We are a not-for profit organisation established in 2000, whose work is centred around the understanding, conservation and promotion of the estuary’s natural and historical environments.

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People have lived and worked around the estuary for thousands of years. As a result it is rich in both archaeological and historical remains including: Prehistoric droveways, Roman pottery kiln sites, Anglo Saxon fish traps (known as Snowt Weirs), numerous military installations (including Rochester and Upnor castles) and two historic dockyards at Chatham and Sheerness. To the east,  Faversham was a major producer of gunpowder from the 16th century and is home Chart gunpowder Mills ( the oldest of its kind in the world). Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, the estuary was home numerous cement works and brickfields, producing much what helped build the rapidly expanding suburbs of London.


Today the estuary is of national and international significance, both environmentally and economically. As a major trading route, it is home to several important shipping terminals, handling a wide range of products and raw materials. Since 2005, it has also played a key role in the UK’s energy supply network, with the country’s first Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) terminal situated on the Isle of Grain.


Despite this industrial landscape, the estuary continues to support an impressive and diverse ecosystem, providing the perfect habitat for thousands of breeding and wintering birds, protected by both national and international designations, the details of which can be found here (the Medway) and here (the Swale). In 2013 the Medway Estuary was designated a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ), protecting one species (the nationally scarce tentacled lagoon-worm) and eight different habitats, including peat and clay exposures, an uncommon habitat formed millions of years ago from ancient lakebeds and forested peatlands. More recently, in January 2016 the Swale was also designated a Marine Conservation Zone, primarily for its importance as a spawning and nursery ground for several species of fish, which find shelter in its seagrass and mussel beds.



  • Working Together – Environment Agency Consultation

    In February 2016, the Environment Agency published its latest River Basin Management Plans. The plans outlined the actions needed to protect and improve the water environment. As part of the agency’s review of the plans, it has launched its first phase of public consultation, seeking views......

  • EA plans to reduce estuary flood risk

    Flooding and erosion are real risks currently facing communities and landowners in the low-lying areas around the estuary. Over the coming years aging defences, climate change and sea level rise will all increase the risk of tidal and coastal flooding and erosion.   Over the......

  • Mudlark 2015

    The first annual edition the Mudlark is now available to read online.  ...