Local Planning Authority: Ashford District

National Character Area(s): Low Weald

OS grid ref: TQ 90413 36265

Postcode: TN26 3JE

What3words: strumming.orbited.liner

Habitat units available

A prospective feasibility study indicates that a total of ~25 habitat units are available from the following habitat types:


Lowland meadows (High distinctiveness) - 11.9 units


Lowland mixed deciduous woodland (High distinctiveness) - 13.3 units

Site description

Whippletree Farm and Pond Wood extends to some 16.8 ha and is located around 3 km northeast of Tenterden, just south of the village of High Halden.

It contains a large amount of ancient semi-natural woodland which forms a large part of the Local Wildlife Site AS04 Knock Wood, Tenterden, a large mosaic of ancient high weald woodland with many old layered woodbanks, containing up to 44 ancient woodland indicator plants.

True to its name, Pond Wood contains 8 ponds, including 5 ancient iron ponds. One of the ponds is a regionally rare "black water" dystrophic pond with floating islands of sphagnum moss. This highly specialised habitat has potential to support rare acid-loving species such as bladderworts, White Water Lily, Bog Pondweed, Bogbean, White or Brown Beak-sedge, Least Bur-reed, and Bulbous Rush.

Harbourne stream runs along the north-easterly edge of the land, creating damp conditions ideal for ferns and other shade and moisture-loving woodland species.

Four reptile species (common lizard, slow worm, grass snake, and adder) and five amphibians including the rare great crested newt have been recorded on site.

Historically, the 13 hectares of woodland were actively managed as a coppice with standards system.  Hornbeam predominates as the coppice structure with an overstorey of oak standards, which once supplied local markets with charcoal and timber.

The past neglect of the woodland has resulted in a reduction in the range of associated species.  Hence, the continued re-introduction of active management will promote colonisation by species such as herb paris, moschatel and orchids, whilst also encouraging bird species that favour coppice woodland like nightingale, sparrowhawk, and nuthatch. Rare mammal species like the dormouse, which favour hazel underwood with canopy trees, may also colonise the site.

The owner runs a sustainable woodland management business and is an expert in designing and enhancing woodlands for the benefit of biodiversity, using low-carbon method of horse-drawn equipment to undertake management. They have managed the site since 1998, enhancing it from rank pasture and unmanaged woodland to semi-improved pasture with much of the woodland now under good management.

Now they are hoping to further develop the site to create a rich mosaic of habitats that support a wider array of wildlife.

We hope to convert the semi-improved pasture into wildflower-rich lowland meadow, a rare priority habitat that has declined by more than 97% since the 1950s. New scrubby transitions between the grassland and the woodland edge will provide ample feeding and nesting opportunity for a range of species, particularly the reptiles and amphibians that use the numerous ponds, as well as scrub-loving birds such as bullfinch and nightingale.

We will also support the landowner in enhancing the woodland's eponymous ponds to better support its amphibian, invertebrate and plant communities.

Note that current habitat maps at this stage are based on preliminary desktop assessment using digitally mapped data. As such, the habitat transitions and number of units available are subject to change once we survey the habitats on the ground.

Habitat Transitions