Times and costs
The Reserve is currently closed during Tier 4 Restrictions from 20th December 2020.
Join our expert guides for a walking tour - covering Elmley’s unique wildlife, history and landscape
Virtual tours are available now. Tours on site are availble to book now for dates from February 2021.
Home cooked takeaway snacks and lunches are available at Kingshill Barn, along with teas & coffees. See menu.
Order a traditional pie to take home after your visit.
These seriously good, home made pies are served with mash and cabbage and ready to heat at home for supper.
View our pie menu.
**Hides are closed**
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 wading birds and wildfowl. At the far end of the Reserve is Spitend Hide, overlooking the Swale Estuary, it is a wonderfully remote and tranquil spot. There is no current through route from Elmley across the Island.
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. All trails and hides are highlighted on the map of the reserve.
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.
Parking & facilities
There is a car park with accessible toilet facilities at Kingshill Farm. **Loos are closed**
Our Drone Policy
In order to ensure there is no disturbance to the wildlife and livestock, the use of drones (UAVs) is not permitted unless permission is specifically granted by us.
Regrettably, dogs are not allowed on the reserve even on a lead, this is to avoid disturbance to the wildlife. Registered assistance dogs are permitted.
Blue Badge holders are permitted to drive down to the first hide which is wheelchair accessible. We realise that many of our visitors enjoy the walk but need to take it in their own time, so we have placed ‘perching posts’ along the way to allow a rest!
The Swale viewing screen provides wonderful birdwatching over the Swale only a 200m walk from the carpark.
**Group visits are obviously not permitted at present**
As we are an independently run nature reserve, we are unable to support more than one organised group visit a day. Please contact us to book a group visit. Commercially run visits and groups are not permitted to operate from Elmley unless by prior arrangement. School and community visits are welcome free of charge.
Permitted on all permissive paths from June to September but no through route is available. Elmley has miles of gravel paths which are great for cycling along but we also have alot of birds and other shy wildlife throughout the autumn, winter and Spring. Our paths and roads wind through many of the fields these birds rest and feed in.
Slighty counterintuitively, the birds do not see vehicles as a threat but do see people as as a threat so we ask visits to enter the 2 mile road by vehicle from October to the end of May. This mean everyone has a close up view of them and they get to rest and feed more, and imporantly in winter use less energy flying unnecessarily. For people or children who find the walk from the car park to the hides a challenge you may cycle from the car park to the hides thoughout the year. There is no current through route from Elmley across the Island.
Want to know more?
Head on over to our contact page to get in touch with your questions or comments.