A 16 acre site set inside
an abandoned chalk quarry on the Isle of Thanet in East Kent.
Monkton Nature Reserve is managed by the Thanet Countryside
Trust. There are over 350 species of flowering plant including
8 species of orchid. 25 species of butterfly have been recorded,
and innumerable other species of insect, mammal and bird-life.
The reserve is also home to the first artificial bat cave
to be constructed in the UK.
There are two ponds inside the reserve, one of which is on
the quarry floor and is a water-table pond with a fluctuating
water level, while the other is a butyl-lined pond in a secluded
location overlooked by a small bird hide. Both ponds are visited
by grass snakes on hunting expeditions. Great Crested Newt even makes an appearance in one of our ponds. The water-table pond is
used by a small number of the rare water vole.
There is a small young woodland in land above the quarry,
and this is becoming well used by the bird population. Breeding
numbers of Turtle Dove in this woodland have risen from one
to five pairs over the last ten years.
A 1:1 scale replica of a Bronze Age Barrow has been constructed
in the woodland. This is a long term experimental project
to obtain data for the Thanet Archaeological Unit.
The quarry cliffs are of Late Cretaceous age (Santonian)
and contain some good chalk fossils. Collecting can only be
carried out with supervision. The cliffs act as home to a
number of bird species including Jackdaw, a pair of Little
Owls, and occasionally nesting Kestrels.
On-site is a well resourced Field Study Centre, which contains
a number of different exhibitions, including a large geological
collection. Fossils, rocks and minerals from the Mesozoic,
Cainozoic, and Pleistocene are on display, including unusual
The Thanet Observatory is situated
in the centre of the nature reserve. It houses a 12"
f5.89 reflecting telescope.
Please visit our articles page to see more about the history of the reserve