Trip reports

Evening walk at Northward Hill (Leader David Saunders)

Evening walk at Northward Hill (Leader David Saunders)
Re-enactors - Slough Fort, Allhallows

Friday, 18 August 2017

Last night I had the privilege to lead an evening walk at Northward Hill RSPB Reserve. It is always a pleasure to show members and others round this excellent site. The reserve is famous for nightingales and cuckoos. It was of course too late for both, but there was still plenty to see, even as the temperature dipped along with the light.

It was fantastic to be in the company of Medway Local Group's new leader Wendy Brownrigg and the RSPB's Hugo Blomfield.

For me it was a good opportunity to explain to those present the issues of Lodge Hill and the SSSI/nightingale complexities and Medway Councils plan to build 5,000 houses on the site and I made no apologies for banging that particular drum.

We set off to the Ernest Hemsley viewpoint and a chance to imbibe the breath-taking vistas across the North Kent Marsh with all the varied bird/wildlife out there. Then back through the alders and up to the recently named Sweeney Viewpoint, looking due north to Essex and beyond. On the scrapes were mallards, avocets and black-tailed godwits.

E then walked down to the dip and across the newly-reinforced bridge. At the bottom of Northward Hill Heron Trail we turned left across the field and toward the marsh proper, clocking up more bird species. It was also a great chance to talk about the history of the area, including the wartime radio transmitter building and the old smugglers pub, used by the infamous North Kent Gang.

One can only imagine the disparate and bloody battles that would take place betwixt the law-breakers and the Government's (customs) men. A glimpse of which could be seen from the re-enactors at the Slough Fort (Allhallows) open day, a week or two back at Allhallows Caravan Park.

By now darkness was descending and we made our way back to the car-park, but not before seeing a sparrowhawk, kestrel and marsh harrier. We could not miss the two to three thousand corvids accumulated on the grassland ready for the roosting scramble amongst the high oaks etc of the heronry area in the sanctuary.

18 people attended.

David Saunders