One of the loveliest nature reserves in East Kent is in Denge Wood, part of the badlands between Ashford, Canterbury and Folkestone. A drawback to this wood, which contains a wealth of flora and fauna, is its maze of paths which always get me lost. We tried a different way in on the weekend, from the lovely hamlet of Garlinge Green, through a farm and down an old hollow lane.
Windflowers (wood anemones) and lesser celandines were stunning as they greeted the unaccustomed sunlight, let in by the recent coppicing of Sweet Chestnut trees.
Further down, the track proceeds through beech woods, then gives onto the open space of the Warren where a great spotted woodpecker and chiffchaffs could be heard.
Across the Warren there is a profusion of primroses, only just emerging, and these are the foodplant of Duke of Burgundy Fritillaries that will be emerging in a month or so.
The Warren and Bonsai Bank a little further down the valley are superb for orchids later in the year, and already the first leaves are starting to show.
Wild Strawberry plants were peeking through, with promise of sweet things to come. Correction by one who knows - it's Barren, not Wild, Strawberry. So an empty promise.
Over the Chartham downs, two buzzards cavorted, and - on the Monday morning trip to work - a single one was standing in a field close to the road at Ringwould.