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Hilbert Woods Local Nature Reserve
A haven for wildlife in the heart of town One of the lesser known charms of the Grosvenor and Hilbert Park is the Hilbert Woods Local Nature Reserve.
Officially designated as an LNR in 2000, the reserve forms the northern most point of the park, and includes over 5 hectares of ancient woodland, wildflower grassland, and iron-rich streams. The Kent High Weald Partnership manages the conservation interest of Hilbert Woods LNR on behalf of TWBC. Every year, KHWP organises and leads over 100 days of volunteer work on the reserve, helping to take care of its special habitats and important wildlife.
A key management activity that volunteers have helped to realise over the past decade is the re-introduction of coppicing to Roundabout Woods (with the boardwalk). Hazel trees are cut down to their base on a 6-year cycle. Poles (the larger, straighter growth) are then used as stakes for hedgelaying projects, whilst the brash (thin and leafy branches) are stacked and staked to make habitat piles. These piles create a useful new home for small mammals and invertebrates, and help to protect the growing coppice stools from browsing by the local urban deer population!
Hilbert Woods LNR is well worth a visit throughout the year. Surfaced paths lead into the woodland, with wooden boardwalks and steps helping to keep the wetter areas accessible to all. Veteran oak trees, tall alders and shimmering silver birch feature throughout the woods, and create a colourful backdrop to any nature exploration.
Further information, including a map of Hilbert Woods LNR, is available from the nature reserve pages of the Kent High Weald Partnership website www.khwp.org.uk
Jane Frostick - Countryside Officer (Greenspaces) KHWP
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