Blue Lanes




You can’t travel far on Romney Marsh before coming across a ditch. These waterways criss-cross every part of the marsh and are evidence of man’s efforts to control water in this very low-lying landscape. Centuries of land drainage have reduced marshy habitats from covering the land to existing solely within the ditch system and as such vulnerable to change.

This project is looking at ways of enhancing the ditch network for wildlife in two ways. Firstly by providing funding and coordination of capital works to ditches that have been left unmanaged for a long time or are looking to improve the shape of them to benefit wildlife. The other strand is by providing workshops and advice leaflets to land owners and land managers on how best to manage ditches, the real win here is that benefitting wildlife also benefits landowners by creating a more resilient ditch network able to hold water when needed during dry spells and provide storage to prevent flooding when it is wet.

By funding the initial outlay for ditch re-profiling which can be prohibitively expensive, it allows cheaper regular maintenance to be carried out more efficiently and provides excellent legacy for the project.

Blue Lanes contributes to Restore project theme.


There are opportunities to become volunteer wildlife surveyors. From April to September there is the chance to come out and survey ditches for wildlife. This is a vital part of deciding what management will be needed. No experience necessary as there will be training opportunities within the Monitoring of the Marsh Project but a keenness to learn and an acceptance of getting muddy are essential!

Visit the volunteering page to find out more about getting involved with Fifth Continent projects.


Nov 2018

Ditch works underway

Ditch works underway

Works started off Kingsmarsh Lane near Lydd. Works carried out to benefit water voles. Two old pipes taken out and 600m of watercourse now suitable for voles.

Oct 2018

Planning of ditch works

Specification prepared. Contractors visiting sites to provide quotes and detailed method statements for ditch works

Sep 2018

Surveys of additional ditches completed

Surveys of additional ditches to inform future works completed.  Report has been written and is now being shared with land owners and partners, with the view to agreeing works for this winter (2018/19)

May 2018

Surveys started on additional ditches

With the help of volunteers, we have started surveying additional ditches to inform future works. This will continue on a weekly basis for approximately eight weeks. Help with survey work would be gratefully received.

May 2018

Drone footage captured

A drone has captured film footage of the works in progress. This will be repeated once the plants have re-grown and put into a film, which will be shared once it is complete.

Apr 2018

Drone footage

A drone has been organised to fly over the area to capture film footage of the works to ditches.

Mar 2018

Works completed at Little Cheyne Court

new ditch pond

We have finished works for this year on this site. Over 1.6 km of ditch restored so far and have a look at our new pond! it may look rather muddy at the moment but in spring new growth will start. Can’t wait to see what grows up!

Feb 2018

Improving the ditches for wildlife

Works have started at the first site to improve the ditches for wildlife. The landowner has kindly agreed to putting in some big wildlife friendly features, so watch this space for details! New landowners are coming on board to look at doing works next winter, surveys will begin in spring 2018.

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It is planned to create a number of short films about Romney Marsh during the life of the scheme and this will include recording the progress of the projects. Go to the film footage page to get details of the films we have produced so far.


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To find out more including how to get involved contact the project team.