The Coastal Marshes of Medway and North Kent

Updated: Apr 7

Water channels in mud at Cliffe Marshes
Water channels of Cliffe Marshes, taken on iPhone 11 Pro max

Lockdown restrictions are lifting and the days are now getting warmer. It's time to grab your cameras and look for new places to explore.

If wildlife, mud and shipwrecks are your thing then a visit to the coastal marshes of Medway and North Kent are well worth a visit.

Whatever the weather or tide there is always a shot to be had.

A little egret walking through the edge of the water on Hoo Marshes
Little egret on Hoo Marshes, ISO 125, f6-3 1/1000 sec

A high tide will bring in the birds. Brent geese and Little Egrets are a common sight, along with the many different breeds of ducks

Ducks swimming through the reeds at Riverside Country Park
Ducks at Riverside Country Park, ISO 640, f5.6, 1/1000 sec


All my wildlife shots are shot using TV (shutter priority mode). For these the shutter was set to 1/1000 sec to compensate for any suddenly quick movement.

A low tide reveals the wrecks and glorious water channels in the mud which can make for some fantastic leading lines.

Water Channel on Hoo Marshes
Water Channels on Hoo Marshes, ISO 100, f11, 1/80 sec

One of the Water channels on Hoo Marshes, leading out to the Estuary.

These can make some great leading lines through your image.

Boat wreck on Hoo Marshes
Boat Wreck on Hoo Marshes, ISO 100, f11, 1/160 sec

One of the wrecked boats on Hoo Marshes.

My landscape shots are taken with a triple (bracketed) exposure and merged as an HDR in Lightroom,

The above shots were taken at Hoo Marshes and the Riverside Country Park at Rainham.

Just outside the borough of Medway is Lower Halstow with more old wrecks and a lovely little wooden jetty.

Below are some more of my favourite images taken on my recent outings.

Underneath the jetty at Lower Halstow
The Jetty at Lower Halstow, ISO 100, f11, 1/125 sec

As the tide was out I got the opportunity to get underneath the jetty without getting wet feet. I used the front two struts to frame the image and set my focus to the end of the jetty to get a good depth of field.

Boat wreck in the mud at Lower Halstow
Boat wreck at Lower Halstow, ISO 100, f11, 1/160 sec

This is a little gem for photographers at Lower Halstow when the tide is out. Always wear old clothes and take a change of footwear. Don't be scared to get down low and muddy. It will be worth the shot. I was kneeling in the mud to get this one.

Dyke at Hoo Marshes
Hoo Marshes, ISO 100, f16, 1/80 sec

It's always worth exploring what's behind you. This fantastic water dyke at Hoo Marshes is behind the sea wall and makes for a welcome reprieve with the beautiful reeds growing through it.

Wreck at Riverside Country Park
Wreck at Riverside Country Park, ISO 100, f8, 1/250 sec

I just love this little boat. For me this image really works in colour with the greens of the sea weed contrasting with the brown tones of the old boat and the marshland grasses. Once again this required getting muddy knees.

Always experiment with lower and higher positions, it's surprising what a difference getting down lower can make.

Reflected sticks in the water at Riverside Country Park
Reflections, Riverside Country Park, ISO 125, f4.5. 1/1000 sec

Finally a bit of creative messing around. You may be wondering why such a fast shutter speed for a landscape image?

The truth is I had the camera set up for shooting the wildlife. There had been a gull sitting on top of the middle post. Unfortunately he flew off before I could take the shot but I still loved the result. The Black and white conversion really brings out those shapes and reflections. Just goes to show how a failed image can be saved.

I have often heard of "Medway" being referred to as "Mudway". As you can see we do indeed have plenty of it but I think our coastline has so much to offer to us photographers.

This is why I am really looking forward to my series of "marshes" photography workshops. Dates to be announced very soon.

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To find out more about my photography classes, workshops and events visit my website:-

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