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Explore the Kent coast

PUBLISHED: 21:06 24 May 2014

Cliffs at Pegwell Bay

Cliffs at Pegwell Bay

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Our vast and varied coastline is a treasure trove for wildlife, whether you’re into bird watching, rock pooling, fishing or walks

Summer has finally arrived 
and what better place to spend it than on England’s longest 
and most geologically 
diverse coastline?

But before you head out to the traditional resorts of, say, Thanet or Folkestone, why not consider these less obvious destinations, which just happen to be among Kent’s best nature reserves.

Whether it’s bird watching, fishing, rockpooling or simply a bracing walk 
that you crave, let Kent Wildlife Trust 
take you on a snapshot tour of our 
coastal ‘hotspots’ for wildlife.

Oare Marshes (ME13 0QA)

This internationally recognised reserve 
for birds offers plenty of spectacular viewing points and it’s where seals can 
be seen basking on the mud banks in 
the middle of the Swale estuary.

From the causeway at the sea’s edge 
at low tide you can watch small fish 
dart around the seaweeds and mussels. Look out for the salt marsh, a specialised environment where plants need to 
survive inundation from the tides.

These marshes are riddled with 
sinuous creek systems, a hidden world 
of crustaceans, worms and molluscs providing meals for the thousands of visiting birds. At the marsh’s edge, 
from July to September, you can admire the shimmering pink-purple sea lavender 
and golden samphire. 


Reculver (CT6 6SS)

The country park, dominated by the ancient twin towers of St. Mary’s Church, 
is awash with wildlife. On the upper shore, there are edible and shore crabs under almost every rock, as well as tiny fish, prawns and colourful sea anemones.

On the lower shore you’ll find bountiful spider crabs, bright orange, red and yellow sponges, sea squirts and striped or spotty sea slugs. Even the cliffs contain plenty 
of life, with their very crumbly sandstone structure ideal for nesting sand martins and colonies of miner bees.

If you’re lucky and sharp eyed, shark’s teeth fossils can be found at the tide’s 
edge, as well as fossilised ancient shells 
in the sandstone boulders.

And don’t forget to pop into the Visitor Centre to pick up a wealth of information on this fascinating region.

Sandwich & Pegwell Bay (CT12 5JB)

The reserve is a complex mosaic of habitats and internationally important for birds. Our marine surveys have revealed 179 different species, from barnacles to bivalves, sponges to seaweeds.

Explore the top of the beach where 
the strandlines are full of seaweed and debris brought up by the highest tides.

You might be lucky enough to see mermaid’s purses, dog whelk eggs and cuttlebones, as well as small mobile crustaceans such as the sand-hopper.

From the bottom of the shingle 
beach extending onto the mud flats 
are strandlines that often contain drifts 
of razor shells, colourful scallop shells 
and a wide variety of other bivalves 
and gastropods.

The antics of a flourishing seal colony can also be observed from the reserve.

Romney Warren (TN28 8AY)

Finally, no exploration of Kent’s seaside would be complete without a visit to the magical, mystical Marsh. You’ll find all 
the information you need on the region’s wildlife and history at the eco-friendly Romney Marsh Visitor Centre, now celebrating its 10th year.

The Warren, an ecologically important dune grassland nature reserve, is home to rare flora, mosses, lichens and medicinal leeches and its ponds hold nationally important populations of great crested newts and great silver beetles. n

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