Philip and Corinne Merricks
Philip and Corinne took over Elmley over 40 years ago and have worked tirelessly to transform an intensive arable and livestock farm to a site of international wildlife significance. Their pioneering and dedicated approach, in which farming and wildlife go hand in hand, has resulted in the incredible restoration of nature to this huge area of North Kent. In 1991 Elmley was designated a National Nature Reserve by Natural England, the only family owned and managed farm in the UK to have this status.
Gareth & Georgina Fulton
Elmley was so important to Georgina's upbringing, it was no surprise that Gareth was similarly captivated by Elmley. Experiencing Elmley at dawn and dusk, they both knew that they had to share the incredible experience of spending the night here with other guests.
Gareth and Georgina moved to Elmley in 2013 to set up holiday accommodation and welcome new visitors to the Reserve. They started with three shepherd's huts which they ran from a cottage on the farm. In these early days they did everything themselves from the ironing to the cooking, so they couldn't be more proud of and grateful to Elmley's incredible team today.
Gareth is the Reserve Manager and works hands on the Reserve, with a background in the Army and a training in Physical Geography, he is passionate about developing his in-laws' conservation work.
Eleanor joined the team in 2015. She has been a central part of our journey and has been involved in many areas during her time from being chief tent putter-up to booking software ninja, but her passion has been for making couples’ special days happen and has been our Weddings Manager since 2018. Having looked after nearly 100 wedding of all different shapes and sizes there’s not much about weddings or Elmley that Eleanor doesn’t know.
When she’s not hanging out in Kingshill Barn, Eleanor is normally thinking about dogs or Australia where she spent a year guiding walkers over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Clare has worked in hospitality since she was 16, starting as a member of the waiting team and working her way up to being part of the management team of a established venue and restaurant group in Whitstable. She’s passionate about local food and drink – in her spare time enjoys runs on the beach, walking and going out (all in the name of research). Clare is responsible for overseeing all parts of the hospitality.
Frances has always had a passion for events, after studying Events at uni she started her career running weddings at a prestigious country house venue before heading to London to spend 7 years organising events and private dining for a private members club. She’s never happier than when dealing with weird and wonderful requests and arranging bespoke services. After many years working London she’s passionate about the benefits of nature and the outdoors in bringing people together. She’s a huge foodie - a talented cook herself - she loves chatting to the chef to tailor make menus for each occasions. Frances lives in a nearby village with her young son and husband.
Rebecca joined our team in 2017, after a busy career in the NHS intensive care wards. Her role is fundamental to everything we do at Elmley. Rebecca ensures that every detail of the guest accommodation is immaculate and beautifully presented, and looks after our wonderful team of housekeepers. Like many of our team, she was swept away by Elmley's raw beauty and even celebrated her own wedding here. And we couldn't be more delighted that she was the very first bride to have her wedding photographs in the newly restored Kingshill Farmhouse. Rebecca lives on the island near the beach with her family and enjoys early morning walks along the seafront.
NATURE GUIDE AND ENGAGEMENT OFFICER
Abbie grew up birdwatching with her father in North Kent, and Elmley has always been a particularly special place for her. Having spent many years wildlife guiding and volunteering in conservation projects around the world, including the Australian Outback and Vietnam and the Southern Peruvian Amazon Rainforest. Her time abroad only increased her passion for wildlife and sharing this with others. She is now settled back in the UK and we're delighted that she can use her guiding skills here at Elmley. As well as running our wildlife tours and children's nature activities, she also looks after our Friends of Elmley group.