Crayford Marshes is an area of marshland alongside the River Darent just before it joins the Thames north of Dartford. It is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. (Map:; OS grid reference TQ531766)
History[edit | edit source]
The site was originally grazing land with ancient trees (mainly willow).
Habitat[edit | edit source]
The site offers tidal mud and reedbeds. In winter, flooded areas provide high tide roosts for waders. The Darent Barrier at the river mouth is surrounded by areas of mud popular with waders and wildfowl.
Species[edit | edit source]
Resident: Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Peregrine, Little Owl, Barn Owl, Ring-Neck Parakeet, Skylark, Meadow pipit, Reed Bunting, Stone chat, Little egret, Kingfisher, Mallard, Gadwall, Shelduck, Tufted duck, House sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Chaffinch, Blue-tit, Long tailed tit, Great tit, Carrion crow, Magpie, Jay, Jackdaw, Rook, Mute swan, Canada goose, Greylag goose, Collared & Stock doves, Grey Heron, Cetti's warbler, Ringed plover, Redshank, Black headed gull, Med gull, Lesser black backed gull, Great black backed gull, Herring Gull, Black redstart, Common Buzzard, Lapwing, Coot, Moorhen, Little grebe, Great crested grebe, Pheasant, House sparrow, Goldcrest, Robin, Starling, Dunnock, Wood pigeon, Feral pigeon, Green woodpecker, Great spotted woodpecker, Blackbird, Song thrush, Mistle thrush, Pied wagtail, Grey wagtail. Regan
Reed warbler, Sedge warbler, Whitethroat, Lesser whitethroat, Swift, Swallow, House martin, Sand martin, Little-ringed plover, Turtle dove, Nightingale, Hobby, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow warbler, Corn Bunting, Oystercatcher, Common Tern, Tree Pipit, Yellow wagtail, Avocet, Grasshopper Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher
Ring ouzel, Wheatear, Greenshank, Common Redstart, Sanderling, Turnstone, Bar-tailed godwit, Greenshank, Green sandpiper, Wood sandpiper, Common sandpiper, Knot, Grey Plover, Whimbrel, Black Tern
Wigeon, Pintail, Pochard, Shoveler, Water pipit, Rock Pipit, Black-tailed godwit, Teal, Brambling, Redwing, Fieldfare, Golden plover, Common Scoter, Ruff, Brent Goose, Woodcock, Common Gull, Snipe, Caspian gull, Lesser redpoll, Dunlin, Curlew, Yellow-Legged gull, Jack Snipe, Merlin, Short-eared Owl.
Water Vole can still be found in the marsh channels. Weasel, Fox,
Various dragonfly species can be seen in the summer.
Practicalities[edit | edit source]
Crayford Marshes is best accessed from Slade Green, which can be reached by car, train or bus.
Arriving by car, you may find a parking space in Moat Lane. If not, you will find street parking in the residential roads east of Slade Green station. Walk south to Moat Lane and then east into the marshes. Parking may also be available on Manor Road, close to the entrance to Erith Yacht Club. (Bolder drivers may wish to park at the yacht club itself if the gate across the drive has been left open.)
If arriving by train, walk south from Slade Green station on Forest Road and east on Moat Lane to reach the marshes after a couple of minutes. Good service from London via Abbey Wood (or occasionally Barnehurst (not Sundays) and to Dartford.
Bus routes 89 and 99 pass along the top of Slade Green and bus 428 passes nearby.
The site can also be reached from Erith by following the Thames Path east to the mouth of the River Cray and then south through the marshes. Alternatively, follow the River Cray north from Crayford.
The marshes can be accessed by following the banks of the River Cray from Crayford or from Erith town centre, but the 6km out and back route from Moat Lane to Crayford Ness is recommended. Public footpaths on the marsh are part of the National Cycle Route and are well signposted. The path network is suitable for walkers of all abilities. Wheelchair users may find some sections difficult.