⚠ Unfortunately, we have had to close part of our discovery trail, because of flooding. Upon arrival our staff and volunteers will be able to update you on the best routes, when you check in at the visitor centre. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. ⚠
The Dungeness reserve is set back from the sea, boasting mile after mile of open shingle, freshwater pits, wet grassland and stunning wildflower meadows. We look after the reserve's wet and dry grasslands to create good breeding conditions for Lapwings, Redshanks and Garganeys, as well as two uncommon bumblebee species – the Brown-banded Carder Bee and Red-shanked Carder Bee.
Watch the sky in spring and autumn for hundreds of Swallows, Swifts and martins feeding over Burrowes pit. Listen for the booming of our Bitterns and the unmistakable call of the Cuckoo. In the summer, the meadows are a riot of colourful wildflowers which attract nectar-loving pollinators like bees and butterflies.
It is always a joy to watch the Hobbies performing their acrobatic displays over the reserve as they hunt insects during the summer months. In the autumn, many different species of waders will stop to feed here in their hundreds before migrating elsewhere for the winter. Other migrating birds such as Whinchats, Redstarts, Wheatears and Ring Ouzels, will all be present in varying numbers.
Winter sees large numbers of Wigeons, Gadwalls, Teals, Shovelers, Pochards, Tufted Ducks, Goldeneyes and Pintails. Bewick's and Whooper Swans are also a species highlight seen around the reserve at this time. Other birds such as Goldcrests, Firecrests, Goldfinches, Robins and Fieldfares can be spotted when they overwinter here.
Lade Pits is a unique site for history as well as wildlife, as it contains three Scheduled Ancient Monuments, which are of international significance. The Denge Sound Mirrors (also known as the Acoustic Mirrors or Listening Ears) are three concrete structures which range in size from 20 to 200 feet. They were built between 1928 and 1935 as part of Britain's national defence strategy. The Sound Mirrors are open to the public during organised events.