The highest point of the Kent Downs! Toys Hill is more than 450 acres (180 hectares) of woodland, cared for by the National Trust. Enjoy the fine views over the Weald and discover the diverse and abundant wildlife which makes this area a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
For hundreds of years, Toys Hill was a vital part of the local economy. Charcoal burners, herdsman and local villagers would have gathered firewood and grazed their livestock here. Charcoal pits can be seen on the orange route and the pollarded trees on the disabled access route. Pollarding is an ancient way of managing woodland which is grazed.
The hill used to be well known for its groves of ancient beech pollards, dating back to the early days of grazing. You can still see a few which survived the 1987 storm. The woods are regenerating after the storm; look for the sessile oak, beech and birch saplings on the plateau. Parts of Scords Wood are managed on a non-intervention ‘hands off’ basis so that natural development after the storm can be studied by Natural England. The bridle path, green and red routes lead through this area which has become rich in insects and fauna.
What you can see
On top of the Greensand Ridge, the hill supports a wide variety of plants and animals. Walk on the red route towards Pugden and find many herbs and wildflowers including sorrel and field woodrush. Look for the carpet of bluebells in the Spring and a dazzling patchwork of golden marsh marigolds and pink ragged robins in early summer.
Deer, bats, badgers and dormice all make their homes here. Grass snakes and adders sun themselves on rocks and you can sometimes find common lizards or slow worms. By protecting and caring for this habitat the National Trust protects the plants and animals within it.
See the National Trust website at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/toys-hill/ for details of the footpaths and leaflets on longer walks in this area.
Open all year- free of charge
Car Park in the old quarry
Toilets and restaurants nearby
Location : Westerham TN16 1QG
Chart Lane via A25 or B2042