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17 September 2014
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Ancient woods | Northward Hill

Northward map

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Northward Hill is a ridge overlooking the Thames and its nature reserve is an excellent place for bird watchers.

The reserve has the one of the largest heronries in the UK and also contains a diversity of woodland birds. Look out for the stunning display of springtime wild flowers.

Woods index (Image: Badger)

Return to ancient woods

Ancient woodlands are great places to watch wildlife especially birds and mammals such as deer and wild boar.

Ancient wood activities ((Image: Osprey chick c/o Tom marshall and Forestry Commission)

Woodland activities

  • Get out and about in spring woodlands for birds of prey, badger watching and wild walks.

Northward Hill - Visitor Guide


Northward Hill, near High Halstow, Rochester, Kent.

Postcode ME3 8

North Kent Marshes team - 01634 222480 or 01634 222489

Tourist information - 01634 843666


Kent Wildlife Trust -



Ordnance Survey: OS reference: TQ768763
Street Map:Streetmap of Northward Hill
Key attractions:

Activities: Bird watching. Heron Trail - free leaflet from car parks, RSPB or North Kent Marshes team (see above). Wildlife events and activities.


Guided walks available year round.

Essential kit:



Boots recommended - some paths can become very muddy.

Best times for nature watching:

Best times: Early morning for dawn chorus/early evening for Nightingales.

Herons - best seen when they're busy nesting.


Nightingales - hear them in the evening.

Join a dusk walk at the reserve.

Winter - watch out for wading birds and wildfowl including Wigeons and Teals, and birds of prey such as Hen Harriers and Merlins.


Pushchair/buggy access.


Disabled parking. Some paths can become very muddy. Also moderate inclines.

Getting there:

Located four miles north of Rochester in Kent. Follow signposts from High Halstow.


Strood railway station (five miles away).


Bus services from Strood stop regularly in High Halstow.


Car parking on site.

Opening times:

Public footpaths open 9.00am to dusk.


Heronry - no direct access to general public as these birds dislike disturbance. However, there is a good public viewpoint in the forest.


Requests for special visits should be made in writing one month or more in advance.

Charges:Free use of public footpaths.
Activities (Image: Swan)

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