ICK­LE­SHAM

A scenic sum­mer walk on the Wealden rim

Bird Watching (UK) - - Go Bird­ing - PAUL TRODD

THIS SUM­MER BIRD­ING walk, sand­wiched be­tween the Brede Val­ley to the north and the coastal hills to­wards Hast­ings, winds its way through clas­sic Wealden coun­try­side, com­plete with an old wind­mill and oast houses (which were used for dry­ing hops) as a re­minder of a by­gone hop-pick­ing age. On the high ground, scat­tered or­chards, copses, graz­ing pad­docks and weedy fields all add to the va­ri­ety of habi­tats on of­fer. From the sand­stone ridge, view­points along the cliff edge and across the graz­ing mead­ows of Pett Level af­ford the chance of watch­ing soar­ing rap­tors such as Buz­zard, Hobby and Marsh Har­rier, plus sea views out across the English Chan­nel. The walk then de­scends into the Pan­nel Val­ley wet­land, with reedbeds, marshy ground and la­goons, some of which can be viewed from a cou­ple of hides. De­pend­ing on the cur­rent man­age­ment ar­range­ments, and whether the scrapes have been flooded, a va­ri­ety of wet­land species could be seen. Even so, war­blers abound and look for King­fisher, Marsh Har­rier and Hobby. Fur­ther along the track to­wards the farm, the habi­tat looks ideal for Marsh War­bler.

Marsh Har­rier

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