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Menu

Essentials

The important stuff

  • Check in: from 3 pm
  • Check out: 11 am (later check out available on request when possible)
  • Good mobile phone signal including 4G
  • The cabin has 240v power and lots of plug points but the whole farm is off-grid (using lots of solar and a generator to help in winter), so please try to use as little power as possible
  • Don't forget to bring marshmallows for toasting over the fire pit! The hut is off-grid, so bring some good books to get stuck into
  • Sleeping arrangements
  • 1 king-sized bed, 1 child's single bed, 1 child's hammock (for kids under 6) if needed

Extra space available

Space for 2 children no charge. 1 child's single bed, 1 child's hammock (for kids under 6) hanging across the main bed

Space for 1 baby no charge. travel cot available

Kids & Pets

Children are welcome but please be aware there are deep ponds at Elmley. Sorry, pets cannot be accommodated.

Cooking

  • Wood burning stove with hot plate top
  • Dresser and running water
  • All kitchen utensils provided
  • Communal outdoor kitchen (30m away) with bbqs including a large drum charcoal bbq, 3 ring has burner, hot and cold water, shared fridge, trestle table and more cooking utensils 

Washing

  • Hot shower and flushing loo in hut
  • Hot shower outside hut for a wilderness experience

Heating, lighting & bedding

  • Cast iron radiator
  • Electric lighting
  • Luxurious bedding, towels and thick robes are provided

Entertainment

Books and games in the hut. Bird books, vintage classic novels, Scrabble and jigsaw puzzles in the Victorian barn

Activities

At Elmley

The main attraction at Elmley is the wildlife, and there's lots to learn about. There are regular tours and talks, plenty of photography opportunities or you can explore the reserve with a private tour in one of Gareth and Georgina's mini 4x4 jeeps (£45 for two with drinks, booked in advance direct or on arrival).

You're also welcome to help out on the farm, feeding the pigs (when they're around) and chickens, or green fingered guests can help out on the veg patch.

If it does rain, it's a perfect excuse to hide out in the wet weather area set up in the beautiful, traditional Victorian Kentish Barn. Cosy up in armchairs with a book, watch a film on the projector, with a drink from the honesty bar. Or just watch the skies and clouds come down over the marsh through the barn windows (the end of the barn is sensitively glazed giving wonderful views). Wait the rain out and birdwatch in a hide (if its raining, its good weather for ducks!)

Take advantage of the therapy room at Elmley where local practitioner Roz provides bespoke, relaxing treatments just 400m from your hut.

As well as being utterly lovely and a very relaxing person to be around, Roz is an experienced trained masseuse, a Reiki Master under the Usui System & a member of the Federation of Holistic Therapists.

Treatments include:

• Holistic Massage – 1 hour - £60, or 40 minutes £45

A gentle but effective healing massage. Roz’s massages are perfect for treating stress, anxiety, backache, nervous tension and any kind of recurrent or acute pain. 

• Reiki treatments – 1 hour - £60

Reiki is used for relaxation, and relief from stress and pain. Using Reiki energy Roz’s non-manipulative treatment brings deep relaxation, soothes emotions and reduces negative feelings.

• Head, foot and leg massage also available

Places to Visit

Elmley is a good base for exploring Kent, and we are located near to the historic town of Faversham (25min drive), Whitstable (35min), Leeds Castle (25mins), Canterbury (30mins)

Closer to home, Sheppey is a historic island and has some fascinating places to visit, including Blue Town with its splendid Georgian Naval Terrace in Sheerness, Queenborough Harbour, beaches at Minster…

Outdoor & Active

Wildlife trails which lead to four bird watching hides, plus other footpaths – explore the old Victorian ruins, go pond dipping with jam jars (provided) and discover amazing wildife.

Walk to the furthest hide (Spitend hide 5.5 km from the farmyard) with the secret hamper filled with blankets etc to rest and refresh yourself for the walk back.

Off the Reserve there is sailing and kite-surfing at watersports available at the nearby Bartons Point Coastal Park, or for more nature and walks watch raptors from Capel Fleet or visit the Swale National Nature Reserve to watch seals basking on the sands in the Swale…

Food & Drink

At Elmley

Your hut will be stocked with complimentary muesli and milk ready for your arrival.

