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Ranscombe Farm Nature Reserve

Location: Cuxton, Medway, Kent
OS: TQ 716673
What Three Words location: ///hood.pull.drives

Habitat: Chalk grassland, arable fields and ancient woodland

Ranscombe Farm Landscape
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The Reserve

Ranscombe Farm Reserve is Plantlife’s flagship reserve and an Important Plant Area for its arable flowers. The reserve is made up of chalk grassland, arable fields and woodland.

The chalk grassland is full of Common Rock-rose Helianthemum nummularium, Clustered Bellflower Campanula glomerata and Wild Liquorice alongside Skylarks and Common Blue and Marbled White butterflies.

Ranscombe Farm is believed to be the last remaining natural site in the UK for Corncockle and home to the largest UK populations of Broad-leaved Cudweed Filago pyramidata. The first record in Britain of Meadow Clary Salvia pratensis and Marsh Mallow Althaea officinalis were here too. It really is an arable flower haven!

Sessile Oak Quercus petraea and Hornbeam Carpinus betulus grow in the Sweet Chestnut Castanea sativa coppice. This woodland has existed here since at least AD 1600 and is an important wildlife corridor in North Kent.


Ranscombe Farm is Plantlife’s largest nature reserve in England, occupying a total area of 560 acres on the slopes of the North Downs in Kent. Recently declared as a country park, the reserve provides opportunities for quiet walks amongst attractive countryside with a fascinating flora.

The Ranscombe Farm landscape includes arable habitats, extensive ancient woodland and fragments of chalk grassland. A large part of the site is within the Cobham Woods Site of Special Scientific Interest, and the whole farm is within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Ranscombe Farm is managed in partnership with Medway Council as a nature reserve, working farm and country park. You are welcome to visit at any time, but please keep to the marked footpaths.

Species to look out for

  • Lady Orchid Orchis purpurea May-June
  • Corncockle Agrostemma githago June-August
  • Wild Liquorice Astragalus glycyphyllos July-August



The nearest rail stations are at Cuxton, Strood and Rochester (visit National Rail for more information). There are also several local bus services, details of which can be found at Kent public transport or by calling Traveline on 0870 608 2608.

If you are travelling by car, the main entrance and car park are accessible directly from the A228 shortly before the roundabout (when approaching the M2 from Cuxton).

Visiting this winter

Please be aware that we are doing some conservation work around the reserve this winter. Large machinery may be operating in this woods. Please pay attention to instructions and signage.


We are currently undertaking exciting work at the reserve:

  • Completing the widening of a woodland ride that supports the only surviving wild population of Hairy Lady’s-mantle Alchemilla monticola in Kent.
  • Establishing 100 new Oak standards to provide mature and veteran trees of the future.
  • Further cutting back of chestnut re-growth from over 2 hectares (5 acres) of woodland already undergoing conversion.
  • Felling of chestnut across 3 hectares (7 acres) to convert to mixed native broadleaves.
  • Removing 25 large chestnut trees along the Town Road to further open the woodland ride and relieve pressure on neighbouring veteran Hornbeams.
  • Felling chestnut coppice in a ‘halo’ around 18 mature Oak trees to help prolong their life and enhance their condition.
  • Employing a heavy-duty forest mulching machine to grind out large numbers of tree stumps (including many chestnut coppice stools) to facilitate more efficient and effective annual management.

All these important work are made possible thanks to the support our members gave to this year’s nature reserves appeal and an additional grant of over £60,000 from the Veolia Environmental trust.

Ranscombe Farm Family Adventure Map

Delve further into the secrets of Ranscombe Farm Reserve with our family expedition walk map

Exploring Ranscombe Farm Reserve – Education pack

This education pack is designed to help teachers use Ranscombe Farm Reserve for learning outside the classroom.