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The rivers flowing through Kent are mainly chalk rivers, which are prevalent in the south-east of England and are of superior quality in many regards. They sustain a highly diverse biocoenosis, which has also played its role in the subsistence of local communities throughout the centuries. Fish species such as trout (brown trout in particular) and salmon thrive in chalk rivers, besides a number of other wildlife species which are almost exclusive to this biotope, such as the white-clawed crayfish.
Aside from natural waterways, in order to facilitate navigation, a number of projects were designed by local authorities towards developing more navigable canals in Kent, aside from the existing ones, yet were never completed. Another one, the Thames and Medway Canal, was used intensely during the 19th Century yet abandoned afterwards. The only currently in use are Dartford and Crayford Navigation and the Royal Military Canal.

Rivers & Canals Ashford
Ashford Green Corridor Nature Reserve
Ashford Ashford Green Corridor Nature Reserve is an attractive retreat where visitors can relax and enjoy the local wildlife. The Great Stour floodplain runs through urban Ashford and provides valuable green space and wildlife habitats. Most of this area is designated as a local nature reserve, and supports wildlife including voles, kingfishers and bats. Visitors to the reserve can enjoy a walk or cycle ride along most of the corridor. The site also benefits from children's play areas and information boards.
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Rivers & Canals Canterbury
Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve
Stodmarsh, Near Canterbury The Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve covers 241 hectares of diverse and attractive landscape comprising reed beds, grazing marsh & lagoons. There are several bird hides located on the reserve, and these are great places to spot the abundance of bird life that enjoys the habitat. Numerous footpaths run through Stodmarsh, including two easy access nature trails. The Stour Valley Walk and the Saxon Shore Way long distance walks also connect to the reserve.

Gazen Salts Nature Reserve
Strand Street, Sandwich Gazen Salts Nature Reserve offers around 1.5 miles of footpaths, winding through a variety of habitats, including lakes, reedbeds and a meadow area. The area provides a safe roost for many birds in winter, and is home to a small collection of pinioned wildfowl.
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Rivers & Canals Dartford
River Darent
The River Darent flows through a wide valley from its source near Westerham, to the Thames at Dartford. It has pleasant walks along much of the route, especially around Lullingstone Castle, Eynsford, and Central Park in Dartford. The river once boasted more than 20 mills, although most have now gone, and those that remain are in danger of disappearing under the wave on new housing developments. The old ford at Eynsford (pictured right) can still be used, & the village makes a good base for exploring the prettiest section of the river. It also flows past attractions such as Lullingstone Castle, and Roman Villa.
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Rivers & Canals Dover
Grove Ferry Picnic Site
Upstreet Opening times: dawn to dusk Directions: Turn off the 428 (Canterbury to Margate Road) just east of Upstreet onto Grove Road. The entrance to the site is on the left, just after the road crosses the railway line. Grove Ferry is an ideal spot for picnicking in the tended meadows, or fishing in the River Stour. Fishing rights were granted during the reign of Henry II and are still available today. Some of the fishing swims (sections of the river where fish are found) have been adapted for those with disabilities. It is a good base for following the Stour Valley Walk, the Saxon Shore Way or the Wantsum Walks, and is adjacent to Stodmarsh National Reserve. During the summer months you can also take a pleasant boat trip on the River Stour from the Grove Ferry Inn.

Gazen Salts Nature Reserve
Strand Street, Sandwich Gazen Salts Nature Reserve offers around 1.5 miles of footpaths, winding through a variety of habitats, including lakes, reedbeds and a meadow area. The area provides a safe roost for many birds in winter, and is home to a small collection of pinioned wildfowl.

Kearsney Abbey Gardens
Alkham Road, Dover The beautiful gardens at Kearsney Abbey provide a peaceful spot to relax and enjoy nature. The gardens are laid out as informal parkland, and are based around two ornamental lakes that the River Dour flows through. The main Abbey itself was demolished many years ago, but the west wing remains and is now used as a café facility for visitors to the park. The site is popular at all times of the year, but especially in the summer time when the lawns become a favourite picnic site. A play area for children is available & the lower lake is used for model Boating.

