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Spend the day at Elmley Nature Reserve, Kent

Kirsty
February 8, 2022

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What I loved about it:

I loved Elmley Nature Reserve because it was the perfect escape to nature in beautiful surroundings, that was enjoyed by the whole family.

Location:

Kingshill Farm, Isle of Sheppey, Kent

Suitable for:

Nature lovers, bird spotters and anyone who enjoys a walk in stunning surroundings.

Value for money (out of 10):

8

Website:

Spend the Day at Elmley Nature Reserve, Kent

Despite it being so close to me I had never crossed the bridge over to the Isle of Sheppey but after hearing great things I had been meaning to for quite some time. That’s when we were invited to come and spend the day at Elmley Nature Reserve in Kent, giving us the perfect excuse! The Reserve is 3,300 acres of wonderful wilderness. It is a family-run farm with a long-term vision to restore nature and a commitment to the sustainability of the landscape and land.

We arrived at Elmley Nature Reserve in thick fog on a drizzly day but this didn’t dampen our spirits. The 2-mile drive on to the reserve was an exciting one and you’re actively encouraged to park up and use your car as a bird hide as many of the visitors were already doing. My little boy loved pointing out the different wildlife. These included swans and many a rather curious looking bird called the lapwing, as well as a huge herd of sheep walking alongside the road. As we arrived in the car park we were greeted by a welcoming member of staff who showed us the directions of the different routes. We were given tips on what to look out for and what had been spotted at the reserve recently.

Our first walk took us past the ruins of an old schoolhouse which two owls have made their home. They can be seen flying around inside. Unfortunately, we didn’t see them on our visit but we had a pleasant walk taking in the gorgeous marshland where we saw lots of wading water birds. My little one especially loved jumping in the puddles. It was definitely a walk that warranted wellies and for him a spare change of clothes! One of the Elmley Nature Reserve wardens stopped on the way past and showed us where we could spot different birds and what sounds to be listening out for. All the staff and volunteers we met that day were so friendly and incredibly knowledgeable about the wildlife on the reserve.

After our first walk, we decided to warm up with some lunch. We visited the Cow Shed, the rather cosy cafe, complete with a log burner for those especially chilly days on the reserve. The menu was small but consisted of warming dishes such as soup, toasties, and even veggie sausage rolls. There was a range of hot drinks that you could take away to keep you toasty whilst exploring the reserve.

Feeling suitably fuelled we headed out for our second walk. We were called over by one of the wonderful volunteers who wanted to show us a frequent visitor to the reserve, a beautiful owl. It could just be seen in the distance sitting peacefully on a post. The volunteer had captured it with her telescope and we were able to view the little chap for ourselves! Now this is definitely a place for the serious bird watcher, we met many of them on our way, dressed in camouflage, complete with impressive looking equipment but it is also great for any lover of nature, be they big or small. My little boy had bought his own binoculars along, ‘just like Daddy’ and delighted in trying to spot the owl for himself.

Our second walk at Elmley National Nature Reserve, saw stunning scenery and vast open skies as the fog began to lift. We saw lots of different birds – I couldn’t tell you the names of any but the staff certainly could if you asked! There are bird hides where you can rest and look out for more birdlife, although we didn’t make it that far with such little legs in tow! It is rather exposed so we were thankful for our gloves, hats and scarves especially as the sun began to go down.
During the walk, I saw some of the amazing accommodation available on the reserve. These ranged from beautiful farmhouses, to cosy shepherd’s huts complete with amazing views of the wonderful landscape perfect for watching the sunrise. I couldn’t think of a more romantic place to wake up to!

We will definitely be returning to the reserve, perhaps next time, on a day when the sun is shining! There are guided tours which can be booked and I would also like to do that one day, perhaps without the puddle jumping little one! I would definitely recommend visiting Elmley Nature Reserve. Whether you’re local (it’s within easy traveling distance from London) or whether visiting Kent from afar! It’s perfect for families and children but also for an adult-only romantic escape too.

REVIEW

This is a Girl About review. I was invited by the management free of charge in exchange for an honest and frank review. All my opinions are my own and in no way have they been swayed by their kind invite. Girl About reviews are always 100% honest. We only publish reviews that, for the most part, are positive.
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Kirsty
February 8, 2022
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