Places to see birds

Northward Hill RSPB Reserve

Northward Hill RSPB reserve is 270 hectares of grazing marsh, woodland and farmland on the Hoo peninsula between the villages of High Halstow and Cooling. The Northward Hill office at Bromhey Farm is the RSPB's main base for all its work on the North Kent Marshes reserves.If you ever fancied observing the BTO bird ringers at work, why not join them at Northward Hill for a 'hands-on' experience. Click on the poster image for dates and prices. For the latest sightings click on the 'more' button below to see our very own David Saunders regular blog on Northward Hill. More...

Elmley Marsh NNR (privately owned)

Elmley is an internationally important fresh water grazing marsh wetland renowned for significant populations of over-wintering and breeding birds, and also hare, watervoles, rare invertebrates and flora.There is a two mile track to the reserve. You will find that your car makes a comfortable hide and there is fantastic wildlife to be seen on either side of the track. Take your time and stop at the side of the road but please remain in your vehicle to avoid disturbing the wildlife. There is a car park with toilet facilities at Kingshill Farm.Opening hours: Check website for latest times. Closed on Tuesdays.To maintain the visitors facilities (toilet, benches, hides, etc.) the farmer/land owner requests an entrance fee of £2.50 per person or £5 per car. Alternatively, join the 'Friends of Elmley' for £30 a year as an individual or £40 for couples and families. School and community visits are welcome free of charge.There are four hides, all offering different views and wildlife viewing opportunities. The first hide is an open air screen on the sea wall to view rafts of wildfowl and roosting wader on the Swale. Wellmarsh, Counterwall and South Fleet hides are all a mile further on. They overlook shallow pools which can be filled with thousands of gulls and wading birds. At the far end of the Reserve the remote Spitend Hide overlooks the Swale Estuary, a wonderfully remote and tranquil spot.From the car park at Kingshill Farm it is a one mile walk along a gravel track under the seawall alongside the marsh to the first of four hides. A further mile-long trail runs beside the sea wall towards the Spitend Hide. More...

Oare Marsh Kent Wildlife Trust

The Kent Wildlife Trust's Oare Marshes Nature Reserve consists of some 67 hectares (170 acres) of grazing marsh, dissected by fresh and brackish water dykes and bounded by an earth seawall and some salt marsh.Originally the area was extensive saltmarsh with tidal creeks. However, the building of the present seawall, following the severe floods of 1953, effectively excluded the sea and resulted in a transition from tidal salt marsh to largely fresh water grazing marsh. Dykes were excavated to drain the marsh and surrounding farmland and any surplus water drains into the sea via a large sluice in the south east corner of the reserve. More...

Cliffe Pools RSPB Reserve

Cliffe Pools is on the south bank of the Thames, just downriver from Gravesend, and covers an area of 230 hectares of saline lagoons, fresh pools, rough grassland, scrub and mudflats. Large flocks of wading birds move from the estuary onto the pools at high tide, and wildfowl gather during the winter months. The site holds an incredible 10% of all the nation's saline lagoons, a rare coastal habitat. More...

Conyer Quay (ME9 9HR)

Conyer Quay is a small hamlet on the North Kent coast with a busy boatyard. From here you can walk out onto the marshes facing the Swale and the Isle of Sheppey, which due to their location, close to the Medway towns, may have been the inspiration for the settting for part of Charles Dicken's novel Great Expectations More...

Blean Woods Complex (Church Woods entrance CT2 9DD)

This is a wonderful place for quiet walks in beautiful ancient woodland. There are five trails of up to eight miles long that meander through the woods. Some are wheelchair and pushchair friendly, but take care on others, which can be muddy after rain. In summer, look out for damselflies, dragonflies and butterflies, including the rare heath fritillary butterfly. As dusk falls, you may see nightjars gliding on silent wings, and hear their churring call. Listen also for woodpeckers and nightingales. More...

Bossenden Woods, Dunkirk

This is part of the Blean Woods complex near Canterbury and a reliable location for all 3 British woodpecker species in early spring. More...

Dungeness RSPB Reserve

If you haven't been to Dungeness, nothing can quite prepare you for the landscape - mile after mile of shingle, which is wild and a little weird! On a cold winter's day, it is a delight to sit snug in the visitor centre and look out through a huge picture window at all the waterbirds on the large gravel pit just outside. Often a rare grebe or diver is among them, and it is perhaps the best place in the UK for watching the delightful smew. The nature trails lead around a series of hides where there is an excellent chance of seeing bitterns and bearded tits in winter. There is plenty to be seen at other times too. Dungeness's position, jutting into the English Channel, makes it ideally placed to watch for migrant birds arriving or departing, with wheatears, swallows, martins and warblers regularly seen. How to get here:Map reference: TR062197Postcode: TN29 9PNOne mile out of Lydd on the Dungeness Road turn right for the the main site. The visitor centre and car park are one mile along the entrance track. The entrance to the Hanson ARC site and car park is opposite the main reserve entrance on the left of the Dungeness Road.Further info on latest sighting and activities can be found by clicking on the link below. More...

Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory

The Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory and Field Centre is one of the country's foremost ringing stations; it gained its obervatory status in 1962 and is managed by The Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory Trust (Charity No: 289343). The SBBOT is actively interested in conservation with specialist survey work and holds records covering all aspects of the local ecology since 1952. More...