Local Planning Authority: Medway

National Character Area(s): Greater Thames Estuary

OS grid ref: TQ 78682 77020

Postcode: ME3 8SR

What3words: ///lions.trading.trapdoor

Habitat units available

A total of 35.68 hedgerow units and 168.43 area units are available from the following habitat types:


Floodplain Wetland Mosaic - 16.74

Other neutral grassland - 133.71

Modified grassland - 2.11

Heathland and Shrub

Mixed scrub - 6.67


Wet woodland - 4.2

Other woodland; broadleaved - 1.68

Ponds and Lakes

Ponds (non-priority) - 2.0

Ponds (Priority) - 1.31


Total - 35.68

Line of trees - 0.11

Native hedgerows with trees - 0.74

Species-rich native hedgerow - 17.41

Species-rich native hedgerow associated with bank or ditch - 14.17

Species-rich native hedgerow with trees associated with bank or ditch - 3.25

Site description

Decoy Farm extends to some 55 ha and lies around 2 km north of High Halstow, Rochester and is located in arguably one of the most important areas for wildlife in Kent.

Nestled between internationally important wetlands and a nationally important woodland, the site is well placed to provide ecological connectivity and create new habitat for over 75,000 waterfowl that visit the area each year.

To the North and West, it is ensconced by a ~20 km network of wetland habitats that form the southern border of the Thames Estuary between Gravesend and Sheernesss. This area is subject to multiple statutory designations, owing to its internationally significant populations of wintering wildfowl, wetland plants, and invertebrates. These marshes perform important hydrological functions, including shoreline stablization, sediment trapping, flood water storage and desynchronization of flood peaks, and maintenance of water quality by removal of nutrients.

Meanwhile, to the South of the site lies a large ancient broadleaved woodland, Northward Hill (aka High Halstow National Nature Reserve). The woodland is home to a diverse flora of over 200 plant species, and hosts a wide range of invertebrates and breeding birds. More notably, it contains the largest heronry in England - known to host over 200 breeding pairs of grey herons!

Both the woodland and a network of floodplain grazing marshes that surround Decoy Farm fall within RSPB Northward Hill Nature Reserve.

At present, the site is managed as a fruit farm and contains 3.9 km of native hedgerow Priority Habitat. These hedges will be enhanced to be species-rich, and 1 km of additional species-rich hedgerows will be planted.

The North and West parts of the site will become coastal floodplain grazing marsh with a network of new ditches and ponds. This habitat will blend into surrounding wetlands, providing more opportunities for wintering birds such as avocet, ringed and grey plover, dunlin, knot, black-tailed godwit, and redshank that frequent the Thames Estuary area.

The South of the site will have trees planted to create new broadleaved woodland, helping to expand the adjacent ancient woodland. A scrubby border at the woodland edge will provide nesting and feeding habitat for a wide range of birds that use dense scrub for shelter while feeding in the adjacent fields of open grassland.

Habitat Transitions