Available to order straight to your hut:

Breakfast comes with either a pot of coffee or tea (breakfast, mint or herbal) for £7.50 pp. Choose from:

  • Bacon &/or egg roll
  • Halloumi, tomato and olive oil (v) 

Suppers (Mondays to Fridays only from September to May -please note meals may not always be available, ask in advance). All for two people with that night’s pudding for £18pp. Choose from:

  • Slow cooked shin of beef stew with crusty bread and greens
  • Shoulder of lamb tagine with herb cous cous
  • Chicken and leek pie with pots and veg or feta
  • Spinach & squash pie 

Shops

Brambledown Farmshop is a ten minutes' drive away. It’s a proper rural farm shop, with great fruit, veg and meat - a great place to stock up on fruit and veg. Morrisons supermarket is also only 10 mins drive and Sainsburys deliver (please get in touch to discuss collection). For fresh fish visit Queenborough Harbour in the early morning to get the catch of the day. Back on the mainland you are in the garden of England so fruit and veg is sold at every farm.

Pubs & Restaurants

The Ship, Conyer, this delightful pub with good food overlooks a pretty marina.  It is located just over the water from us, but is a 20 mins drive around the Swale. (Hopefully we will offer a small boat trip over at high tide in 2015 – price tbc) 

Three Mariners, Oare.  Located near to Oare Marshes Nature Reserve, this cosy pub has excellent food (booking recommended) 25 mins drive 

Ferry House Inn, Harty.  A beautiful rural setting on Sheppey, this pub makes a good lunch stop during a walk or a cycle ride, the more adventurous could even cycle there.  And you can even seal spot from its beautiful terrace.  Pub grub and a friendly atmosphere. 20 mins drive

Sportsmans, Seasalter (nr Whitstable). The longer (30 mins) drive is entirely worth it. Absolutely wonderful locally sourced or foraged food in a old-school pub setting.  Michelin star well-deserved!  Book well in advance.

Black Horse, Thurnham, village pub in a very pretty Kent Downs setting, good quality food. 25 mins drive

Barn Yard, Iwade. Great farm shop with café and restaurant (evening opening only on Fri & Sat), good quality, seasonal food. 20 mins drive

Macknades, Faversham, (Gareth and Georgina's favourite!) – an excellent farm shop cum Italian deli and café (the family emigrated in the 1930s and still do things the Italian way) open in the day for light bites and scrumptious cakes.  Also holds regular supper clubs.

Meet your hosts

From owners Georgina and Gareth:

"The business is part of a family farm - we came home to the family farm in summer 2013. Georgina’s family has farmed on the grazing marsh for over 40 years and are renowned for managing the land for nature conservation – we have the unique status of being the only family farmers who own and managed National Nature Reserve.

Elmley 1

We both look after the visitors to the Reserve, and being an independent Nature Reserve have the opportunity to do things a bit differently.  There is nowhere else in the UK  that you can spend the night in a Nature Reserve (let alone the middle of a National Nature Reserve). So, after a month of Gareth waking (a then heavily pregnant) Georgina up before 5am last summer to see the sun rise over the vast expanse of meadows, they decided it was time to share this experience with others!

As well as the safari-esque sunrises and sunsets, the marsh at night is a really special place to take in either listening to the chorus of marsh frogs, and calls of owls, ducks and wading birds or watch the moonlight glint of the pools and nearby Swale channel.

Both of us are passionate about Elmley’s landscape and wildlife and are enthusiastic in introducing the Reserve to new people. Having moved to Elmley from busy desk job/the Army we also know the importance of a few days escape and that Elmley is just the place to relax and reinvigorate in peace, breathtaking views and fresh air. We aim to make sure stays are just what the doctor ordered whether it be quiet and relaxed or as fun and adventurous as guests want. We've thought of most things, but if there is anything else you need, please ask!

