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.


Mar 2020

Ditch improvement at the centre of local community

The ditch running alongside the New Romney Youth Football Club pitch is in the process of being revitalised for wildlife and people. We are pruning willow trees to increase light levels and will then work with the local litter picking group to clear fly tipping and other rubbish to improve the local amenity. It is estimated that the works will be completed in March.

Feb 2020

Ditch improvement work at Dymchurch

Ditchwork at Dymchurch

Ditch-work is being undertaken near Dymchurch, just off the Eastbridge Road to the rear of Dymchurch Recreation ground. We have been working with the local farmer to reprofile a 1,000m length of ditch to open them up to allow more light to reach the bottom of the ditches. This allows a much greater diversity of aquatic plants, invertebrates and other animals.

Feb 2020

Farmer engagement meeting

We recently met with farmers from across the marsh to discuss farming clusters, enhancing biodiversity and cover cropping. The meeting took place in Ivy Church on 25 Feb.

Jun 2019

Workshop on managing ditches for wildlife

Workshop took place on 18 June. The workshop was well attended by local landowners, where we had a very interesting talk on soil health from Amanda Bennett. We also visited two sites and had lots of interesting discussions, and the bacon sandwiches seemed to go down well!

May 2019

Surveying Underway

Surveying ditches for wildlife

With the help of volunteers, we are now surveying ditches for wildlife. If you are keen to get involved have a look at our volunteering page.

May 2019

Workshop on managing ditches for wildlife

There will be a workshop for land owners and land managers on managing ditches for wildlife, which is taking place mid June and include presentations on soil health. Uptake has been high but we still have a few spaces left.

Mar 2019

Ditch works have completed for the season

Ditch works have now been completed for the season and we are looking forward to seeing how the ditches develop. Survey season starts shortly, so we are now looking for sites for next year.

Feb 2019

Ditch works nearing completion for the season

Ditch works nearing completion_opt

Site visit on 25 February with Bumblebee Project to view ditch works completed on a farm. Where possible Bumblebee Project donate suitable flowers to be planted along the ditch for bumblebees. Now looking for sites for next year.

Dec 2018

Ditch works working party

A2 Ditch working party 30_11_18

With the help of volunteers, planted Yellow Flag Iris and Purple Loosestrife along the banks of the restored ditch, which helps with the diversity along the ditch and increases the amount of flowering plants for bumblebees.

Dec 2018

Work progressing on ditch restoration

A2 Ditch reprofiling wind farm_2_opt

Re-profiled ditch banks – finishing off works at the Little Cheyne Court Wind farm, which brings the total length of re-profiled ditches to 2km.  In same location, the shallow pond we created last year is filling up.

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.

Visit our Blog & News page.


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.