here (our village newsletter) and 

the East Farleigh Grapevine!

West Farleigh Sports Club for football, cricket & great parties

All Saints church services...


...and hall for hire


Loads of useful contacts 

Links along the valley: parishes, churches & halls

follow me on facebook

Follow us

on Facebook


Subscribe to our events email!

Turning Turtle

Posted on 15th November, 2022

A report just published of a study, carried out by ecologists, states that our protected National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (28% of our ‘green and pleasant land’) are failing to protect the natural world, with only 5% of it effectively managed for wildlife. Farmland, on the other hand, which accounts for 70% of countryside, is generally considered to be wildlife-poor too as a result of post-war intensive, industrial agriculture.

Warning: this is NOT a criticism of farmers, but a reflection of our desire for cheap food and big profits for industrial food producers – we are all responsible.


But, as usual, not all is as straightforward as it seems. Some farmers have always managed their land with an eye for nature, and many more are now taking huge strides in making sure that wildlife retains its place on their land before it is too late. But it’s a huge challenge.

Which is why local farmers, particularly in this part of Kent, are joining the call to save the Turtle Dove – a diminutive dove (our only one that migrates in the winter to West Africa) with soothing turr-turr call. Once common, it has now declined by 95% in just a few years – habitat change on its wintering grounds, hunting in the Mediterranean and the almost total loss of agricultural weeds across Europe being the cause.


Dr Kirsty Swinnerton, a scientist with Kent Wildlife Trust, is working with the RSPB, local farmers, Lincoln University and Marden Wildlife (a local group of knowledgeable enthusiasts) to study the birds’ behaviour in this part of the Low Weald – a Kent stronghold for the species. Although breeding doves were identified in a reassuring number of territories last year, we know there must be more right across this part of the Garden of England – and they are very happy to feed in gardens!


So, if one of these pretty, tortoise-shell-coloured doves appears in your garden or is purring in a nearby copse (they love untidy, thorny hedges and scrubby bits of woodland) please let us know at mardenwildife@gmail.com. Part of the study will be to put coloured leg rings on the birds so they can be individually identified as they move around the area so look out for those especially. Any photographs (whatever the quality) of a dove in your garden will be especially valuable.You can find out more about these delightful birds and hear their call at RSPB Turtle Dove


With the help of people around the Farleighs and the Low Weald, we’ll have more chance of reversing this bird’s fortunes.



Make A Comment

Characters left: 2000

Comments (0)