Tanner Farm – KCC Permissive Path

Mar 25, 2022

The river Teise runs off the High Weald and joins the river Beult some distance north of here.

In 2022, the crop is Winter Wheat (it was planted in the autumn of 2021, so it grew slowly over the winter to get off to a good start in spring). When this is harvested, a crop of mixed herbs and legumes will be sown and will remain for two years as part of a Countryside Stewardship Agreement on the farm.  With its mix of vetches and other herbs, we aim to restore natural fertility to the soil, increase the soil’s water-holding capacity, and reduce chemical and fertiliser inputs.  The flowers and seeds of these plants will be excellent for pollinating insects and birds.

Kingfishers are regularly seen along this stretch and you can often hear its call above the noise of the water. Skylarks soar over the field singing to mark out their territory. In spring and summer yellowhammers, blackcaps and chiffchaffs sing. You may also be lucky to hear the lilting song of the willow warbler, an increasingly rare bird in Kent. Listen out for cuckoos too. In the winter, dainty yellow and black siskins are often heard picking seeds from alder cones. The bramble scrub at the edge of the path is valuable: it provides nesting sites and food for birds, and butterflies and moths feed on nectar from its flowers.

The path is a corridor for insects.  Meadow Brown, Orange Tip, Large Skipper and Peacock butterflies may all be seen.  The scrubby border of the riverbank is a good place to look for dayflying micro-moths basking in early sunshine.  Alabonia geoffrella, which moth enthusiasts call ‘Geoff’, is an eye-catching example.

The Teise here is notable for dragon and damselflies, especially Banded Demoiselle and White Legged damselflies.

Interesting plants grow at the side of the path: look out for the purple cushions of Knapweeds, both common and greater, the yellow of Perforate St John’s Wort, the vivid blue of Germander Speedwell, the white of Greater Stitchwort and, further upstream, mauve-coloured Bush Vetch.

The riverbank is very steep all the way along the path, and the water can be fast-flowing. Please keep your family and pets safe by keeping them well away from the bank.  Please keep dogs under close control to aid our efforts to make space for nature, and as many people walk this path, please clear up after your dog.  Thank you.

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