Our Woods

History | Management | Wildlife and the environment | Processing

The Torry Hill Estate and its chestnut woods have been owned and managed by the same family for over a century. Most of the wood, which extend to about 800 acres are surrounded by the North Downs near Sittingbourne, with further acreage located at Teston, just to the west of Maidstone. The continuity of ownership has meant that the wood has been managed and improved in a consistent way and now provides a reliable source of high quality wood for the Torry Hill Chestnut Fencing business.

The chestnut woods on the North Downs are mostly ancient, semi-natural woodlands, with sheets of bluebells in the spring. The woods at Teston were mainly planted in the 18th and 19th century with heath land to supply hop poles and the woodland flora reflects the heathy origin of the land.

As well as supplying timber to the fencing business, the wood are an important resource for the local community. Thousands of people make use of the extensive network of tracks to walk ride horses, bicycling or go jogging. The tracks are mown and cut back each year to make sure that they remain pleasant to use and to ensure light gets in to help keep them dry and provide a wildlife habitat. A portion of the woodland is dedicated for use by local scout groups, and many events take place during the year. There are sponsored horse rides, motorcycle trials, orienteering events, cadet force exercises, rescue dog training, study days for naturalists and school visits.

Parts of the woodlands are surveyed every year for wildlife, and there are butterfly and moth records extending back for twenty years. This demonstrates that regular coppicing is vital for the survival of many insects, birds and plants.


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