Wildlife & Environment

A National Nature Reserve and an internationally important site for the conservation of both habitat and plants, animals, insects and bird and so it is a SSSI, Special Protected Area for birds and Ramsar site (wetland of world importance).  Phew… we have a huge number of rare and endangered species but Elmley is especially important for breeding wadering birds and over-wintering birds – in fact this year we have a had record as over 420 lapwing chicks fledged into adults (exactly the opposite to the rest of the country sadly).  And, in the winter months the sky can be filled with tens of thousands of wildfowl, which make an unforgettable sight of cloud-like murmurations and flocks in formation.

hare

Elmley is also a great place to see hares, which are especially beautiful in the dawn mist, and three different owls (short-eared owls, little owls and barn owls).  Little Owl hut overlooks barn owl box in a nearby oak tree which often has owlets (youngsters) in. In fact, all the huts look out onto the reeds and long grass that the barn owl glides over each dusk – it is magically to watch every time!

A stay at Elmley is a real safari experience with watervole, swallows, egrets, dragonflies, birds of prey being some of the other wildlife guests will see. Guests should expect to hear and see wildlife everywhere.

Our not-so-wild-life consists of a couple of dozen chickens in the yard, Max the farm dog (a Patterdale terrier), and over 750 cows with their calves (which graze March to December). We also have lots of sheep over the winter. 

The farm is off-grid and is powered by a very efficient solar array and generator with big batteries.  Guests are encouraged to conserve electricity.

The huts are handcrafted using natural materials and eco-friendly insulation. Wood burner use sustainable produced Kentish wood pellets and logs."

Getting there

Elmley, Kingshill Farm, Elmley National Nature Reserve, Kent, ME12 3RW

By public transport

The nearest train station is Swale Halt, 3 miles away. Take the train to Sittingbourne from London Victoria (1 hour) or St Pancras (55mins), and then the Sittingbourne connection to Sheerness, stopping at Swale Halt.

The nearest bus stop is 2 miles away at the entrance to the Reserve.

Gareth and Georgina can pick you up free of charge from Swale Halt or the bus stop. Alternatively, a lift from Sittingbourne can be arranged for £10.

By car

Take the M2 southbound and turn off at Junction 5 onto the A249 toward Sheernes. Take the turnoff signed Iwade, Lower Halstow before the large bridge – there is also a brown sign for Elmley Reserve (your destination). Go straight over the roundabout off the exit and carry on over a low bridge for another mile. Turn right at another brown sign (on the left side of the road) for Elmley Reserve. 50m further on, turn left on to a gravel road signed for Elmley and go straight on.

The reserve starts after the cottages and the farmyard is 2 miles further down. Take your time, stay in your car and enjoy the drive – it is a safari experience. The birds are not threatened by cars in the same way as they are of people so you can get incredibly close to the wildlife. Please stay in your car and watch out for hares, hedgehogs and frogs crossing!

If you come across cows and calves blockade, the best thing to do is give a gentle beep or an engine rev and they will amble out of the way.

Park in the yard and Gareth or Georgina will come out to meet you. The shepherd's huts are about 50m away and there will be a wheelbarrow available for you to move around your luggage.

Booking Terms

Canopy & Stars low price promise
 
Book with us in confidence knowing you won’t find that place cheaper elsewhere. All of the prices we display are set and matched by our Owners. (In this world of foreign currency, we do have to say 'subject to exchange rates' for some of our European places.)

What does ‘from price’ mean?
 
Our ‘from price’ is based on a four night stay in low season and designed to help you to compare different prices across our collection. Some of our Owners vary their nightly rates and check in days throughout the year, so it may differ from the rate quoted below the calendar. It is quite common (although by no means universal) for places to charge a little more in peak season or for shorter stays, to cover changeover costs. Consider booking longer stays during the cooler months if you’re looking for the lowest nightly rates.

Agency Terms & Conditions

Except where otherwise specified, we Sawday’s Canopy & Stars Ltd Company No 09088366 of Merchants House, Wapping Road, Bristol, BS1 4RW act only as an Agent in respect of all bookings we take and/or make on your behalf. Sawday’s Canopy & Stars is part of the Alastair Sawday’s Group of Companies. We accept no liability in relation to any contract you enter into or for any services or arrangements you purchase (“Booking(s)”) or for the acts or omissions of any supplier(s) or other person(s) or party(ies) connected with any Booking. For all Bookings, your contract will be with the supplier of the Booking in question, and in most cases this will be the owner of the property you’ll be staying at (“Owner(s)”). When making your Booking we will arrange for you to enter into a contract with the Owner of the Booking. Your Booking with us is subject to these Agency Terms & Conditions and any specific booking conditions of the relevant Owner(s) you contract with. The Owner’s booking conditions may limit and/or exclude the Owner’s liability to you.

