THE FIRST SECTION of this walk follows an established footpath along one of the most scenic and bird-rich sections of the Royal Military Canal, a broad, defensive ditch and relic from the Napoleonic era. Between Kennardington and Warehorne bridges the wooded, hilly country of the Low Weald to the north contrasts markedly with the flat, reclaimed farmland of the Romney Marsh. The Dowels is the lowest point on the Marsh and heavily sheep-grazed towards Appledore, with more arable land to be found at the east end. The marginal strip of land either side of the canal with its tangle of hedgerows, scrub and marshy patches, is a noted migrant hot spot as birds follow the line of hills. From mid-morning keep a watchful eye for thermalling Red Kites and Buzzards. Common warblers, hirundines and the like should be on the move and there is always a chance of a passage Redstart, Whinchat, Wheatear or Ring Ouzel. A few Cuckoos and Turtle Doves still breed, while Hobbies are often seen hunting flying insects over the canal. On the farmland, Little Owls favour old willow trees and Lesser Whitethroats sing from hedgerow cover. Small parties of migrant Yellow Wagtails can be grounded amongst the sheep, while you may see Mediterranean Gulls. Stonechat. A good spot for raptors, such as Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel.
Spend some time scanning either side of the bridge along the canal where wildfowl, Kingfisher and egrets are likely.
3Open arable farmland supports Kestrel, Buzzard, partridges, Stock Dove, corvids, wagtails, buntings, sparrows and finches.
4Visit on a crisp, still midweek morning for best results
Cetti’s Warbler Yellow Wagtail