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The estate at Ightham Mote

Scathes Wood in Spring Paul Simons
Scathes Wood in Spring | © Paul Simons

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.

Spring on the Ightham Mote Estate

Spring is the time to see wildflowers, wildlife and birds blossom at Ightham Mote. Our estate walks offer beautiful views, woodland trails and plenty of spring favourites.

As the weather becomes warmer, wildlife, trees and wildflowers come alive across the Ightham Mote estate, while and birdsong fills the air.

Bluebells at Ightham Mote

The bluebell is one of our best-loved British flowers, and it's no surprise. During late April / early May, after just a few steps into Scathes Wood, you'll be greeted by a carpet of sapphire blue, with a fragrance that is heaven 'scent'.


As spring heralds warmer temperatures, our winter resident birds are joined by returning migrant birds such as house martins and swallows. You may even spot tawny and barn owls foraging for their young.


Spring brings our first butterflies, such as the red admiral, brimstone, comma and peacock. Dormice, wood mice, voles and other small creatures begin to appear. Much work is being done by our ranger team to safeguard and improve the habitats wildlife and birds at Ightham Mote.

Trees, plants and flowers

Bluebells are abundant across the estate during the spring months, usually from mid-April onwards. Wild garlic (ramsons), the male hazel flower (catkins), the red of the female hazel flowers and primroses bring dashes of long awaited spring colour. Look out for wood anemone, foxgloves, celandine and lady’s smock, while pussy willow is abundant in Scathes Wood. Usually from May, great spotted and early purple orchids can be found on the path edges close to our Hoppers Huts on our estate Green Walk. The tree cover is filling out once again, with hazel, sweet chestnut, beech, ash and veteran oaks coming into full leaf.

Ranger activity

During spring, our rangers and their volunteers switch to maintenance projects, including fencing, steps, path edges and general repairs. Education is a key part of a National Trust Ranger’s role, so escorted walks and activities for visitors, schools and volunteers take place in the spring and summer months especially. Our rangers also take part in a number of national and regional surveys – such as wildflower and wildlife surveys.

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.

The Ightham Mote Estate Emily Pyle
The Ightham Mote Estate | © Emily Pyle

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.

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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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