Places to see birds

Northward Hill RSPB Reserve

Northward Hill RSPB Reserve

Seasonal highlights at Northward Hill:

UK's largest heronry from February to May, with more than 150 pairs of grey herons each year. Since 2000, they have been joined by breeding little egrets, and now 50 pairs of this small white heron nest annually.

In spring, turtle doves, nightingales and warblers join resident breeding bird species such as woodpeckers and tits.

Over six miles (10 km) of trails, with fantastic panoramas over the Marshes and peaceful bluebell-filled woodland walks. Please note that dogs are permitted on a lead on the woodland trails and on public footpaths, but not to the Heronry viewpoint.

Please note that there are no toilets or other facilities on the reserve. Public toilets, a local shop and pub food are available in High Halstow. There are also public toilets at the main car park at Bromhey Farm. The woodland trails can become muddy during the winter months so please were appropriate footwear.

What to look for in spring:

Herons and egrets nest in the woodland
Nightingales singing in the dense undergrowth
Carpets of bluebells bloom from mid-April to mid-May
Lapwings and redshanks display on the marshes
Whitethroats singing from the scrub
Avocets nesting on the reservoir islands

What to look for in summer:

Hobbies hunting dragonflies over the marsh
Marsh harriers quartering the marsh and reedfleets
Many species of butterfly on the wing, including the rare white-letter hairstreak
Large numbers of little egrets returning to roost in the wood before dusk
Turtle doves 'purring' from overhead wires

What to look for in autumn:

Migrating wading birds such as spotted redshanks and green sandpipers on the reservoirs
Swallows gathering around the farm buildings
Large numbers of dragonflies flying over the reserve in late summer and early autumn
Noisy jays collecting acorns from the wood

What to look for in winter:

Waterfowl gathering on marshland floods
Flocks of wintering thrushes, finches and buntings in the scrub
Wintering birds of prey, including hen harriers, peregrines, buzzards and merlins

How to get here:

Map reference TQ768765
Postcode ME3 8DS

From the A228, follow the road to High Halstow from where the two RSPB car parks are signposted. Northward Hill woodland car park is in the village off Northwood Avenue, and the Northward Hill main car park is located at Bromhey Farm, signposted on the road between High Halstow and Cooling.

If you are travelling via public transport then contact Arriva buses on 01634 283600.

Permits are required to visit the heronry, these are free to members, £2 to non-members. Contact the reserve office for details:

RSPB North West Kent Reserves
Bromhey Farm

Telephone: 01634 222480

To keep up to date with the very latest sightings and activities at Northward Hill, why not follow this interesting blog by David Saunders. Click on the link below.