Walk the North Kent Marshes – while the solitude lasts

The Hoo peninsula between the Thames and Medway estuaries has a rough-edged beauty, a landscape rich in history and a thriving bird reserve – but this sanctuary near London is under threat from development

Hope and loss have begun to bleed into each other, for me, out here on the North Kent Marshes. I spent a year walking this landscape for my book, On the Marshes, rediscovering its beauty and learning about its fragility. So now I take people out walking and just hope they get it.

The marshes are not an obvious beauty: it is a rough-edged love, full of derelict industry, broken barges, wide bays of mud; icy with blue light and shrill with redshanks’ calls in the winter, fields and scrub bubbling over with nightingales in the spring – and you never know if others will understand its appeal.

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