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About Elmley Marshes

Important notice

As of 8 May the management of this site has transferred from the RSPB to the Elmley Conservation Trust. Please visit their new website for more details.

Avocet chick in water

Image: David Tipling

On 1 May 2013 the RSPB handed the management of the RSPB Elmley Marshes reserve back to the owners, Elmley Conservation Trust (ECT), from whom it has been leased for more than 30 years. This brings the whole of the National Nature Reserve under one management.

The RSPB leaves confident in the knowledge that Elmley will continue to be well managed, as you can already see from the management by ECT of the vast wetland through which you pass on the exciting two-mile drive to the visitor car park.

From the car park it is a mile walk alongside the marshes down to the first hide, which overlooks a wonderful 'scrape', a shallow pool where avocets breed and thousands of wading birds drop in from the nearby Swale mudflats. Elderly and disabled visitors can drive to the first hide by arrangement.

There are then three further hides, and everywhere at Elmley Marshes the sky is often filled with birds – flocks of curlews or golden plovers, teals and pintails, starlings spooked by the merlins, hen harriers, marsh harriers and short-eared owls which hunt daily in winter.

Opening times

Open daily (closed Tuesdays) 9 am to 9 pm or sunset when earlier.

Entrance charges

There are no fixed entrance fees.

Information for dog owners

No dogs allowed, except registered assistance dogs


Good for Wildlife, Good for People, Good for Everyone (310Kb PDF)
Information on the new approach to wildlife conservation on the Isle of Sheppey.

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Where is it?

  • Lat/lng: 51.400404,0.767440
  • Postcode: ME12 3RW
  • Grid reference: TQ924698
  • Nearest town: Sittingbourne, Kent
  • County: Kent
  • Country: England

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