DAYSOUT KENT’S WONDERFUL Wildlife Walks cont. Bough Beech The Hoo Peninsula Lower Leas Coastal Park // Folkestone The Hoo Peninsula The Lower Leas Coastal Park has won awards and quite rightly so. It is a fantastic place for all kinds of outdoor activities, and there are concerts, plays and children’s workshops too. Migrating birds and insects are prevalent here, and, in the under cliff area, there is even a unique microclimate, which means that wildlife that is usually rarely found in the UK can be spotted there. These marshes in North Kent are where Charles Dickens set the opening scenes of Great Expectations and it is a bleak and desolate place. Which is wonderful because it is just as evocative and beautiful now as it was then. Walking in the Hoo Peninsula there is so much to see. The marshes and pools are extremely special, and attract around 200,000 wildfowl and waders during the winter months including ducks and geese, as well as little egret, redshank, avocet and lapwing. Rarer still are the breeding birds like term and Mediterranean gulls, but it’s not just birds that make the peninsular interesting – there are water voles, safe in this environment, and the Maid of Kent rove beetle which was thought to be extinct and then was rediscovered in the Hoo Peninsula. The peninsula even has four areas of marsh that have been protected by the EU; these are a Special Protection Area for Birds. It really is a special place indeed. Bough Beech // Ide Hill Bough Beech Nature Reserve is an absolute haven for wildlife and is a great day out on top. There is a gorgeous trail to follow that extends in a circle for two miles – the ground is uneven and muddy and it’s absolutely wonderful. Kids and adults alike will have the time of their lives as they explore the area around Bough Beech and Ide Hill, and come across some stunning views. There are plenty of examples of beautiful wildlife to see in the area too. As well as the walk, Bough Beech is famous for its bird watching areas and there are regular events from the Kent Wildlife Trust, of which Bough Beech is a part. These include bat walks, bird identification and woodland crafts. www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/nature-reserves/bough-beech 108 Hambrook Marshes // Canterbury Owned by the Love Hambrook Marshes Trust, this area is all about conservation and teaching people about the importance of caring for the land around them. There are dozens of footpaths that will take you around this one-time quarry and all along the routes you will find information panels that tell you more about the landscape and the wildlife that can be found there.