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Kearsney Parks Water Wildlife

Kearsney Parks Water Wildlife

Location: Kearnsey Parks, Russell Garden and Bushey Ruff Country Park, Dover

Date: 14th June 2023

Blog Written by: Tamsin (Walk Leader)

Today I led a group of people with limited mobility on scooters and supported one individual with a standard wheelchair (taking turns with her friend to push) on a mini adventure. We took the path from the Kearsney Abbey Tea Room (the old billiards room) through a small part of the stunning grounds of Kearsney Abbey, past meandering streams of water then crossing the road to enter Russell Gardens; 

It was a lovely hot and sunny day and with the trees along the way providing a good amount of shade to stop and cool off at.

We scooted up to the Lily Pond which is located at the bottom of Kearsney Court in Russell Gardens. The pond has been re-installed as part of the Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF); it’s currently got water lilies in full bloom, dragonflies and damselflies dancing over the water, baby Mino fish, water boatmen, bloodworms, showing an ecosystem is being established well.

We then proceeded along the path over some small bridges into Bushy Ruff Nature Reserve showcasing a stunning lake full of wildlife. We then scooted along the side of the lake taking rest under one of the stunning trees to enjoy a water break and take in the wildlife. After observing mute swans, ducks, cootes and moorhens we went on a little further to listen to the birds enjoying some shade under the trees. It was then time to head back taking the same path along into Russell Gardens then taking the path next to the River Dour admiring the stunning ornamental waterfalls and bridges.

We then followed the path back again into Kearsney Abbey and took a seat together in the café where a variety of food, drinks and ice creams were enjoyed.

A little more information:

  • The history of the site can be traced back to the Norman Conquest when it was known as Castney Court and part of the Barony of Saye, whose men maintained and garrisoned the Saye Tower at Dover Castle. Although never a monastic estate, it takes its name from the impressive Gothic revival manor house built between 1820-1822 by local merchant and banker, John Minet Fector. 
  • The wood paneled Billiards Room is the only remaining part of the Country house which stood on the estate before being demolished in 1950 due to extensive dry rot. The Billiards Room was added in the 1870s by landowner Francis Lyon Barrington. As part of the lottery restoration a brand-new building was added to the existing reaming structure to create Kearsney Tea Room which opened in July 2021.
  • The water from Kearsney Abbey, Russell Gardens and Bushy Ruff comes from a ground water aquifer in the Alkham Valley running a total of four miles through the Kearsney Parks, into the town and then out into the English Channel at Wellington Dock in Dover Harbour.
  • What is a ground water aquifer? A body of porous rock or sediment saturated with water. 
  • Groundwater enters an aquifer as precipitation (rain) seeps through the soil. It can move through the aquifer and resurface through springs and wells.
  • The River Dour is one of only 200 chalk streams providing a rare habitat for flora and fauna.
  • Cedar of Lebanon is a prominent feature in Kearsney Abbey is the which is believed to be one of the oldest specimens in the country.
    Victorian Pump House It’s believed this structure contains the original pumping equipment used to serve the Kearsney Abbey mansion with fresh water. Over the years it has become known as the dinosaur egg by locals.
  • Natural Play Area A recently constructed natural play area in Russell Gardens as part of the HLF funding which was completed in April 2020. The playground makes good use of an embankment with stepped access to a slide, climbing rope and holds. Retaining wall seating provides the perfect spot for parents to keep an eye on their children for supervised play.
  • There is so much more to share so keep following when I return to explore with the group this September.

Link to Tamsin's blog page 


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