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Royal Military Canal

The Royal Military Canal is a canal running for 28 miles (45 km) between Seabrook near Folkestone in the north east  and Cliff End near Hastings in the south west, following the old cliff line bordering Romney Marsh.

Royal Military Canal today nr Hythe
Royal Military Canal Today nr Hythe

The canal was built as a third line of defence against Napoleon, after the British Royal Navy patrolling the English Channel and the line of 74 Martello Towers built along the south coast.

The Royal Military Canal was constructed in two sections. The longest section starts at Hythe in Kent and ends at Iden Lock in East Sussex.

The second smaller section runs from the foot of Winchelsea Hill to Cliff End. Both sections are linked by the Rivers Rother and Brede.

 

Map of the Canal

Today, the  canal is an important environmental site. The Environment Agency is the navigation authority and uses the waterway to manage water levels on Romney Marsh and Walland Marsh. It is important for fish and other wildlife, including kingfishers, dragonflies and marsh frogs, and it passes through several Sites of Special Scientific Interest. There is now a public footpath for the entire length of the canal via Hythe, West Hythe, Bonnington, Bilsington, Ruckinge, Hamstreet, Warehorne, Kenardington, Appledore, Rye and Winchelsea.