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Royal Military Canal

The Royal Military Canal (originally intended to be a Napoleonic defence) is now an award-winning haven for wildlife, recipient of the Green Flag award every year since 2010

Please note that magnet fishing is banned on this canal

Play area at Battery Point

Rustic oak benches have been placed in prime locations for all users to rest and enjoy the views and wildlife. There are 23 picnic tables with metal protection sheets for using disposable BBQs. Many are alongside the unique 'kinks', which give the canal its distinctive zigzag pattern.

A children's play feature is located next to the pay and display car park at the start of the canal in Seabrook. It's based on a scale model of the canal's unique cross section with swings, a new log climbing frame and balancing trail.

Walking, cycling and horse riding

The canal corridor features footpaths, cycle routes and bridleways. The 3m wide Royal Military Road runs on the northern side of the canal, from Seabrook to Aldergate Lane and allows better access for walkers, horse riders, cyclists and disabled users. It is now part of the Royal Military Canal Path, the Saxon Shore Way long distance footpath and the National Cycle Network Route 2.

The Romney Marsh Countryside Project arranges guided walks and activities along the canal.

Boat hire

You can hire boats from the Boat Hut in Ladies Walk, Hythe.

Rowing boats can be hired between Easter weekend and the end of September, from 1 hour to up to half a day. Punting is also available if pre-booked.

An electric passenger boat service also operates from the Boat Hut and offers a silent journey through the town and into the countryside; keep your eyes peeled for kingfishers! La Tienne operates on the canal under licence and in partnership with us. She sails all summer through to late autumn.

For bookings and enquiries visit Electric Boat Hythe or contact Allen Upward on 07885 318301.

Private boats and canoeing

To use your own boat or canoe on the canal you must have a permit  and public liability insurance.

Model boats are not permitted on the canal.


The canal is stocked with carp, pike, perch, bream, rudd, eels and other freshwater fish.

You'll need both a:

Where to fish

You should use the allocated areas of the canal when fishing on day tickets and during competitions.

There are currently four single fishing platforms suitable for users with disabilities, two at West Hythe disabled car park and two at Burmarsh Bridge.

Scanlon's Bridge next to the Light Railway Cafe has a 35m length platform suitable for many fishermen and wheelchair users.

The stretch from West Hythe Bridge to the dam is private fishing for club members only.

Wildlife monitoring 

There are currently 35 bird boxes in mature trees to help provide homes for a variety of birds (eg blue tits, great tits, robins, blackbirds, treecreepers) and bats.

Reptile monitoring stations are positioned in open areas among long grass, but hidden from the public. These stations help monitor species such as grass snakes, common lizards and slow worms.

Glow worm monitoring takes place during the summer evenings at West Hythe.

Canal habitats and biodiversity 

We manage the canal in a way which supports and creates habitats along its banks to allow a diverse range of species to coexist with the many visitors to the canal. The programme includes monitoring and managing the wildlife and their habitats. The waterway vegetation is kept in check to allow recreational activities while also providing habitat for plants and animals to thrive.

Some of the plants and animals living on the canal are national rarities. Most of the canal is designated as a Local Wildlife Site, important for the conservation of wildlife such as the lesser spotted woodpecker, Cetti's warbler and greater water-parsnip.

Annual tree planting

Annual tree planting is carried out to sustain a variety of wildlife habitats and provide a valuable food source for numerous birds and animals.

So far over 220 trees have been planted and over 8,300 young tree saplings and shrubs. Most of these are native and have been chosen for their wildlife benefit. These trees include:

  • hawthorn
  • field maple
  • wild cherry
  • hazel
  • common oak
  • alder
  • whitebeam

As the trees mature they will provide suitable habitats for protection, shelter and a valuable food source.

As trees fall into decline, their rotting logs and branches encourage fungi, larval insects and bacteria to break down the plant material and return the nutrients to the soil.

Where to park

The Royal Military Canal has a small free car park, located in West Hythe, off West Hythe Road, nearest postcode. CT21 4NB

Consult our parking map for other car parks in the district.

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