Isle of Sheppey

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Isle of Sheppey.jpeg


"What country pray is this?"' Proud home to Europe's largest manufacturer of garden gnomes, Sheppey retains a sense of independence from neighbouring England. Things here have often seemed a cultural decade or two behind the mainland - but are changing now, in part because the "new" bridge (July 2006) has made access from England much quicker and more reliable. A bit rough, poor and rather shabby in parts, Sheppey is still full of surprises.

Tides generally flood from the East and Ebb to the West, except on the South side, ie [The Swale], which is fed from both ends. Tide times can all be taken as Sheerness. Circumnavigation of the island (45-50K) makes a nice day trip.

0k map QUEENBOROUGH
24hr slipway into the Swale, near its junction with the Medway, and just round the corner from the charming but rather muddy Town Quay (HW +-2h ?). Toilets, free parking.
xk map Barton's Point
24hr sand/shingle beach, parking. 1 km West of here is the home of the

<a href="http://www.iossc.org.uk" target="_blank">Isle of Sheppey Sailing Club</a> which has a truly excellent<a href="http://www.iossc.org.uk/weather/index.php" target="_blank">weathercam</a>. Just 3km offshore from here lies the intruiging wreck of the <a href="http://www.ssrichardmontgomery.com/">SS Richard Montgomery</a>, a munitions ship which ran aground here in 1944, spilling hundreds of tons of ordnance on to the sea bed (much of it still there today!). This makes an interesting diversion if paddling along this coast, or crossing to Southend. You literally "can't miss it". Parts of the vessel's rusting superstructure stick up above low tide and the whole area is plastered with buoys and warning signs.

xk map Leysdown on Sea
24hr sand/shingle beach, parking.
xk map Shell Ness - Sheppey
Shell Ness is a natural beach made entirely of sea shells (pictured!) and offering a sheltered launch into the Swale, or a classic lunch spot. Car access possible from nearby Leysdown, then a portage or trolley for the last few hundred meters. Avoid the roped-off bird sanctuary, just West of the concrete bunker.
xk map HARTY FERRY (NORTH)
24hr slipway belonging to the "Ferry Inn" (01795 510214), a remarkable "wet friendly" pub which does food every day, and lets you camp in its grounds for a modest fee. Just 66k as the crow fields from Shadwell Basin this pub feels more isolated than you would believe possible. Until relatively recently, they had only "well" water and generated their own electricity. Car access is a little complicated, which is probably why it's so nice ! One of the few places that's easier to reach by Kayak than by road.