LONGROPE WOOD IS one of many small fragments of the old wildwood, formerly known as Orlestone Forest, that long ago straddled the Weald of Kent and Sussex. Much of the woodland today is of secondary growth, comprising a mixture of deciduous and coniferous blocks of trees in varying ages separated by rides, which make for natural viewpoints through the trees. A small section of the woodland is managed by the Kent Wildlife Trust with coppiced clearings of Ash, Hazel and Hornbeam, much loved by Nightingales, being of particular importance for wildlife and plants. Mature oak and ash compartments harbour typical lowland species, including a few pairs of Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers and Marsh Tits, both of which are difficult to locate once the canopy closes over. The most abundant summer migrants are Chiffchaff and Blackcap along with a few pairs of Willow and Garden Warblers in plantation scrub. Spotted Flycatchers are few and far between. For variety, the route also includes farmland tracts with views across adjacent woodlands for soaring raptors; typically Buzzard and also Sparrowhawk.
3Scan the woodland canopy to the east for soaring Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel, plus feeding Swift and hirundines.
4Search for birds feeding along the woodland edge. A good spot for a Cuckoo or Hobby. Scrubby plantations can attract Willow and Garden Warblers. The woodland canopy harbours singing Chifchaff and Blackcap, plus all three species of woodpecker, Nuthatch, Treecreeper and the declining Marsh Tit. Visit on a still evening and listen for Nightjar