East of Gillingham, the river opens into a vast area of saltmarsh. The main river track passes through the middle, with flood plains to either side. To the North - the Hoo Peninsular and Isle of Grain, both heavily industrialised and with long jetties reaching out from the land to the deep water. To the South - a largely unspoiled coastline of apple orchards, small villages, a country park, and some of the best place names in the business: Horrid Hill, Slaughterhouse point, Bedlam's bottom...
The tide here floods in from the East, as expected, with Sheerness the guide port for tide times. As with the nearby Swale, principal hazard is the MUD, which is everywhere ! On a falling tide, it is all too easy to get caught out and be stranded several kilometers from land - so it's important to keep your navigation brain engaged - and to always know where the deep water is !
Useable access points are all on the South side, but are really just HW touchdown spots, eg for lunch stops. The best way to access this area is really to paddle in from either end - ie from Gillingham Strand in the West or Queenborough in the East (both 24hr slipways)
|map||Otterham Quay |
HW +- 1h only, road access/parking difficult.
|map||Lower Halstow |
HW +- 1h only, lovely old jetty beside Saxon church, road access via Lapwing Drive. Parking OK.
|map||Raspberry Hill |
HW only. Saltmarsh touches the road at this point; great views; some parking on verges.