North Kent Marshes

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Cliffe Creek Fleet. The complex landscape of the marshes, in the foreground a fleet, then a bank and one of the Pools managed by the RSPB, then the chalk outcrop, heavily quarried, where one finds Cliffe village.
Cliffe pools with a bird population, the site is still used for mineral extraction

The North Kent Marshes, located in the north of the county of Kent on the Thames Estuary in south-east England, is one of 22 Environmentally Sensitive Areas recognised by the UK government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). It lies within the Thames Gateway regional planning area.[1]

The north of Kent has historically been marshland and the part which still survives, stretching from Dartford in the west, to Whitstable in the east, has been recognised as one of the most important natural wetlands in northern Europe. Monitored by local land owners and wildlife custodians, the RSPB claim up to 300,000 migrant birds use the mudflats of the Thames marshes as a regular haven in their migratory journeys between the Arctic and Africa.[2]

The RSPB have over recent years acquired considerable stretches of Cliffe marshes on the Hoo peninsula. They maintain reserves at Cliffe pools, Northward hill, High Halstow and Elmley Marshes, Sheppey.[2] The Medway Council's Riverside park at Gillingham is another example of managed open public access to the marshes.

The North Kent Marsh with its stable water level is an important habitat for the water vole. There are thirteen key sites throughout Britain. Shorne and Higham marshes, with parts of Cliffe and Cooling marsh, Allhallows and Grain marshes and the Isle of Sheppey among them.[citation needed]

The marshes are protected by the Kent and Medway Structure Plan, and a strong local environmental pressure group.[citation needed] The marshes also offer invaluable natural flood protection for London[citation needed].


The Marshes are in the districts of Dartford, Gravesham, Medway, Swale and Canterbury.

In popular culture[edit]

The Channel Four series Southcliffe (2013) takes place in a fictional market town located in the North Kent Marshes. In reality most of the series was filmed in the market town of Faversham and surrounding rural area.

See also[edit]

  • South Swale - a nature reserve covering the marshes between Faversham and Whitstable


  1. ^ TGKP Working Document No. 2 26 Nov 2002
  2. ^ a b North Kent Marshes Nature Reserves- What's on January- June 2007

Coordinates: 51°29′N 0°30′E / 51.483°N 0.500°E / 51.483; 0.500