You may decide to make more than one Booking with us at the same time. The price charged in total for more than one Booking will always equal the prices charged separately for each individual Booking. All Bookings are available to be purchased separately at the same price as they are when more than one Booking is made. This means that any multiple Bookings do not constitute a package as defined in the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992.

By making a booking, you agree that:-

  1. you have read these Agency Terms & Conditions and agree to be bound by them;
  2. you consent to our use of your information in accordance with our Privacy Policy;

and

  1. you are over 18 years of age and where there may be age restrictions in place, you declare that you and all members of your party are of the appropriate age.

 

The Canopy & Stars online booking system enables Guests to make Bookings 24 hours a day. A Booking is confirmed on receipt of a 25% non-refundable deposit for all Bookings with check in dates of more than 10 weeks away. For all Bookings that have a check in date of less than 10 weeks before check in, payment for the Booking will be required in full and the entire Booking will be non-refundable. The Canopy & Stars telephone booking line is open Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm. When using the online enquiry form, for those Properties without online booking, please allow 24 working hours for us to contact you by telephone to confirm the Booking. If we are unable to reach you by phone we will attempt to contact you by email. We will contact you during Canopy & Stars working hours (Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm). Online or email enquiries will be dealt with in the order they are received, but please be aware that we cannot guarantee reservation of your selected dates until the receipt of suitable payment. Therefore, if possible, we do recommend that you book on the Canopy & Stars website using the online booking system.

 

1. Booking and payments

 

1.1 In order to confirm your chosen Booking, you must pay a non-refundable deposit as required by the Owner of the Booking in question (or full payment if booking within 10 weeks of the date of your check-in).

 

1.2 Your Booking is confirmed and a contract between you and the Owner will exist when we receive payment of the deposit and send you a booking confirmation on the Owner’s behalf. This booking confirmation will normally be sent out within 24 hours in the case of email and seven working days in the case of post, and will contain the details of your Booking and of payments made and due. If you have not received your booking confirmation within the specified time, please notify us as soon as possible by email (bookings@canopyandstars.co.uk). Please check your confirmation carefully and report any incorrect or incomplete information to us immediately. As we act only as booking Agent, we have no responsibility for any errors in any documentation except where an error is made by us.

 

1.3 We're sorry for any inconvenience, but payments can only be made by credit and debit cards. A 2% surcharge will be applied to credit cards. We do not accept American Express, cheques or cash.

 

1.4 Where a deposit has been paid, full balance payment will be due 10 weeks in advance of your check in date and a reminder will be sent to you two weeks prior to this date, where applicable, by email. We automatically take the balance payment using the same card as used to make the deposit payment. It is your reponsibility to advise us if we should use a different card and to contact us by telephone (0117 204 7830) to arrange for alternative payment method. If the balance payment does not successfully go through as there is a problem with your card, such as it expiring, then we will contact you to try and take alternative payment. If we have been unable to take payment after two weeks of the balance due date, then with regret, we will notify the Owner who may cancel your Booking.

 

1.5 Except where otherwise advised or stated in the booking conditions of the Owner concerned, all monies you pay to us for a Booking will be held on behalf of the Owner(s) concerned.

 

1.6 Credit Card payments are processed via Alastair Sawday’s Publishing Co. Ltd who provide merchants services facilities to Sawday’s Canopy & Stars Ltd.

 

2. Cancellation and Amendment by You

 

2.1 Any cancellation or amendment request must be sent to us by email (bookings@canopyandstars.co.uk) and will be considered and responded to within one working day of receipt. You are also advised to confirm all changes to our Customer Services Department by calling 0117 204 7830. Please ensure that you have received written confirmation of any changes to your Booking prior to travel. Whilst we will always try to help, we cannot guarantee that such requests will be met.

