The woods are part of Orlestone Forest, a fragmented area of woodland that is the remnant of a continuous oak forest that once covered the Weald. The reserve is actively managed in a traditional way and consequently, it attracts an outstanding collection of birds and moths. The site is also of archaeological interest and contains many well-preserved earthworks including a medieval ditch and bank system and the remains of a staggered medieval dam.
Information panels along the waymarked trails encourage visitors to look out for wildlife. The site makes good use of the numerous footpaths, bridleways and long-distance trails that run through the reserve, to offer three circular walks to enjoy.
It also has an easy access route for those with restricted mobility, however, the woodland paths are largely unsuitable for wheelchair access. Horse riding is allowed and the reserve is also popular with dog walkers. Two trails pass through the reserve; the Saxon Shore Way and the Greensands Way. Entrance to the woodland is a downside road in Ham Street, and limited free parking is available at the end of the lane, however, there are no other onsite facilities for visitors.
Entrance to the woodland is at the end of Bourne Lane in Hamstreet village where limited parking is available. Voluntary donations for the car park are suggested
Further information about the woods’ flora and fauna is available for the Natural England website and this site also has information about seasonal walks.
Natural England has now installed signs in most of its NNR car parks requesting visitors voluntary donations towards car parking – this can be via the RingGo app, with a credit card or cash if a cash donations box is present on the site.
Easy access information
This park and open space has at least one accessible route but otherwise is considered to be less suitable for visitors with pushchairs and/or wheelchairs.