21. Ranscombe Farm Reserve
Ranscombe Farm Reserve is situated on the stunning North Downs and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is managed by Plantlife, the UK’s leading wildflower conservation charity.
This 560-acre reserve has 10km of footpaths to explore across ancient farmland, pockets of chalk grassland and coppice woods with stunning views across the Medway Gap and Luddesdown valley.
The site is famous for its extremely unusual collection of rare wild plants, especially arable wildflowers and orchids. Species of note are the tall pink Corncockle, once thought to be extinct, and the internationally rare Broadleaved Cudweed. There are several varieties of wild poppies that form rich red carpets along the edges of the farm’s wheat fields from late May, and Blue Pimpernel, Wild Pansy, Venus’s Looking Glass and Dense Flowered Fumitory can also be spotted.
The woodlands are now being managed for conservation and have good populations of dormice, birds, large mammals, butterflies and insects. There are free guided walks available throughout the year and opportunities to volunteer on the site.