Hothfield Common

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Hothfield Common
Location Kent, United Kingdom
Nearest city Ashford, Kent
Coordinates 51°10.5′N 0°49′E / 51.1750°N 0.817°E / 51.1750; 0.817Coordinates: 51°10.5′N 0°49′E / 51.1750°N 0.817°E / 51.1750; 0.817
Area 58 hectares (143 acres)
Governing body Kent Wildlife Trust

Hothfield Common (grid reference TQ972458) is the last substantial area of heathland and lowland valley bog left in Kent.[1] It lies 3 miles (5 km) north of Ashford and is owned by Ashford Borough Council, but is managed by Kent Wildlife Trust. The site is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest[2][3] and a Local Nature Reserve.[4][5]

Environment[edit]

Fifty-eight hectares of heathland and lowland valley bogs with secondary woodland around the perimeter, Hothfield contains Kent's last four valley bogs and one of its few remaining fragments of open heath with patches of acid grassland.

Until the early 20th century, livestock grazing maintained the open character of Hothfield Common. Once this ceased, bracken and birch began to overrun the reserve, leading to the loss of the heathland and bog habitat, and resulting in the loss of many rare and highly specialised plants and animals.

Habitat management work initiated by Kent Wildlife Trust with the support of Ashford Borough Council, Hothfield Parish Council and Natural England is now helping to restore and maintain a mosaic of open heath, grassland and bog. Once the initial invading scrub has been cut back, grazing with livestock is the key to maintaining suitable habitat. Grazing may occur at any time of the year so dogs should be kept under close control.

Many plants such as heather, cross-leaved heath, dwarf and common gorse, heath spotted-orchid, bog asphodel, and round-leaved sundew are now thriving, along with keeled skimmer dragonfly and tree pipit as a result of heath and bog habitat restoration.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Hothfield Common". Kent County Council. 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-29. 
  2. ^ "Hothfield Common citation" (PDF). Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-24. 
  3. ^ "Map of Hothfield Common". Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Natural England. 
  4. ^ "Hothfield Common". Local Nature Reserves. Natural England. 
  5. ^ "Map of Hothfield Common". Local Nature Reserves. Natural England.