Sevenoaks Reserve © H.W. Atkins
The new visitor centre will be the flagship visitor centre for Kent Wildlife Trust (KWT) offering key messaging around nature, health and wellbeing.
The Nature and Wellbeing Centre will be the gateway to Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve. It will be a place to discover, learn, research, be active, get connected, give and explore.
It will be the first centre of its kind in the country dedicated to connecting people and nature in ways that evidence and demonstrate positive benefits for both people and wildlife. It will also raise awareness about the importance of conservation work on our own wellbeing and that of the planet.
The visitor centre is located on Bradbourne Vale Road in Sevenoaks,Kent TN13 3DH. Map reference TQ 520 565.
Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve was converted from gravel−pit to nature reserve by the Harrison family – particularly Jeffery Harrison – in the 50's and 60's. The site, as such is almost entirely man made with trees being planted by hand and the lakes and ponds being created by excavating and flooding former gravel workings with water from the River Darent.
The site is the first example of such a conversion of a gravel−pit anywhere in the United Kingdom. It is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest. KWT is charged with maintaining and where possible improving the biological value of the reserve and any activities carried out on the site will need to take this into account.
Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve has enormous potential to convey some of the key messaging around health and wellbeing by engaging people in nature activities including the currently popular activities of birdwatching and learning about wildlife in general. The site can become a vehicle for supporting people to connect with nature, wildlife and environmental issues and in so doing improve their own sense of wellbeing and vitality.
The Nature and Wellbeing Centre will be a hub for engaging local people and communities in an exemplary volunteer−led advocacy programme utilising local skills, knowledge and talent in widespread sustainable engagement and bringing together people who value healthy living and nature.
The centre will be a county leader in outdoor education providing some of the most imaginative and inspiring outdoor learning initiatives for children, young people and for adults. The centre will be a place that heralds innovation, creativity and the engagement of unique partnerships and collaborations.
The Nature and Wellbeing Centre will reveal the stories behind our conservation wins, habitat management and our visions for the future, connecting the detail with the bigger picture, the cellular with the larger ecosystem and our role and connection within that.
The Nature and Wellbeing Centre will engage local enterprise in the operation and development of the centre through assisted business start−up opportunities, collaborations with local artists, practitioners, therapists and makers and provide a platform for local produce and business.
Sevenoaks will be a place:
Our key audiences will be those interested in landscape, wildlife or habitats; educational visits (from school children to "third age" learners) supporting education in heritage and ecology; the visiting public, both local people, tourists and families. Extensive community use of the building and landscape is also envisaged.
Kingfisher © Andy Morffew