Big skies and wild birds, a weekend in an Elmley nature reserve shepherds hut

Back at the end of September we spent the weekend in a shepherds’s hut on Elmley nature reserve, what could be more romantic. Big skies, a cosy wooden home with a big window overlooking the reserve. The recipe for a perfect weekend.

Elmley is based on the Isle of Sheppey and even though I am born and bred in Kent, I have never explored this corner of my home county.

We stayed in The Saltbox, named after the fact that since Roman times the salt marshes have been harvested for sea salt and salt mounds would have dotted the landscape.

We drove down to Elmley Reserve on Friday afternoon, a fairly easy journey out of South London. When you arrive at the main gate it is a ten minute drive over to the farm and the shepherd huts. Passing herds of cattle in the day and later when we popped out to buy supplies at twilight, hares, hedgehogs and murmurations of swallows.

We stayed in The Saltbox and when we arrived we were really impressed by the way the shepherd huts were set up and all the little touches such as Romney Marsh wool blankets, binoculars and bird books to identify the birds through the huge windows.

Elmley Nature Reseve, Saltbox shepherds box

Elmley Reserve, Saltbox, Weekend Away

Bird watching, Elmley Nature Reserve. Salt Box

Elmley Nature Reserve, Laura Bluebell

We didn’t fancy cooking and ordered a tasty home cooked supper, which arrived in a lovely wicker basket. We put up the table and ate delicious Spinach, butternut squash & feta filo pie. We also ordered egg butties and fresh coffee both mornings.

Later on we took advantage of the fire pit and marshmallows. It was a really lovely and cosy evening.

Elmley Nature Reserve, fire pit. weekend away

The next morning, I attempted to watch the sun rise but couldn’t stay awake! We had a leisurely breakfast and coffee. I particularly loved sitting in the Adirondock chairs and taking in the view. We went off and explored the nature reserve and discovered an unknown love of bird watching. We met lots of bird watchers who told us how much they loved the reserve. I was very impressed by their enormous cameras.

Elmley Nature Reserve, Laura Bluebell, morning coffee

The views were amazing. We also left the reserve to properly explore the North Kent Marshes, an inspirational place for Dickens. We went to see the beautiful St Thomas The Apostle in Harty before coming back for a nap to recover from the early start.

In the evening we ventured out to the Three Mariners in Oare. A really lovely and cosy pub, but very busy. I would recommend going earlier or later to miss the rush.

All in all a brilliant weekend.

Elmley Nature Reserve, Laura Bluebell, A weekend away Elmley Nature Reserve, Laura Bluebell, Weekend away


Elmley Nature Reserve, Laura Bluebell


Good intentions


After a weekend of gluttony, booze and too much fun, Monday has rolled round once again. I am starting the week with lots of good intentions and  I have just been to Frame for my weekly Barre class. Barre is designed to work your whole body to increase strength and flexibility and hopefully to create long and lean muscles. It is tough but I always feel amazing afterwards.

The Barre instructor Chris Unwin was excellent and really motivating,  he made the class lots of fun. On the way home from the gym I was trying to work out how I can incorporate more exercise into my day-to-day life. I always have great intentions at the start of the week which drifts away with work, friends and being a bit lazy.

My boyfriend is a mad keen cyclist and one of the fittest people I know. He suggested running home from work and so that is something I could try. I will keep you posted on how I get on.

With just over two months until Christmas it would be great to hit the festive season in a healthy frame of mind and fit into my Christmas party dresses. I also love the endorphin rush after exercise and how great I always feel.

Living in London means you walk a lot without even trying,  normally about 6 or 7 km a day. I am going to try and walk a bit further on the way to work and go out for a walk at lunchtime.

So LB’s good intentions are the following:

  • Walk as much as I can.
  • Run my commute once or twice a week.
  • Try and fit in as many Frame classes as I can (already booked in one for Thursday), I will let you know how I get on!

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I will report back and let you know how I get on.