Riverside Park Medway

A recent visit to Riverside Park convinced me that an airport in the Estuary is a really bad prospect. The Thames Estuary has a blighted public image which makes it vulnerable to potential demand for expansion from London. Riverside Park counters this view effectively as it contains elements of a long historic and industrial past as well as stunning natural environment. All of which make up this arresting landscape.

A causeway will take you out to Horrid Hill and from this vantage point you have a 180 degree view of the estuary. Over to the north is Kingsnorth Power station. A small island in between is Nor Marsh that was used for grazing sheep up to the floods of 1953. With the aid of binoculars you can see Darnett Fort on another island. Built in mid 19th Century this was used up until the 2nd World War. When I visited it was low tide and the number long forgotten vessels is striking. Along the foreshore of the causeway you can see the remains of The Waterloo 1891 rusting in the mud flat gives a Dickensian feel.

Riverside Park Medway

The coastal wetland is designated as an Area of Special Scientific Interest. There is not much to hear except for the birds and a discerning ear is needed to identify species. The mud flats were full of birds feeding on this rich ground. It is no wonder that the environmentalists want to preserve this landscape.

Eastcourt Meadow

Eastcourt Meadow

There are a variety of natural habitats within the park, including mudflats and salt marsh, ponds and reed-beds, grassland and scrub. The Saxon shore way stretches to the west of the park. A little inland from this is Eastcourt Meadows which has been reclaimed it was a landfill site. To the west of the visitor centre is Blooms Wharf which became part of the park in 1997. It is a reminder of the river’s previous industry it has previously been a ship beakers and scrap yard. Motney Hill island was home to a cement works and Rainham docks close by was used by the industry.

Riverside Park Medway

It is not a picturesque landscape but it does have a balance of nature, industry and heritage that makes it quite unique. Just 30 miles from London it is a place worth discovering. A Thames Estuary airport would result in an unprecedented level of damage to this unrivaled coastal wetlands.

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