Wildfowl & weddings at Elmley Nature Reserve August 07, 2017 19:30
Isn't it amazing how you can live with someone for YEARS and still find out something new? When I mentioned that I needed to disappear for an hour to collect deckchairs from the wedding of a really lovely couple that had taken place at Elmley Nature Reserve this weekend, up piped the husband, 'Oh I love Elmley, I studied bird migration there for my final dissertation at uni'.
Er, love Elmley? Not once has that man uttered a syllable about this place before. And as for bird migration - since when did that become a specialist subject?! Honestly. 'Do you fancy coming with me?' I said nonchalantly, hoping that he'd come along to do the donkey work. 'Yep, that would be great'. Get in.
So, off we went. What a place to get married. Driving to Elmley across from our little part of Kent is a reminder of what a beautiful, diverse county we live in. Rolling countryside and the sprawl of nearby towns morphs effortlessly into wild marshland, rich with native and visiting birds. Large fresh water habitats sit alongside the vast expanses of salt marsh and mudflats of the Swale. The result is fiesta time for waders and wildfowl, who literally come in their droves for a little R&R of their own. Cattle gently mooch across the marshes; their grazing helping to keep grasses at an optimum level for visiting birds. It's pretty magical stuff.
This sense of balance extends to the wedding venue itself - the barn is set in the middle of the wilderness, offering breathtaking views across the marshes. Head out from the barn and you'll find yourself in a grassed walled garden; the perfect place for a party, and later, as the evening progresses, a fire pit or two, to keep you warm and toasty.
Nature trails and hides offer a great way to enjoy this very special place, which is open throughout the summer months. We're planning to head back with our own little wildlings very soon.
For more information or to plan your trip, please visit: www.elmleynaturereserve.co.uk