Looking forward to a bigger and better Hucking!
Earlier in the year, the Trust ran a fundraising appeal to purchase an extension to the Hucking Estate, near Maidstone. This was a great success and on 1st October the Trust took formal ownership of the new extension. Fantastically generous tree-lovers across the UK enabled us to snap up this new expanse, which will extend Hucking to a whopping 766 acres, making it our largest site in South East England.
Having been used for farming over many years, we can now start injecting new life into this rural oasis by allowing native trees to grow, creating wildlife corridors and fighting the effects of climate change. Ancient woodland will be restored back to former glory. Scrub and species-rich rare chalk grassland will be protected. Wildlife habitats will receive the urgent attention they deserve and provide long-term safe havens for species such as the grizzled skipper butterfly and rapidly declining numbers of marsh tit.
Hucking Estate is already a fantastic site in the stunning surroundings of the Kent Downs AONB, which this new extension will enhance:
- 19 threatened bird species have been recorded there, including turtle dove, skylark, yellowhammer and corn bunting.
- 25 species of butterfly including the marbled white which had been absent from Hucking for many years, the silver washed fritillary and the purple hairstreak.
- Bats such as Daubenton’s, brown long eared and natterer’s can be found in the ancient semi-natural woodland, using two old disused chalk pits to roost.
- It’s also one of the Trust’s top 10 bluebell sites!
Thanks to everyone who has helped make this acquisition a success, dating back from site manager Clive Steward’s initial meeting with the neighbouring seller in early 2017 through to it now being formally part of the WT estate. We’re looking forward to cracking on to start its transformation!
Words: Grace Davis, Engagement and Communications Officer (SE)