Approaching Copper Lane from Thorn Road you will immediately see a well trimmed hedge around an open meadow. This meadow is owned by local people to preserve the natural habitat. The hedge is well kept but always trimmed at the best time of year for wildlife. The obvious flurry of house sparrows in and out of the hedges is evidence of a thriving population in the area.
Turning into Copper Lane, behind a thick, nature-friendly hedge on you right right, you may hear grunting sheep. They are a rare breed of Portland sheep that thrive on rough, coarse grass. The field is a haven for voles and small rodents, attracting barn, tawny and little owls that create the good old racket enjoyed by nearby neighbours in the evening.
Moving along you see a lovely working orchard on the left. It is a unique little environment with an abundance of wildlife. It sits on a south facing slope and at the bottom, by the road, are three very different little ponds. Kingfishers come to fish, and many more species visit to drink, especially seed-eating sparrows and yellowhammers from the hedge opposite. The lush surroundings are home to frogs, toads and newts, and a healthy population of grass snakes, lizards and slowworms. Herons are common, but great egrets have visited – but you will need to peep through the hedgerow along the road to avoid disturbing them.
The orchard feeds fieldfares and redwings in winter, and provides nest sites for chaffinches and wrens in the summer. With its variety of wildlife it’s very common to see kestrels and sparrow hawks searching for a meal.
Further along is another pond on the left with some rather large gold fish in which are a sight to be seen. Along this section there are glow worms to be found, but you will need to be out at night time to see these rare beetles glowing green in the roadside vegetation. Females glow to attract the males.
During the summer, keep your ears open to listen to the rare turtle doves. They breed in the lane’s trees and tall, ‘untidy’ hedgerows. The adjoining Moat Farm is specially managed to provide additional seed for them early in the breeding season, and to provide farmland weeds in summer for the seeds they need to feed their young. Marden is one of the best places in Kent to find this beautiful bird as it has now disappeared from most of the UK.