Elmley Nature Reserve, Kent: a peaceful retreat on the Isle of Sheppey

The only UK nature reserve where you can stay the night offers wildlife, epic views and gorgeous cabins and cottages dotted around its wild expanses

Beyond the glass wall of the shepherd’s hut, a vast flat landscape stretches to touch wide open skies. A yellow wagtail takes wing in a flash of colour and the long grass quivers as a hare emerges, glances our way and then scarpers. To the east lie salt marshes, mudflats and glistening waters of the Swale, a tidal channel of the Thames estuary, its far bank dotted with industrial buildings, adding an edginess to the stark natural beauty.

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