first time I ever walked in Blean Woods, it was snowing. As we entered
one of the silent clearings in this vast woodland (one is filled with
heather; another ringed by towering Douglas firs) it seemed a place
imbued with magic. Perhaps, like Alain-Fournier's Lost Domain, a
traveller trying to return would never be able find it again.
have been back many times since and although it is always there, it is
never the same on any two visits. One day rare Slipper Orchids will be
flowering in the verges. Next time, they will have vanished without a
you might meet a farmer at the edge of the wood, taking his cows to
pasture with the aid of his bright little border collies.
could stumble upon the living remains of a layered hedge that is
hundreds of years old. A living monument to centuries of farming
history, its ancient stems are as thick and gnarled as a baobab and its
young tips wave among the treetops.
might even meet a pair of pigs in their pen, who will eye you
laconically before returning to their breakfast. Dogs find them hugely
exciting but the feeling is clearly not mutual.
Always there are dogs of all varieties enthusiastically making new friends and picking fights. "That's a lovely dog you've got there," their owners say.
"You too," comes the reply. "Belgian shepherd, is it?" And so it goes on.
you are exercising the dog, exploring on foot, cycling or horse-riding,
there is never a shortage of new paths to take and fascinating flora
and fauna to spot.
The site is an RSPB nature reserve with the
land managed by the Woodland Trust. It covers 11 square miles, making
it the largest in Kent. About half of the area is designated a Site of
Special Scientific Interest, while the rest is a Site of Nature
It forms part of a corridor of woodland
sites (including West and East Blean, Thorden and Clowes woods) that
together comprise the most extensive area of broadleaf woodland in
RSPB's own website beautifully sums up Blean Woods' great charm: "This is
a wonderful place for quiet walks in beautiful ancient woodland. There
are five trails of up to eight miles long that meander through the
woods. In summer, look out for damselflies, dragonflies and
butterflies, including the rare heath fritillary butterfly. As dusk
falls, you may see nightjars gliding on silent wings, and hear their
Blean Woods site - The Blean: www.theblean.co.uk
Woodland Trust: www.wt-woods.org.uk/BleanWood
A C O R N S
|Acorns is a superbly appointed four-star holiday apartment within easy
reach of Blean Wood, as well as the pretty seaside town of Whitstable,
Canterbury, Kent university and the north Kent coast. It is set in
extensive gardens and woodland that is peaceful and beautiful all year
To find out more, please go
Click on pictures to see