Russell Gardens and Bushy Ruff Country Park
Alkham Road, Dover Opening times: Park is open all day The attractive Russell Gardens and games facilities make a fun day out for the family. Situated on the opposite side of the road to Kearsney Abbey and is laid out in a more formal style. Facilities are available for tennis and putting (seasonal), and a play area is provided for children. Bushy Ruff Country Park is is set around a lake at the western end of the recreation grounds. The pleasant natural surroundings make it a lovely place to enjoy a walk. There is also an open space for dog walkers.
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Rivers & Canals Gravesham
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Rivers & Canals Maidstone
Teston Bridge Country Park
Teston Lane, Teston, ME1S 5BX Opening times: 9am to dusk or 9pm. Whichever is earlier. Teston Bridge Country Park is the ideal place for a family day out by the river. There is plenty to keep children busy with a large open, green space to run around in, and an enclosed area with children's play equipment. The site is also the venue for two annual kite flying festivals, which take place in July & August. On the eastern bank are the picturesque ruins of Tutsham Mill, which are covered in ivy. Teston Bridge is a Site of Nature Conservation Interest & attracts many different forms of wildlife. Birds such as the kingfisher, terns and snipe can be seen from time to time. And during the summer months, bats including pipistrelle, noctule and daubenton glide up & down the banks searching for air-borne insects. The site is named after Teston Bridge, an historic medieval bridge over the River Medway. The bridge had to be widened in 1749 to allow barges to sail to Maidstone when the river was made navigable. Teston Lock was built in 1911 and beside it is one of the last weirs on the Medway (Most of the weirs were removed in the 16th Century because of the severe flooding they caused).

Mote Park
Off Mote Avenue, Maidstone, ME15 75U Opening times: Depending on time of year from dawn to dusk Mote Park, Maidstone's largest park, is set in 450 acres of historic parkland. Within walking distance of Maidstone town centre it offers a pleasant and relaxing enviroment, making it a great place to spend the day. There are a range of sports facilities including football pitches, a pitch and putt golf course, and horse riding is allowed in the park for those with permits. The large lake in the middle of the park supports a large variety of water fowl, and offers opportunities for sailing, angling and model boating.

Maidstone Millennium River Park
St Peters Street, Maidstone, ME16 OSX Maidstone Millenium River Park was created by the people of Maidstone, with help from the Millenium Commission. The park runs along the banks of the River Medway from the Teston Bridge Country Park to Allington. It offers 10km of easily accessible paths linked by three nationally acclaimed pedestrian bridges. The park features a rose garden & a roofed ampitheatre. The creation of the park led to the planting of 1500 new trees in Maidstone.
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Rivers & Canals Medway
Thames and Medway Canal
Known by some as the Gravesend and Rochester Canal, the Thames & Medway was originally built in the early 1300's to provide a shorter route between Chatham Dockyard, and the Thames ports in London. It would reduce the 47 mile journey round the Hoo peninsular to just seven miles. It was never a great success, & later that century the 2 mile long tunnel at Higham was shared with the new North Kent Railway. Soon afterwards, the canal sold the tunnel to the railway, who filled in the canal bed so that it could be used as a double track line. It is still possible to see some parts of the canal, thanks to the preservation group, and the ticket office of Higham Station was once the office of the canal towing contractor.

Riverside Country Park
Lower Rainham Road, Gillingham, ME7 2XH Opening times: Winter: 830am to 500pm Summer: 830am to dusk (8:30 latest) Riverside Country Park is an excellent site for Winter birdwatching. Situated alongside the Medway Estuary at Gillingham, the park is made up of many different habitats, including ponds, reedbed and grassland. There is plenty of green space for walking, picnics, and children to play - making it a great place to visit for a fun day out. The park offers good & accessible viewpoints from where you can look out over the North Kent Marshes.

