Sandwich Bay, Kent

lizardorchidSandwich Bay has long been known as a ‘hot-spot’ for wildlife – both Sandwich Tern and Kentish Plover were first described here back in the 18th Century and the mixture of sand-dune coast, golf-courses, freshwater marshes, salt-marsh and estuarine habitats have continued to attract naturalists ever since. Much of the area is protected by SSSI designation, there are Local and National Nature Reserves at nearby Pegwell Bay and the RSPB is currently developing a large wetland site at their Lydden Valley Reserve, south-east of Sandwich.

The area is especially noted for its migrant birds, with national rarities occurring every. There are a wide range of butterflies, (36 species on the local list); dragonflies and damselflies, (26 species on the list, including species such as Southern Emerald Damselfly), and over 400 each of both micro- and macro-moth species, including local specialities such as Bright Wave and Rest Harrow, in addition to regular migrant species. The flora of Sandwich Bay is also noteworthy, with over 800 plants having been recorded, many of them being nationally scarce, and including 15 species of orchid such as Lizard and Green-winged Orchids and Marsh Helleborine.

Within easy driving distance there are a number of other excellent wildlife habitats. These include the chalk areas of the North Downs, with their own suite of flora and insects; the wetland reserves of the Stour valley near Canterbury, (Stodmarsh and Grove Ferry NNRs), and the mature woodland NNRs of the Blean Woods, north of Canterbury. For the moth specialist, sites for both Black-veined Moth and Fisher’s Estuarine Moth also exist in East Kent.

by Ken Chapman – Secretary & Trustee, Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory Trust

brightwave rest-harrow

All images taken by Ken Chapman




Name: Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory mthtrpfdlysml
Location: Sandwich Bay
Type of accommodation: Self-catering rooms
Address: Old Downs Farm, Guilford Road, Sandwich Bay, Kent, CT13 9PF

A range of rooms is available on a self-catering basis, including a self-contained, en suite flat, twin bedded rooms and a family dormitory room. We can sleep up to about 20 people and welcome bookings from small or larger groups. Further details of our accommodation, including our 2015 rates and all our other facilities, can be obtained from the Observatory’s web-site.

Located on the private Sandwich Bay Estate a couple of miles from the historic town of Sandwich, the Bird Observatory is near to National and Local Nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest. The Observatory has been studying moths of the area for many years. Regular trapping around the Observatory H.Q. and further afield in sand-dune, woodland and salt-marsh habitats, has built up a list of over 500 resident and migrant macro species for the area, including national rarities such as Bright Wave, Restharrow and Pigmy Footman. The micro-moth list is also impressive, with about 490 species recorded. Moth enthusiasts staying at the Observatory are welcome to use the four or five MV traps that we have available, and / or bring their own equipment. We regularly catch upwards of a thousand moths from the MV traps around the Observatory on good nights in July.

For more information and to book accommodation: please contact us via our e-mail address below.

Proprietor: Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory
Contact details: 01304 617341 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Back to the Accommodation Directory