 

2.2 Amendments and cancellations can only be accepted in accordance with the booking conditions of the Owner of your Arrangements. The Owner may charge the cancellation or amendment charges shown in their booking conditions (which may be as much as 100% of the cost of the Arrangements and will normally increase closer to the date of departure). The Owner may charge cancellation or amendment charges in accordance with its own booking conditions, however for the sake of convenience only, we have outlined the Owner’s charges at clause 2.3 and 2.4 below. Please note that these are the Owner’s own cancellation and amendments charges, not Canopy & Stars’, and therefore the Owner may vary their charges as they wish, without notice to us. The correct charges will be notified to you at the time of your cancellation or amendments.  

 

2.3 Owner’s General Cancellation Charges:

2.3.1 Cancellation by you at any time will result in your deposit being forfeited, as all deposits are non-refundable.

 

2.3.2 All monies paid for a holiday (deposit and balance) are non-refundable within 10 weeks before check in date.

 

2.3.3 Cancellation of any holiday after it has been paid in full and at a date 10 weeks or more in advance of your check in date, will result in forfeiture of your deposit (or an amount equivalent where one was not paid as the holiday was paid in full) and the balance being returned to you. 

 

2.3.4  Cancellation insurance is available but will be a third party arrangement and not involve Canopy & Stars or the Owner in any way.

 

2.4 Owner’s General Amendment Charges:

2.4.1 Alterations to your Booking can only be made more than 10 weeks prior to the check in date, after which time alterations will be treated as cancellation. All alterations are subject to availability and may incur a £30 adminstration fee.

 

2.4.2 Differences in the total amount payable resulting from alterations will be refunded to you in the case of a decrease in price and paid by you in the case of increases in price.

 

Special note: Generally Owners will charge the above cancellation and amendment charges, however we must stress that these are a guide only and charges may differ from those shown here depending on the Owner. The exact charges will be notified to you by the Owner at the time of cancellation and/or can be found in the Owner’s own booking conditions which are available from the Owner on request.

 

3. Changes and Cancellations by the Owner

We will inform you as soon as reasonably possible if the Owner needs to make a significant change to your confirmed Arrangements or to cancel them. We will also liaise between you and the Owner in relation to any alternative Booking offered by the Owner but we will have no further liability to you.

 

4. Complaints

Because the contract for your Booking is between you and the Owner, any queries or concerns should be addressed to them. In the event that you have any complaint about your stay, please notify the Owner as soon as possible. If you don’t follow this procedure there will be less opportunity for the Owner to investigate and resolve your complaint and so make your stay as enjoyable as possible. Delays may also mean that amount of compensation you may be entitled to may be reduced. Whether or not your complaint is dealt with satisfactorily, please also contact us as we appreciate all feedback. It’s important to us and the Owner to know that you’ve enjoyed your stay or if anything could have been improved.

 

5. Pricing

Canopy & Stars reserve the right to amend advertised prices at any time on behalf of the Owner. We also reserve the right to correct errors in both advertised and confirmed prices.Special note: changes and errors sometimes occur.

 

6. Information & Accuracy

The information and prices shown on this website are varied from time to time and may change between the time you first view a property and make a Booking. You should check that all the details are as you expect prior to making a Booking. It is always possible that, despite our best efforts, some of the properties (including the features and extras available) may be incorrectly described and/or priced. If we discover this is the case after you have made a Booking, we reserve the right to contact you with details of the correct information and/or pricing and will give you the option to:

(1) proceed with the Booking based on the correct information and/or pricing, which may require the payment of an additional amount by you;

OR

(2) subject to availability, change your booking dates to dates when the pricing can be honoured ad so no additional charge to you. In the event that a lower price can be offered for alternative dates then the difference would be refunded;

OR

(3) cancel the Booking. If we do not receive your instructions within 5 days of contacting you, we reserve the right to cancel your Booking without liability to you.

