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Wildlife. Eden Valley Kent

The tranquil countryside of the Eden Valley is home to a wide variety of British wildlife. The differing landscapes of the high weald, low weald and greensand hills provide a wealth of habitats for many species, some of them rare or endangered.

The human environment of the valley also encourages and sustains wildlife, with many barns and oasts being home to little owls, kestrels, wrens and swallows, and pipistrelle and long-eared bats frequently roost.
The River Eden would once have supported good populations of both otters and water voles. In recent years, however, both species have become increasingly rare. Otters, at least, have made a minor comeback and now appear occasionally.

Common small mammals, such as mice, voles and shrews, flourish in the low intensity, mixed farmland, especially where hedgerows or woodland border grassland. Bats, especially the diminutive pipistrelles, find good feeding grounds in the matrix of wood, pasture and wetland, which also support hedgehogs, foxes and badgers.
Visitors to the woodlands in spring can enjoy carpets of bluebells and wood anemones. Woodland butterflies, including the purple emperor, wood white, white admiral and three fritillary species, are also numerous.

Whilst in the woodlands look out for an uncommon tree called wild service or chequer. It has twin stems, darker bark than those surrounding it and leaves of a characteristic shape.

Also look out for the numerous dragonflies and damselflies that frequent the area’s ponds, lakes and streams.
Kent Wildlife Trust manages the Bough Beech Nature Reserve – a 45-hectare site of Nature Conservation Interest – which is a mix of open water, marshy grassland, willow scrub, ancient woodland, hedgerow and even a medieval orchard.

The reserve is notable for its diverse bird life, with around 150 species regularly recorded. Great crested grebe and mandarin duck breed annually and in autumn and winter, when wildfowl are more numerous, green sandpiper, redshank and greenshank may be seen; there is even the occasional kingfisher to be spotted.

It is also an important staging post during the spring and summer migrations, with frequent appearances by ospreys. For more information, click here

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