Cliffe Pools
Bromhey Farm, Eastborough, Rochester, ME3 8DS Cliffe Pools is a great place to go for fantastic views over the North Kent Marshes, walks in a beautiful setting or to enjoy the birdlife. It comprises a mixture of large salt water lagoons, fresh pools & grassland. This environment attracts large numbers of birds, particularly waders and wildfowl. It is also a good place to see water voles, harvest mice and an array of insects. Cliffe Pools is a relatively 'young' and developing site.
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Rivers & Canals Sevenoaks
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Rivers & Canals Shepway
Brockhill Country Park
Sandling Road, Saltwood, CT21 4HL.
Off Junction 11 of the M20, and follow signs towards Saltwood.
A popular family-orientated park, with lots to offer. Brockhill Country Park was previously part of a large estate that dates
back to Norman times. The old manor house is now part of the Brockhill Performing Arts School, & is located next to the park. Pleasant walking year round, with its open grazed valley fringed
with large specimen trees. A stream runs through the centre of the valley, & the park is rich in wildlife) including marbled white butterflies) green woodpeckers) carpets of snowdrops & even bamboo left over from its days as a Victorian pleasure garden.
It is a Site of Nature Conservation Interest & has 3 distinctive areas to explore:
'The Deer Paddock' is an attractive grassy area with trees, such as walnut & sycamore.'The Lake' is a shady oasis for wildlife, with intruiging paths under the canopy of trees.'The Valley' is the largest area of the park, with alder trees along the Brockhill stream.
A large, man-made lake forms the centre of the site. Two small islands sit within the lake & the larger is the final resting place of William Tournay, the last lord of Brockhill Manor.

Royal Military (Hythe) Canal
The Royal Military Canal is a unique military monument built between 1804 and 1809 to protect England from invasion by Napoleon. A £3.35 million restoration programme on the eastern section of the canal has provided a range of new and enhanced facilities for all to enjoy. The canal corridor provides a 7km stretch of footpaths and bridleways from Seabrook Outfall to West Hythe Dam. There are free car parks at both ends of the canal, and interpretive panels explaining the importance of the habitat for the wildlife, some of which are national rarities.
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Rivers & Canals Swale
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Rivers & Canals Thanet
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Rivers & Canals Tonbridge
Haysden Country Park
Off Lower Haysden Lane, Tonbridge. Tel: 01732 844522 This 170 acre Country Park owes much of its character to the Haysden and Barden lakes and the River Medway. Visitors can take time to explore the Nature and Historical Trails, or simply enjoy a stroll or cycle in the countryside. The park also has a children's play area and an outdoor picnic area. With two lakes and a stretch of the River Medway running through it, the park is a popular venue for water activities. There are interesting nature and historical trails and fishing.

Manor Park Country Park
St Leonard's Street, West MaIling Opening times: gam to dusk or 9pm. Whichever is earlier. 01622 817623 Once part of an 18th Century estate created by Thomas Douce, Manor Park is an attractive location with plenty for children to enjoy. The park has a large, open green space, and an attractive lake. Located just a short walk to the south of West MaIling, visitors can take relaxing walks through meadows and around the waters edge. Manor Park is a Site of Nature Conservation Interest with a variety of native trees. The lake and the surrounding copses support an abundance of wildlife, including swans, coot, moorhen, mallard and dabchicks. In the area of the park that borders St Leonard's Street, lies the remains of the ice house - a brick building that was used to store ice from the lake, for use in the kitchens of the estate throughout the year. In summer, the Ice House Field comes alive with flowers, including dog daisy, buttercups, and the unusual 'hay rattle'. The hay rattle is a small, yellow flowering plant that sets its seeds in small round pouches, and, when dry, these rattle in the breeze.
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Rivers & Canals Tunbridge Wells
Dunorian Park
Pembury Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 3QD Opening times: 730am to dusk Located on the outskirts of Tunbridge Wells, Dunorlan Park is a spacious and elegant site. Visitors can enjoy its wide grassy slopes and magnificent views across the park's lake, to the Weald. The park has a putting green, events field and a cafe, and, in the summer, boating takes place on the lake.

Bewl Water
Near Lamberhurst, TN3 8JH Open daily 9am-sunset, except concerts and Christmas Bewl Water is the largest inland water in the southeast of England. With a perimeter of 17 miles, the reservoir lies in a gentle valley in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, between the villages of Lamberhurst, Wadhurst and Ticehurst. Built during the 1970s, the careful landscaping of the scheme, plus consideration given to access and conservation, helped create a reservoir that was not just a water supply facility capable of storing 6,900 million gallons when full, but also a living area of countryside that visitors and many thousands of wildlife species could share side by side. Today Bewl Water is one of the top tourist destinations in Kent and Sussex. With a range of popular attractions and activities, it also provides a home to over three thousand different wildlife species whilst continuing to fulfil a water supply function that is of everincreasing importance within the area. There are paths for cycling, walking, or horse-riding around the lake, and all manner of water based activities are on offer throughout the summer.
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