BBC 1 Secret England.
Published: Friday 15th Apr 2016
Written by: Carol Attwell
This week the program Secret England on BBC 1 covered the county of Kent.
Chris Hollins visited the bleak but stunning North Kent marshes, 50 acres of pristine marshland home to an amazing array of birdlife. It is a bird paradise as 100,000s flock to the mud flats to graze and breed.
These marshes contain hidden locations within Charles Dickens’s novels. He regularly rode and walked within the marshes to gain inspiration.
Denise Lewis embarked on some abseiling down the incredible 300 foot high Cliffs of Dover, she was on the hunt for Rock Samphire. 400 years ago Rock samphire was a sought after delicacy for the nobility in London and was expensive to buy. Peasants would risk their lives and that of their children to climb down the cliffs to harvest the plants.
Ellie Harrison visited the ancient and fertile Romney Marshes, a secluded landscape crisscrossed by lots of water channels and ditches. Hidden in the reed beds is the Marshmallow plant, a rare and protected plant. The plant gives its name to the delicious sweet. In the past the roots of the plant were boiled and the syrup used for medicinal purposes such as sore throats, and it is the cellulose from the roots that gives the sweet its gooey texture.
Winding its way through the Romney Marsh is the peaceful Royal Military Canal, this runs for 28 miles long and is the third largest defensive structure. It was built as a defence against a Napoleonic invasion. Today the residents of Hythe hold a Venetian parade every two years where the floats are pulled down the canal by rowing boats and at night the floats are lit up and the evening finishes with a fabulous firework display.
So as the bluebells burst into bloom and the temperature rises now is the perfect time to visit the secret and not so secret county of Kent.
( Written by Tina Evans)