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The Elmley National Nature Reserve is a family farm and is unique in being the only independent National Nature Reserve in the UK. A visit to the reserve begins with a wildlife adventure as the 2 mile access drive crosses through the reserve. Visitors can use their cars as a hide and enjoy wonderful views of hares, lapwing, redshank, merlin, marsh harrier and more. Please remain in your cars to avoid disturbing the wildlife. From the car park it is a mile walk alongside the marshes down to the first hide, which overlooks a wonderful ‘scrape’, a shallow pool where avocet breed and thousands of wading birds drop in from the nearby Swale mudflats. Blue badge holders can drive to the first hide. There are walking trails around the reserve and three further hides. The sky is often filled with birds – flocks of curlew and golden plover, teal and pintail, starlings spooked by the merlins, hen harriers, marsh harriers and short-eared owls. The reserve is very exposed, so wrap up well and prepare for an amazing trip. Dogs are not allowed on the reserve, except registered assistance dogs. The entrance contribution is £5 per car or £2.50 per person for large groups, . Alternatively visitors can join Friends of Elmley, £20 a year for an individual or £30 for a couple or family. Annual parking passes are available. Friends receive unlimited access, a monthly newsletter, volunteering opportunities and invitations to free events and late openings. Visitors can also stay on the Reserve in three Shepherd’s Huts.
Easy access information
This park and open space has at least one accessible route but otherwise is considered to be less suitable for visitors with pushchairs and/or wheelchairs.