Ross Wood is the home of Canterbury, Whitstable & Herne Bay District Scout Council. It is managed by a team of volunteers who care passionately about giving people the opportunity to access an ancient woodland, gain knowledge about the environment, learn and develop outdoor adventure skills, get enjoyment from the flora and fauna and participate in the many activities available.
Ross Wood is an Site of Special Scientific Importance (SSSI) situated in The Blean. Lying between the cathedral city of Canterbury and the towns of Faversham, Whitstable and Herne Bay, The Blean is one of the largest areas of ancient woodland in England – over 11 square miles.
The woods have been shaped by local people for over a thousand years. Today, woodsmen and conservation teams continue to manage this unique landscape, rich in wildlife.
The Blean is a wonderful place to visit at any time of year and with a network of pathways stretching 120 miles, it’s a fantastic area for walking, cycling, wildlife watching and horse riding.
More than half of The Blean is recognised as nationally important for wildlife. Today’s biodiversity is linked to the rich and unusually well documented history of the area. Its value for wildlife is recognised at a national level with over half of the Blean being designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest; further to this, approximately one third is designated as a Special Area of Conservation, affording it protection at a European Level.
In association with Natural England, Ross Wood has a woodland management plan. Its SSSI status means that our purpose is to maintain the biodiversity of the site.
The West Blean, due to the careful coppice management now supports a variety of species including the rare heath fritillary and white admiral butterflies, bluebells, wood anemones, long-eared owls, the yellow necked wood mouse and the dormouse.
The East Blean has been heavily managed in the past and after the coppice is cut, much of the ground is colonised by common cow-wheat, which is the food plant of the caterpillar of the nationally rare heath fritillary butterfly. Along with the butterflies the reserve is a haven for dragonflies and nesting birds, including warblers and woodpeckers, nuthatches and tree creepers.
Ross Wood is located between West and East benefiting from a mix of the above wildlife. Canterbury District Scouts, through Ross Woods have adopted an ethos to maximise the diversity of fauna and flora and in particular help protect and raise awareness of the heath fritillary butterfly.