Hucking Estate (Part 1)

I have always said that my current home – I have moved around quite a bit over the years – is pretty well located.  Depending on the direction in which I travel, I can easily get myself to London or, for a change of pace, into the Kent countryside or to the Thanet coast.  It’s only recently, though, that I have really started to get to know my more immediate area. First there was Elmley National Nature Reserve, then Milton Creek Country Park and, last weekend, Hucking Estate.

The journey was more eventful than expected; the SatNav took me to the middle of nowhere and then happily declared I had reached my destination, and so I had no choice but to rely on my sense of direction, which is poor at the best of times.  Feeling slightly panicked, I navigated the single track road, pleased that I had left early and traffic was minimal, trying to remember the advice for car drivers when encountering a horse.  Then a large bird (I’m as hopeless at identifying those as I am plants and trees.  Note to self: must do better) flew low over my car, prey in its beak, and for a moment I was pleased that I had got lost and so witnessed that majestic sight.  Eventually, I reached the car park and, relieved, started my walk.

Hucking Estate is in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding National Beauty and was purchased by the Woodland Trust in 1997.  The site covers 232 hectares and includes ancient woodland, secondary woodland and open grassland, so is home to a variety of different species.  I chose to visit Hucking Estate primarily because I had seen it described as a great location to see bluebells, and I wasn’t disappointed. The display was impressive and I could easily have spent the whole morning wandering through the woodland, taking photo after photo of its beautiful blue carpet.  Bluebells do feature heavily in this set of images (the first half today, more next week!) but, as you’ll see, the trail that I followed (the landscape trail, approximately 2 miles in length) took me through a variety of habitats.  It’s definitely on my ‘must go back’ list.

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