Preston Hill Country Park, with its chalk grassland, country park and military heritage, offers a huge potential for residents and visitors to connect with nature and cultural heritage. This project aims to restore and conserve it for all to enjoy.
Our Preston Hill – the Unknown Country Park project will help to restore the site’s important SSSI chalk grassland, country park and rich military heritage so that local communities and visitors alike can enjoy the superb natural environment and history of the Darent Valley.
The area, set on top of a steep hill, is half grassland and half woodland and in the summer months is covered with wildflowers. A variety of butterflies including common blue, meadow brown and green hairstreak can also be seen on the chalk grassland. As the site is relatively rarely visited, it is something of a haven for adders and grass snakes.
The capital works to ensure that future management is easier, cheaper and more efficient to support an anticipated low-budget future, are already underway and the project is moving forward apace with new fences, kissing and field gates already installed. A large area of scrub that was encroaching on the chalk grassland has also been removed.
A new circular waymarked route is now in place so that more people will be able to enjoy and understand the site and its heritage in a sustainable manner without damaging its special characteristics. Three on-site interpretation boards have been installed at key access points to engage visitors in learning about the site’s intriguing heritage and the international significance of its chalk grassland and wildlife. A new site leaflet will also help to raise awareness as well as provide a guide for visitors to use at the site.
Preston Hill also has an intriguing history with features of a former rifle range still visible. The rifle range, with its various shooting distances, was built around 1897 for target practice for the Volunteer Force which is now known as the Army Reserves. A condition survey of the rifle range features has been carried out and key features cleared of vegetation.
A herd of goats will be in situ on the site soon to help manage the scrub to ensure the chalk grassland can thrive.
- Improvements to Preston Hill site
- SSSI chalk grassland, country park and heritage improvements
- Improved access for local communities and visitors to the valley
Best way to travel
The site is can be accessed from Shoreham station or by car from Shoreham Road, Eynsford, Kent, TN14 7UE.
If you would like more information on our Preston Hill restoration project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org