Local Planning Authority: Ashford

National Character Area(s): Romney Marshes

Postcode: TN30 7NU

Habitat units available

A total of 22.22 units are available from the following area and linear habitat types:


13.12 - Other neutral grassland (Medium Distinctiveness)

0.59 - Modified grassland (Low Distinctiveness)

Heathland and Shrub

7.87 - Mixed scrub (Medium Distinctiveness)


0.63 - Other woodland; Broadleaved (Medium Distinctiveness)

Site description

Blackbarn Fields is located just north of the village of Wittersham, around 6 miles south of Tenterden and 8 miles northwest of Rye. It falls within the High Weald National Landscape (Formerly known as Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), and the wider area is made up of small villages, woodland, arable fields, grassland and the River Rother.

Three Ancient Semi-Natural Woodlands (ASNW) lie within a 1km radius of the site. One of which, Comb Wood, lies directly adjacent to the site. Comb Wood is part of a Local Wildlife Site designated for its high quality ancient woodland habitat with a rich and diverse ground flora.

The site has previously been intensively grazed as an agriculturally 'improved' livestock pasture. However, Kent Wildlife Trust plan to restore natural processes to the site to improve its value to wildlife and buffer the adjacent woodland habitat.

Much of the grassland will be restored by reducing grazing pressure and fertiliser use to encourage a diverse wildflower community to develop. An existing line of trees that divides the site will be developed into a strip of woodland that is connected to the neighbouring Comb Wood. In addition, the parts of the field adjacent to Comb Wood and the new woodland will be allowed to scrub over. Scrubby transitions between woodland edge and grasslands are very important habitats for a range of bird species, including nightingale, lesser whitethroat, bullfinch, turtle dove, and willow warblers. These species often rely on the safe cover of dense scrub for nesting, while using open grasslands for foraging or performing courtship displays.

Ponds and scrub on the site will provide habitat for breeding invertebrates, which in turn are a food source for birds and bat species.

All habitat works on this site will be undertaken via natural regeneration wherever possible, though planting with native species may be used to supplement this if necessary.

Note that this site is not going to be a public access nature reserve. Minimising disturbance from humans and dogs will give the best chance for natural regeneration to be successful and will encourage more wildlife to make its home in the area.

Habitat Transitions

Current habitats

Proposed habitats