Isle of Harty (Leysdown - Shell Ness - Leysdown)

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Isle of Harty (Leysdown - Harty Ferry Inn - Shell Ness - Leysdown)

The walk begins on the shoreline south of Leysdown-on-Sea. It is a remote paradise for birdwatchers and walkers. There are spectacular views across to Faversham, Whitstable, Herne Bay and the North Downs. On the seaward side it stands on the channel of the East Swale, once a tributary of the Medway, where merchant ships and men-o'-war would pass its door on every tide. Across the Swale at Faversham a fleet of smacks and barges is preserved to this day.

Along the way you can visit a charming stone church, the Church of St Thomas the Apostle, which was refurbished in Victorian times. Early parts of the church are Saxon and Norman. There are beautiful windows. Before you leave the church, note the lovely view of the East Swale through the clear glass window in the Lady Chapel.

The Isle of Harty is the home of the Swale Nature Reserve, part of the Swale Site of Special Scientific Interest. The reserve, managed by the Kent Wildlife Trust, consists of some 170 acres of grazing marsh, dissected by fresh and brackish water dykes and bounded by an earth sea wall and some salt marsh. At present the reserve is richest in bird species in spring and autumn, when a variety of waders and wildfowl use the marsh. These include teal, gadwall, shoveller, greenshank, black-tailed godwit and various sandpipers.

You will pass the remote, privately owned village of Shellness. The village probably exists because of its position at the eastern end of the River Swale. The Romans built a watchtower there as they considered the Swale safer than the more exposed waters of the Thames. Even the most recent of maps refer to coastguard lookouts and beacons. Soon after passing the village you come to a naturist beach.

England - South England - Kent - Coast

Features

Birds, Butterflies, Church, Flowers, Great Views, Mostly Flat, Pub, River, Sea, Toilets
27/04/2009 - Stephanie McElroy

Lovely flat walk. Bird watchers paradise, binoculars recommended. Nudist beach towards end, approach with caution and wear dark glasses!

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Distance away
29.9 Miles