Dungeness RSPB Discovery Trail
A picturesque loop showcasing all Dungeness has to offer!
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Explore the unique shingle landscape of Dungeness on this stile free route. Most of the walk comprises of compacted shingle pathways with smaller sections of short grass.
You will be greeted to the reserve by a member of our team outside in the welcome hut just by the entrance to the Visitor Centre. In the Visitor Centre you will find our RSPB shop with a range of optics and gifts as well as bird food and feeder products. You will also find a selection of snacks and drinks to purchase and enjoy in the Visitor Centre’s seating area or whilst out on your walk.
Once you are checked in and ready to start the walk you will head out through the nature trail exit in the shop. The nature reserve comprising of a vast shingle landscape is designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC.) It is a great place to see migratory birds in spring and winter and stretches right across the Dungeness landscape with over 1000 hectares owned by the RSPB.
The shingle of Dungeness is home to some of the rarest flora and fauna as well as 1550 species of invertebrates, some not found anywhere else. The medical leech and great crested newt can also be found in various pools and ponds around the reserve.
Making the most of your walk
This walk is a birdwatcher’s paradise and features a number of hides as well as viewpoints and lookouts which all offer a different and unique view across the freshwater pits where many species can be found – don’t forget your binoculars! The reserve is a highly appointed RSPB site and you are sure not to leave disappointed with the range of wildlife that you will find here.
This walk is suited to a great family trip out or to if you’re new to walking and looking for an interesting new route to try.
PLEASE NOTE: Disabled users can drive their cars to Scott Lookout from the car park or exit the car park and drive around to Dengemarsh hide. They just need to check in to the welcome hut so we know they are out on site. This is ideal for those less able to walk long distances but still want to enjoy the reserve and hides.
Step by step guide
Start: Check in with our team at our welcome hut. Here you can also hire pond dipping equipment, binoculars or find out what events we have coming up. Then walk through the shop and start the trail by exiting out of the nature trail door.
Continue along the main path you will pass Firth Lookout – a fantastic new addition to the reserve offering shelter and breath-taking views across Burrowe’s pit.
Continue past the area where Makepeace Hide will soon be replaced to reach Scott Lookout, another area which offers wonderful views across our largest freshwater pit.
Once you have watched the many cormorants in the trees with awe, join the path again and follow it until you get to Christmas Dell Hide which is set back from the trail slightly, on the right.
Following the main trail again you will reach a crossroads. Here you can choose to explore the Hayfields to the left along the Public Footpath, Visit Dengemarsh Hide directly opposite, or turn right to continue along the trail.
Along this trail on the right which heads back you will come to an opening on the left which allows fantastic viewing opportunities low down to the water’s edge. Can you spot the Kingfisher?
Continue along the main trail to find the Viewing Ramp on the left. This is a raised mound offering fantastic views across reedbed. Here the Bitterns can be heard April-May and Bearded tits can be observed collecting grit in the tray opposite – a behaviour which aids them in digesting food during the colder months.
As you join the main trail again after a short distance there is a sign on the right saying ‘Trail to Visitor Centre’ follow this for the quickest route back to the centre. This route takes you through thick areas of gorse and scrub where many small birds can be seen flitting from branch to branch.
Cross the small bridge to enter our ‘Discovery Area’ here you will find an area for den building, tree climbing, some reptile mats to lift up and a bug hotel to explore. What will you spot? Let the team know!
As you leave this area you will join the boardwalk which takes you back into the car park. There is another hide to the left of the visitor centre called Dennis’ hide. Fantastic for watching a variety of waterfowl on Burrowe’s pit. Then, feel free to pop back in the shop for another drink or bite to eat.