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17 September 2014
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Estuaries | Swale Estuary

Swale Estuary map

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The Swale estuary is a 13 mile channel that separates the Isle of Sheppey from the mainland of Kent.

In common with most estuaries, this is an environment of continual change with a complex eco-system which is great for a diversity of wildlife.

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Estuaries are fantastic habitats for wildlife. Great tidal flows, deep and shallow waters, and salt marshes all provide rich places for wildlife.

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  • Our estuaries offer amazing opportunities for wildlife watching. Why not take a few tips from the Nature's Calendar team - from bird watching to reptile hunting.

Swale Estuary - Visitor Guide

Address:Oare Marshes, Oare, near Faversham, Kent, ME13.

Elmley Marshes, near Sittingbourne, Isle of Sheppey, Kent.
Telephone numbers:

Kent Wildlife Trust and Oare Marshes - 0589 822412 (daytime only).


Elmley - 01795 665969 or 01273 775333


Tourist information - 01634 843666

e-mailKent Wildlife Trust -
Facilities:No toilets at Oare Marshes. Toilets at Elmley Marshes.
Essential kit:Binoculars, walking shoes or boots.
Nature watching:

Bird watching - hides at Oare Marshes. Nature trails - Oare Marshes. Good viewing from the lay-by just off the road.


Elmley Marshes - bird watching - Hen Harriers, Merlins, Peregrines and Short-Eared Owls in winter. Hides and walks.


Oare Marshes - Disabled car parking 300m from the hide overlooking the east flood. Wheelchair accessible hide is reached along solid, level paths. There are also good views from the road.


Elmley Marshes - special access arrangements can be made for disabled and elderly visitors.

Getting there:

Getting there: Oare Marshes are located 1 1/2 miles north of Oare Village, near Faversham. Go through Oare village and take the right turn to Harty Ferry at the 'Three Mariners' pub. Continue to the south bank of the Swale estuary. Parking opposite the Information Centre.


The 333 bus from Maidstone, Sittingbourne and Faversham runs to the village of Oare. There is a one mile walk to the reserve from the bus drop off point.


Elmley Marshes - located off the A249 to Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey, 1 mile past the Kingsferry Bridge.

Nearest rail station Swale Halt (three miles).

Opening times:

Oare Marshes - weekends and Bank Holidays, 11am- 5pm or dusk.


Elmley Marshes - open daily (closed Tuesdays) 9am to 9pm or sunset whichever is earlier.

Charges:Elmley Marshes - no fixed charge but donations are welcomed with suggested amounts - Adults £2.50; Children 50p; Concessions £1.50.
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