Elmley – family farm and nature reserve:
Kingshill Farm sits right in the middle of the 3,200 acre estate and enjoys wonderful wilderness views.
Elmley is a family-run farm with approximately 700 cattle grazing the pasture each year. It is this grazing marsh that provides such a special habitat for wildlife.
It is an internationally important site for the conservation of both habitat and plants, animals, insects and bird and so it is a SSSI, Special Protected Area for birds and Ramsar site (wetland of world importance). We have a huge number of rare and endangered species but Elmley is especially important for breeding wadering birds and over-wintering birds – in fact this year we have a had record as over 420 lapwing chicks fledged into adults. In the winter months the sky can be filled with tens of thousands of wildfowl, which make an unforgettable sight of cloud-like murmurations and flocks in formation.
In 1991 Natural England designated Elmley a National Nature Reserve under Section 35 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) and we work closely with Natural England to ensure the conservation of Elmley’s important habitats and to provide the opportunity for the public to experience and enjoy its special natural heritage. For more information on Natural England’s work please visit their website.
We also manage the Natural England Swale National Nature Reserve on the eastern side of Sheppey.
Philip and Corinne Merricks, have farmed on the grazing marsh for over 40 years and are renowned for managed the land for nature conservation. They have the unique status of being the only family farmers who own and managed National Nature Reserve
Their daughter, Georgina, and son-in-law, Gareth Fulton, came to Elmley in 2013 to help continue the family’s work.
Gareth and Georgina are supported by a small team of staff and volunteers who you will see at work during your visit to Elmley. They share a passion for the wildlife, landscape and long heritage at this unique place.
Our not-so-wild-life consists of a couple of dozen chickens, some Indian running ducks and Max the farm terrier.
Vision and Ethos
Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. The farm is off-grid and is powered by a very efficient solar array and generator with big batteries. The huts are handcrafted using natural materials and eco-friendly insulation. Food is locally sourced.
Wildlife conservation is at the heart of everything we do, and we believe that the best way to safeguard to natural environment is to ensure that people understand and appreciate their local wildlife. We are passionate about sharing Elmey and its wildlife to new people and ensuring our guests have the best possible experience of the peace and nature at Elmley.
We are proud of Elmley’s heritage and are committed to enhancing it and restoring its historical buildings for future generations.