go as they head off on a school day like none other, crafting, creating, building, and growing, all giving them a real sense of achievement. Wherever you and the little ones find yourselves in the county, there’s a Nature Tots for you to get involved in.

(c) Ross Hoddinott

(c) Tim Horton

Tyland Barn is just one of the places offering the Nature Tots experience – here at the Trust’s flagship property, you’ll find a beautiful reserve and nature park, that plenty of wonderful wildlife call their home year-round. These range from bees and tadpoles to sky-soaring kestrels and even a pond platform (pond-dipping and water wildlife discovery, here we come!). A perfect backdrop to a day of learning, this spot on the edge of the Kent Downs National Landscape will leave you and the little ones inspired to learn more about how we can keep our natural landscapes and their inhabitants healthy and happy.

Have we got you in the mood for learning yet? Just down the road, the Nature Tots’ Forest School also takes place at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve, a restored former quarry home to over 2,000 species of wildlife! Spread across 74 hectares of land, with five lakes and plenty of stunning woodland, you’re set for an amazing day out, filled with plenty of interactive learning. Wander the grounds of the reserve, get to know the wildlife of the area, and stop off at the gift shops, grabbing a treat for yourself, safe in the knowledge that all your money will go back to the protection of the wildlife here.

(c) Tim Horton

Get involved!

So, there we go, a round up of just some of the wonderful work that’s going on at the Kent Wildlife Trust for you to see when you visit. To get even more involved and working towards a #WilderKent, why not do your bit for the planet and donate? Or get hands on and volunteer at one of the many nature reserves, learning about the flora and fauna right on your doorstep as you help protect it. Whether you want to gain new skills, use existing ones, meet new people, or spend time outside, this is the role for you. And if your diary’s always a little manic, show your support and become a member of the KWT, benefiting from early access and exclusive information about events, workshops, and more – now that’s an unmissable opportunity.

The county’s wildlife is calling, and Kent Wildlife Trust is here to answer, showing just how much it’s in their nature to inspire, conserve, build, and maintain this beautiful little corner of the world and all of its inhabitants.