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The estate at Ightham Mote

Sunset across snowy fields at Ightham Mote with a large tree in the foreground
Sunset on a snowy day | © National Trust Images/Rob Stothard

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.

Ranger activity

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.

A rare albino grey squirrel at Ightham Mote, Kent, with paws gripping a branch and leaves in the background
A rare albino grey squirrel at Ightham Mote, Kent | © National Trust / Andy Goodwin

Walking routes

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

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.

Oasthouses at Ightham Mote with a snowy field in front of them
Ightham Mote's oasthouses in the snow | © National Trust Images/Rob Stothard

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.

Mote Farm

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.

Visitors at Ightham Mote, Kent

Discover more at Ightham Mote

Find out when Ightham Mote is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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