Places to see birds

Oare Marsh Kent Wildlife Trust

Oare Marsh Kent Wildlife Trust
Richard Hanman

Highlights of Oare Marsh:

The reserve is of significance primarily because it is traditional grazing marsh, a habitat that has been decreasing in North Kent in recent times through drainage and reclamation. Grazing marsh of differing sward height attracts a variety of wetland birds. The plants are typical of grazing marsh, and include some of the more unusual clover species.


Spring and autumn are the best times to visit when a variety of waders and wildfowl use the marsh. These include teal, gadwall, shoveler, green­shank, black-tailed godwit, whimbrel and various sandpipers.

In summer reed-bunting, reed and sedge warbler, coot, moorhen, mallard and shoveler are common breeding species along the reed-lined dykes Waders such as lapwing, redshank and oystercatcher breed on the marshes. Little grebe, shoveler and snipe also breed in small numbers. Little tern and common tern may be frequently seen foraging along the open dykes and in Faversham Creek.

Short-eared owl is resident during the autumn to spring months with as many as six in some years.

Over winter snipe, redshank, curlew and large num­bers of wildfowl frequent the marshes. Jack snipe, water rail, bittern, merlin, hen harrier and peregrine falcon also use the marshes, but are less frequently seen.

Kingfisher and grey heron may be seen throughout the year fishing along the dykes.


The flora of the dykes is of particular interest. Common reed, lesser reedmace, great water dock, frogbit and lesser water‑parsnip can all be found. All the common salt marsh plants are represented in the saltings including species such as sea purslane, sea lavender and golden samphire with the aromatic sea wormweed and sea beet along the sea wall.

Unfortunately the vigorous hybrid cord grass, (Spartina anglicaJ has become dominant to the exclusion of many native salt marsh plants, especially in the area to the west of Harty Ferry.

A reed bed has established itself over the wetter areas of the eastern section due to the constant fresh water input from the artesian well. Adjacent to this, sea club-rush becomes dominant which indicates the changing condi­tions caused by salt water flowing through the sea sluice at high tide.

How to get here:

Map reference: TR013647
Postcode: ME13 0QA

From Faversham go through Oare village and turn right to Harty Ferry at the 'Three Mariners' pub. Continue to the end of the road and the south bank of the Swale estuary and park opposite the Visitor Centre (open weekends).

If travelling using public transport then Arriva Bus 333 from Maidstone, Sittingbourne and Faversham stops at Oare and the reserve is then a 1 mile walk from the village.

A circular footpath links various hides around the reserve. There is disabled access along the sea wall to the first hide, and also a disabled-priority viewing area overlooking the main scrape on the main approach road.

Visitors are asked to avoid disturbing nesting, feeding and roosting birds by keeping to the footpath along the seawall and, in the interests of wildlife and livestock, to keep dogs on a lead.

Further information can be found on the following link: