Lying between the cathedral city of Canterbury and the towns of Faversham, Whitstable and Herne Bay, The Blean is one of the largest areas of ancient woodland in England – over 11 square miles.
The woods have been shaped by local people for over a thousand years. Today, our woodsmen and conservation teams continue to manage this unique landscape, rich in wildlife, that we enjoy today.
Visit The Blean and explore its heritage and wildlife….
The Big Blean Walk is a 25 mile circular walk through one of the largest and most distinctive areas of ancient woodland in England. The Walk, combined with 18 new interpretive panels, promotes The Blean to visitors and locals, inviting people to explore a world of history and nature.
The symbol for the Walk is the Heath Fritillary butterfly, one of Britain’s rarest and perhaps The Blean’s greatest conservation success story. Close to extinction in the late 1980s, the Heath Fritillary colonies in The Blean are now some of the country’s largest.
The walk can be done either starting from the west end – Selling Railway Station or the east end – East Blean Wood National Nature Reserve Car Park on Hicks Forstall Road near Hoath. Starting from Selling Railway Station the route goes through orchards to South Blean Woods, owned by Kent Wildlife Trust, where the route splits North and South. The South Route joins the North Downs Way and passes through No Man’s Orchard and touches Bigbury Camp before heading over the A2 to Willows Wood and the RSPB managed Blean Woods National Nature Reserve. It then follows the Sarre Penn stream, locally known as the Fishbourne stream, before heading through Tyler Hill and Great Hall Wood to Cole Wood and then to KWT’s West Blean Wood and eventually to East Blean Wood.
The North Route goes from Court Wood to Forester’s Lodge Farm before heading over the A2 to Dunkirk. The Walk passes through the RSPB National Nature Reserve and up to the Woodland Trust’s recently planted Victory Wood with fantastic views over the Swale Estuary. It then follows Denstroude Brook to the Forestry Commission Clowes Wood. After Clowes it goes through West Blean and Thornden Woods, owned by KWT, and finally KWT’s East Blean Wood National Nature Reserve.
The eighteen interpretive panels have been installed outside pubs and other gathering places including a village hall and a garden centre. Each panel tells a different story about The Blean. Topics include ‘The Battle of Bossenden’ 1838, the last armed uprising on English soil; ‘The Wood Ant’; ‘Butterflies of the Blean’; ‘Trees of the Blean’. The panels were part funded by a grant from Viridor Credits. Click on the thumbnails below to view all eighteen panels: