Drover’s woods are managed for timber, which mostly goes as firewood, and for pheasant shooting. They contain some impressive old beech pollards.
Early purple orchids flower in Nightingale Wood and butcher's broom, a spiky, evergreen shrub which was once used to clean butcher's meat tables, is also found here.
A path leads through the woods, which are bathed in a special light only found within beech woods. There are areas of hazel and oak, and carpets of woodland anemones in spring.
Birds on the wing
The hedgerows provide cover and an abundance of berries for birds to feed on in the autumn, and the grassland insects offer up a veritable feast. It’s also a hot spot for kestrels and red kites, so keep an eye out on the sky as you enjoy the views.
Hat Hill is a very special area of chalk downland. The steep slope meant that it was never ploughed or cultivated allowing it to be grazed by deer and livestock. This means it has remained a wild and natural open area rich in flowers and insects, which is incredibly rare and valuable. This in turn is perfect for bees and butterflies, so you can find grasshoppers, blue butterflies, skippers and marbled whites in the height of summer.