Local Planning Authority: Ashford

National Character Areas: Wealden Greensand; Low Weald

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OS grid ref: TQ 95176 43788

BNG units available



Heathland and Shrub






Site description

Bockhanger Farm is a 120 hectare site located approximately 5 km west of Ashford, between the villages of Hothfield and Pluckley.

The northernmost part of the site is directly adjacent to Hothfield Heathland - a Kent Wildlife Trust nature reserve which contains the Hothfield Common Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and the southernmost land parcel is adjacent to Hoad's Wood SSSI. There are 25 patches of Ancient and semi-natural woodland within a 1 km radius of the site, two of which are located within the site itself.

Current habitats on the site include cereal cropland, modified grassland, other neutral grassland, and lowland mixed deciduous woodland. In addition, the site contains 5.24 km of native hedgerows.

Mixed scrub, other woodland; broadleaved, and native hedgerows will be created by a mixture of planting and natural regeneration. Large areas of scrub have been designed to provide suitable nesting habitat for nightingales. The UK population of this iconic songbird species has declined by more than 90% in the last 50 years, and Kent is thought to be home to more than a quarter of the country's remaining breeding pairs. Bockhanger Farm is working with the wider Upper Beult farmer cluster to help re-establish nightingale populations in the area.

Other habitats on site will be enhanced to a better condition through sensitive management practises, with modified grassland being enhanced to other neutral grassland. These changes will benefit a range of local conservation priorities such as water vole habitats in restored areas close to water courses, improved lowland flowering plant communities in uplifted grassland areas, and improved invertebrate diversity in scrub/grassland mosaics.

Wider environmental benefits will include improved water quality, reduced flow rates across the catchment, and associated enhanced flood resilience.

Habitat Transitions