 

7. Our Responsibility for your Booking

Your contract is with the Owner and its booking conditions apply. As Agent, we accept no responsibility for the actual provision of the Booking. Our responsibilities are limited to making the Booking in accordance with your instructions and acting properly in accordance with our legal duties as an Agent. We accept no responsibility for any information about the Booking that we pass on to you in good faith. However, in the event that we are found liable to you on any basis whatsoever, our maximum liability to you is limited to twice the cost of your Booking (or the appropriate proportion of this if not everyone on the Booking is affected). We do not exclude or limit any liability for death or personal injury that arises as a result of our negligence or that of any of our employees whilst acting in the course of their employment.

 

8. Pets

Not all properties accept pets. If you wish to take your pet on holiday, please advise us before booking and we can check whether pets are accepted at the property. You must obtain the prior consent of the Owner before taking any pets to the property. A nightly charge may be made by the Owner for each pet and additional terms may apply.

 

9. VAT

Many of the Owners of properties in the Canopy & Stars portfolio are not registered for VAT in which case no tax is payable. Where VAT is payable, the tax is included in the advertised holiday rental price.

 

10. Visa, passport and health requirements.

Unless you tell us otherwise, we assume that all members of your party are British citizens who hold or will hold full British passports valid for the entire duration of the Arrangements you chose to purchase. Information on visa, passport and health requirements, where given and applicable, is so given on this basis. Requirements may change and you are therefore strongly recommended to check the up to date position with the Owner of the Booking, Passport Office, appropriate embassy or consulate or your doctor as applicable in good time before the commencement of your holiday.

 

11. Insurance

You are strongly recommended to take out personal travel insurance for all members of your party. It is your responsibility to ensure that the insurance you purchase is adequate and appropriate for your particular needs. Please read your policy details and take them with you on holiday.

 

12. Special requests

If you have any special requests (for example dietary requirements, cots or room location), please let us know at the time of booking. We will pass on all such requests to the Owner, but unfortunately, we can't guarantee that they will be met and we will have no liability to you if they are not.

 

13. Group Bookings

Not all Owners accept Bookings for a single sex group (for example, a stag or hen party). Guests wanting to make such a Booking should check with us beforehand to enable us to check whether the Owner is prepared to accept the Booking. We will then advise you accordingly. In event that an Owner does not accept this type of Booking then it is with regret, that the Booking may be cancelled and cancellation fees may apply. It is the Guest’s responsibility to enquire with Canopy & Stars and/or check on our website beforehand to make sure that this type of booking is permitted.

 

14. Maximum Numbers

Please note that except by prior arrangement confirmed in writing, only the number of persons specified on a booking confirmation may occupy  a property. Most owners reserve the right to refuse admittance or revoke a booking if this condition is not observed and you are unlikely to receive any refund.

 

15. Your Responsibilities

Please note that you have a contract with the Owner of the property. As such you are under a responsibility to behave in a proper, appropriate and legal manner whilst staying at the property with due respect to the Owner, the Property and other guests and their property. You are responsible for informing the Owner of any losses or damage to the property as soon as possible. Please note that you will be liable to pay the Owner for any losses or damage to the property caused by you or a member of your party (except reasonable wear and tear). Some Owners will also require damage deposits. You must also leave the property by the check-out time specified on your booking. If any guest behaves inappropriately or improperly (of which the Owner will be the final judge on their Property), or illegally, the Owner reserves the right to ask the guest and their party (at their discretion) to leave the Property before the end of the holiday period and/or refuse any future bookings from you.  Any refund for so doing will be at the entire discretion of the Owner. In addition, the Owner reserves the right to sue the guest for any loss, damage or injury caused to the Owner, the Property or to other guests and/or their property. As agent, we will have no liability to you in these circumstances. 

 

16. Governing Law and Jurisdiction

These terms and conditions have been drafted in accordance with and are governed by English law and the courts of England and Wales have exclusive jurisdiction in relation to any and all disputes arising out of these Agency Terms & Conditions.

 

17. Discrepancies

In case of a discrepancy between these Agency Terms & Conditions and any other Canopy & Stars literature, these Agency Terms & Conditions shall prevail.

 

18. Validity clause

In the event that a court finds that a condition in these Agency Terms & Conditions is illegal or void, the illegal or void provision will be severed from the remainder of the Agency Terms & Conditions, which will continue to be valid and have full force and effect.