Thames and Medway Estuary Stile Free Trail
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Our stile free routes are suitable for a wide range of users including those in mobility scooters and families with younger children.
At Explore Kent, we aim to provide detailed information about our routes to give you a clear idea of what to expect. Please be mindful that our stile free routes are located in the countryside and the path surfaces can be adversely affected by poor weather conditions. Certain routes may be better suited for wheelchairs with wider wheels, as they can handle the terrain more easily compared to other wheelchairs. We encourage you to read about the trails, and to assess them if you feel confident in completing them yourself.
If you would like more information on accessibility, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
A flat walk of 1.2 miles (1.9km). The paths are a mixture of tarmac and a hard coarse surface. There are frequent rest areas along the route. A radar key may be required for wide access through the kissing gates.
Starting at the beach car park and heading out along the sea wall, this delightful walk takes in an exciting mix of sea life, and island life in one of the most isolated spots in the South East.
Look out to sea and see the two estuaries of the River Medway and Thames, watch ships as they come in from the North Sea to see which estuary they use, see birds on the mudflats seeking out food including Oystercatcher and Redshank. Look out for rare sea clover found in the grasslands near the sea.
You will see an ancient fort sitting out to sea. When the tide is out it is possible to walk across the causeway to get a closer view of the giant chains which were used to hold nets that stopped the invasion of Medway by submarines at war. The fort was in active use throughout both World Wars.
Turner and Grain
The foreshore is the site where the famous artist JMW Turner would have sat to sketch his famous ‘The Fighting Temeraire’ which shows the Old Man at War ship alongside Nelson at Trafalgar. The painting depicts the ship being towed by paddle tugs from Sheerness docks to be broken up at Rotherhithe in 1839. It would have passed behind Grain tower. Turner was enthralled by the landscape of Kent. Many of his paintings are of Kent landscapes. The Turner Contemporary Gallery in Margate house many of his paintings and is named after him after he became a regular visitor to Margate.
Making the most of your walk
Looking inland you’ll see shady woodland with winding pathways brimming with wildflowers and orchids. They provide the ideal habitat for the many moths, butterflies and bees that flourish here. There are many secluded spots to throw out a blanket and have a picnic in peace and quiet.
Grain village is a lively community and has a village inn, a number of busy shops and St James a 12th century church that is well worth looking around.
Step by step guide
From the car park take the right hand path sign posted ‘To the seafront.'
Follow the ramp down to the sea wall
At the sea wall turn right No barrier on seaward side
Continue along the sea wall through the yellow posts
Continue until you reach the wire mesh fence and then retrace your steps.