The history of Hucking Estate

Hucking Estate enjoys ancient woodland with its oak standards, areas of coppiced stools, and fine 200 year-old specimens of small leaved lime and beech. And has archaeological features such as wood banks, chalk and marl pits and an ancient drove road. The Woodland Trust Hucking Estate site leaflet has the following information.

Woodbanks – are earthen banks, usually accompanied by a ditch, which denoted ownership boundaries in medieval times. Today, they can indicate that a wood is ancient. As you enter the walk, see if you can spot the woodbanks and pollarded hornbeam trees, which were sometimes planted along these banks to further reinforce the boundaries. Pollarded trees were cut off at 10–12 feet above ground level to produce a wood crop and increase longevity. This produced straight limbs high above the reach of grazing deer and cattle.

The Droveway – was a road used, in the past, by herdsmen to drive their animals to and from the wood pastures in the central Weald of Kent.These pastures were called ‘dens’ and may be the origin of nearby places, such as Tenterden, Biddenden and Smarden.Today, this droveway is a byway open to people, vehicles and horses.

Chalk pits – are reminders that man has mined for chalk here for thousands of centuries. It was common in Kent to crush excavated chalk and spread it onto the clay with flint soils of the fields to improve their fertility and productivity. Chalk wells or draw pits – are more peculiar remnants of the chalk mining industry. There are two confirmed chalk wells at Hucking (though there could have been many more which were subsequently filled-in). Chalk wells are vertical shafts of up to 4.5 metres (15ft) diameter and over 12 metres (40ft) deep, and were probably dug between 1600–1800 AD. In 1996 and in 2006, the Kent Underground Research Group cleared out the two chalk wells at Hucking Estate which had been filled with rubbish, soil and stone. The first to be cleared was in Spratts Dane Wood.The top of this shaft has been grilled over for safety reasons, but it is now home to Daubenton’s, Natterer’s and brown long-eared bats.The second chalk well is in Ten Acres and it is now awaiting bat occupants!

The Pond – is a former iron working site. At the peak of the iron smelting industry which took place at the Weald nearby, people scoured everywhere for ore and, on the crest of the North Downs, occasional fragments of ironstone are still found. Opposite this small pond, you’ll find the pippy oak – its trunk all covered in growths. Timber from these rare, deformed specimens was once much prized by cabinet makers.

More information can be found about this Woodland Trust managed woodland here.

Map of Hucking Estate

Directions & how to get there


Hucking Estate is 8km south west of the centre of Sittingbourne. Heading out of Sittingbourne on the A249, either take the first or second turning after the M20 junction towards Hucking. Turn right at Church Lane and follow the sign post to Hucking village. The Woodland Trust car park is on the left before the village.

Or from Junction 8 on the M20 head towards Hollingbourne, pass straight through the village and when at the top of the hill, turn left at Church Lane and follow the sign post to Hucking village. The Woodland Trust car park is on the left before the village.


The Woodland Trust Hucking Estate site leaflet has further information.