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. They are available seven days a week from 10am to 6pm (last hire usually 5pm)  April until the end of September.

Costs are £20 per boat for one hour of rowing.

Enjoy the calm and peaceful atmosphere, sit back and relax (don't row too hard) and take in the beautiful scenery.

For more information, please contact: 07360617411. Or visit @livingthehythelife on Instagram for more hire information and photos of those that have gone before you!

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

Private boats and canoeing

To use your own boat, rowing boat, canoe, paddle board, dinghy or other small non-motorised craft between Seabrook Outfall and West Hythe Dam on the Royal Military Canal you must have a permit and public liability insurance. 

Apply or renew a boat, canoe or paddle board licence 

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:

  • fishing permit
  • rod licence, which you can get from GOV.UK 
  • If you can’t get online to buy your rod fishing licence, you can call the Environment Agency’s telesales service from a land line. Call 0344 800 5386 (Monday to Friday, 8am – 6pm, except public holidays)

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 car park, located in West Hythe, off West Hythe Road, nearest postcode. CT21 4NB