Skip to main content

Bringing new audiences to conservation at Ranscombe

Many visitors are unaware of Ranscombe Farm Nature Reserve’s importance for nature conservation. Ranscombe will play a leading role in a new strategy to connect people with nature.

A man of colour wearing a blue hat and blue shorts walking through a wildflower field at Ranscombe Nature Reserve on a sunny day

Made up of grassland, fields and both ancient and more recent woodland, Ranscombe boasts a range of habitats. A particular haven for arable plants, it stretches across over 600 acres on the edge of the North Kent Downs. Lying a stone’s throw from the commuter towns of Rochester and Maidstone, it is also just 30 miles from London.  

Ranscombe is by far Plantlife’s most visited reserve, attracting an estimated 100,000 visitors each year. However, millions of people live within an hour of the site, giving us huge potential to increase that number further.  

By doing so, we can help connect even more people with nature while also inspiring them to support conservation work. 


Capitalising on Ranscombe’s potential  

We developed a new strategy during the year to capitalise on this potential and encourage more people to engage with our reserves. It explains how we will:   

  • Make the best use of our current volunteers, who meet weekly to help Reserve Manager Ben Sweeney with Ranscombe’s upkeep and enhancement. 
  • Train new volunteers to check on the welfare of the livestock which graze large areas of the site. This group will play a key role in helping with grazing management across both grassland and arable habitats. 
  • Set up a group of survey and monitoring volunteers to help inform current and future management. 
  • Recruit and train volunteer wardens to provide a Plantlife-branded presence to engage and enthuse visitors and report any issues.  
  • Create and update on and off-site interpretation. This will be used to share key messages with the public around conservation and nature-friendly farming.  
  • Expand our offer to fee-paying groups running self-led activities, such as schools, charities and special interest groups.
  • Further develop links with academic institutions, such as the University of Greenwich, so that they can carry out research to benefit our surveys and monitoring. 



We believe that Ranscombe has great potential to act as an example site for plant conservation and nature-friendly farming, both regionally and nationally. The strategy developed during the year will support that drive. 

Including Ranscombe within a proposed Super National Nature Reserve will also bring benefits by not only facilitating greater collaboration locally but also raising awareness of the site’s importance among a wider audience. 

More ‘Connect People with Nature’ Projects

Connecting people and plants
Yellow flowers in the foreground with people on a guided walk in the background

Connecting people and plants

The Green Links Bridgend initiative has chalked up some impressive achievements over the past 12 months while continuing to strengthen the links people have with the green spaces around them.

Celebrating success at our Magnificent Meadows
Close up image of a purple Southern Marsh-orchid on grass

Celebrating success at our Magnificent Meadows

Our partnership project to connect communities to species-rich meadows while restoring these important habitats has come to a close.

No Mow May blooms bigger than ever
Rye grass reversion, Pembs c Lucia Chmurova.

No Mow May blooms bigger than ever

No Mow May lets wild plants flower by asking the public to relax their mowing regime each spring. Find out why 2023’s campaign was bigger and wilder than ever.