Nature and Wildlife

The exhilarating North Downs and gorgeous High Weald, ancient woods.  Attractions stacked with big cats, gorillas and cute farm animals - Ashford and Tenterden excel at it all.

The area's special landscapes constitute an embarrassment of natural riches.  First comes the sweeping chalk grassland of the North Downs, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, where a ridge of high hills delivers swathes of spring colour, shaded woods, perfect picnic spots and jaw-dropping views.

Alongside stretches the Weald of Kent, where hill tops are crowned by quaint villages, orchards overflow with apples, hop gardens frame vineyards, and fields and pasture produce fine local fare.  Here also find the ridges and valleys of the High Weald AONB.  And winding through it all are memorable walking trails, from the North Downs, Pilgrims and Greensand ways, to the Stour Valley Walk.

To the south, stretches Romney Marsh.  Here sheep roam sparsely-populated wetlands beneath stunning sky-scaped, amid wrap-around views.  Hothfield Heathlands delivers wildlife and rare bogs, while in historic King's Wood walking routes trace trails between eco-themed sculptures.

Some of the UK's finest animal centres ensure an extraordinary range of both exotic and Kentish creatures. These are must-see attractions.  Head to Ashford's Rare Breeds Centre to make friends with countless, irresistible rabbits, piglets, goats, ponies and lambs.  Fall in love with Rudolf's friends at The Reindeer Centre, and experience an intimate big cat encounter at the Big Cat Sanctuary near Smarden.  Then there's the world-famous Port Lympne Reserve - an inspiring expanse roamed by tigers, lions, meerkats and baboons.