Wildlife at Toys Hill
Lying on top of the Greensand Ridge, Toys Hill supports a wide variety of plants and animals. Enjoy the fine views over the Weald of Kent and discover the diverse and abundant wildlife which makes this area a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
Lowland heath is very rare, especially in Kent. We’re actively promoting the growth of heather and bilberry plants in certain areas by cutting back birch re-growth, creating a heathland habitat. By protecting and caring for this habitat we’re protecting the plants and animals within it.
Help to look after local plants and animals by taking your litter home with you. Please leave gates and property as you find them, keep your dog under close control and be considerate of other walkers.
Reptiles thrive in the lowland heath which we encourage to grow at Toys Hill. Grass snakes and adders sun themselves on rocks and you can sometimes find common lizards and slow-worms.
Walking around Toys Hill you may come across the bat tower, which was once used as the water tower for the Weardale estate. Following the storm in 1987, the tower suffered damage and we used the opportunity to convert it into a bat hibernaculum. The tower continues to be well used by bats.
Mainly nocturnal, common dormice can spend up to three quarters of their lives asleep. Look out for their distinctive circular nests on your walk but please be careful not to disturb these furry little creatures from their naps as they are a protected species.
In spring, the floors of the woodland turn into carpets of blue as the bluebells come into bloom. In early summer it turns to yellow with the golden marsh marigolds, and there’s even pink ragged robins to catch your eye. Wildflowers are around every corner; look out for sorrel and field woodrush.
Toadstools thrive in the damp woodland undergrowth at Toys Hill in autumn. Look out for the distinctive red and white spotted cap on the fly agaric or keep a nose out for the smelly stinkhorn. Take care not to touch any as many fungi are poisonous.
Discover lots of walking routes, points of historical interest and wide-ranging views at one of Octavia Hill’s favourite places. Visit to see the landscape that inspired her.
You and your four-legged friend will be spoilt for choice at Toys Hill. There are plenty of routes to choose from, and some historical points of interest to discover.
With a network of bridleways, there are plenty of ways to explore Toys Hill including horse riding, mountain biking, road cycling and running on a 6km Run England route.