The estate at Ightham Mote
Discover the estate at Ightham Mote, lying within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The estate is an ancient landscape, with the farmland carved from the wood that once covered much of the Kentish Weald. Surrounding the house and garden, farmland occupies over two-thirds of the estate, with woodland making up around a third.
Winter on Ightham Mote estate
Winter brings an opportunity for estate walkers to spot those hardier UK birds, wildlife, trees and plants. It's a busy time for the Ightham Mote ranger team, who will be hard at work with their woodland tasks.
Whether you are visiting the garden or out and about across the estate, look out for robins, wrens, goldfinches, great spotted woodpeckers, nuthatches, blue tits, great tits, blackbirds and thrushes.
You'll find hardy grey squirrels in Scathes Wood and throughout the woodland areas; eagle-eyed visitors may also spot the resident albino grey squirrel.
Trees, plants and flowers
Even if winter temperatures plummet, you'll still be able to enjoy the yew trees, holly and mistletoe; the rare green hellebore also grows close to the path on the green walk.
For rangers and their volunteers, winter is one of the busiest times of the year – any woodland work must be completed before birds begin nesting in the trees on the estate in spring.
There's always plenty of coppicing and important tree safety work. Wherever possible, the coppiced wood from the estate is used for fencing, benches, edging steps and defining paths.
Whether you want to stroll around the estate on one of the waymarked routes, or you fancy a more substantial trek, there are some lovely walks that explore the surrounding Kent countryside.
A two-hour walk to Wilmot Hill takes in the periphery of a large part of the 580-acre estate. The walk incorporates Scathes Wood, the Greensand Way and Broadhoath Wood. Longer walks take you out to Old Soar Manor or Oldbury Hill on a three- to four-hour round trip.
The woodland is a very important part of the landscape here and is crucial to a diverse range of wildlife. There's always something to see in the woods, from wild flowers such as bluebells, campion and rosebay willowherb, to a variety of butterflies and birds. Spot trees like oak, sweet chestnut and beech, and keep an eye open for animals such as weasels, badgers and sika deer.
Wildlife at Ightham Mote
The estate is packed with wildlife of all shapes and sizes, from the tiny elusive dormouse to the majestic sika deer. Hedges have been planted to act as wildlife corridors, linking different areas of woodland to allow plants and animals to spread throughout the countryside.
Fallen trees are left to provide food and homes to insects, birds, mammals and fungi. See if you can spot footprints and droppings of badgers and deer, as well as the feeding signs of mice and voles.
The farm is a mix of arable fields, pastures, woodland and hedgerows. We’re working alongside a tenant farmer to ensure the farm remains a viable producer of food, while enhancing standards of conservation. Some field boundaries that were lost during the war are being reinstated to provide benefits to wildlife and increase the biodiversity on the site.
Ightham Mote is a one pawprint rated place. With so much space to explore your four-legged friend won’t be bored on a day out at Ightham Mote. Find out where they can go and what facilities are available on your visit.
Pop into the Mote Café for something warming at end of a walk. In the shop you can pick up a special gift, plant or homewares. Don’t forget to look in the second-hand bookshop.
Uncover the 700-year history of this fascinating medieval house and estate. Discover all about the owners that shaped it over the centuries, their connections and lifestyles.
Enjoy a picturesque circular walk from Ightham to Oldbury Hill, passing through an area of mixed woodland as well as fish ponds and an old quarry.
Plan a visit to one of the special countryside places in our care and discover the benefits of being in the great outdoors. Pack your walking boots and get ready to explore woodlands, valleys and rivers.
From ancient woodland to Iron Age hillforts, the countryside around Kent is ripe for exploring. Discover some of the best spots to get out into fresh air and back to nature.