The Sandwich Bay coastline and the nearby marshes have been created over many centuries by the northward drift of sand and shingle, a process that is still continuing.The beach, grasslands and the adjacent golf courses provide a rare and protected habitat for a wide range of wildlife which means that the area is of the highest scientific importance. The dry climate and the nearness of mainland Europe also have an impact.
Several hundred different species of plant have been recorded from the Estate and its surrounding area, including a range of wild orchids such as the nationally rare Lizard Orchid and the Marsh Helleborine, which grows nowhere else in Kent. Butterflies, dragonflies and a wide range of other insects also occur – one or two moth species, such as the Restharrow and the Bright Wave, are more or less unique to the area. Above all, the Estate area attracts birds, particularly in the Spring and Autumn migration seasons as they move into the country from the Continent and further afield. These movements may involve thousands of birds on a good day and rare and unusual species can turn up at almost any time of the year.
The wildlife of the area has been studied for many years by the volunteer members of the Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory and Field Station, who have their headquarters building just off the Guilford Road. For more details of the work of the Observatory and the wildlife of the area, follow this link sbbot.org.uk . Alternatively, please visit the headquarters which are open to the public most of the year.