Royal Military Canal
A Unique Military Monument
The Royal Military Canal is a unique structure. It was built between 1804 and 1809 to protect England from Napoleon. A £3.35 million programme for the restoration of the eastern section of the Canal has provided a wide range of new enhanced falicites for your enjoyment.
History of the Canal
The reason why the Canal was built was for the defence against a probable invasion in the Napoleonic Wars with France (1793 - 1815). Work started on 30th October 1804. Digging took just 22 months but the Canal was not finished and ready for service until 1812 when the field guns were placed. By then the French Navy had been defeated at the Batle of Trafalgar (1805) and there was not a threat of invasion any longer.
A Heaven for Wildlife
As well as the important military monument which is, the Canal is a habitat for wildlife. Some of the plants and animals living here are national rarities, but you will surely see some of the main wildlife. Over the next 10 years an enviromental management plan is being implemented in order to enhance the ecological importance of the Canal.
Walking, Cycling and Horse Riding
The Canal corridor provides footpaths, cycleways and bridleways. The 3m wide Royal Military Road runs on the northern side of the Canal, from Seabrook to West Hythe Dam and allows better access for walkers, cyclists and disabled users. It is now part of the Royal Military Canal Path, the Saxon Shore long distance footpath and the National Cycle Network Route 2. A new bridleway has also been placed on the Canal from Seabrook to Hythe.
There are picnic tables and benches all along the Canal. Many are alongside the characteristic 'kinks', which give the Canal a very interesting zigzag pattern. These sharp double bends, located every 600 yards, enabled the waterway to covered by crossfire field guns.
In the past the Canal was stocked with tench; today it is full of carp, pike, perch, eels and many other fish. Fishing permits can be obtained from the Cinque Ports Angling Society.