The garden by the sea

John Bayes and family built Oystercatchers in 1998 and have been improving on the house and garden ever since.

The garden, between the house and the beach, features a host of coastal plants, including sea poppies, sea holly, thrift, viper’s bugloss, artemisia, valerian and lots of tough perennials and shrubs that manage to survive the drought and salty air. (Elaine is a horticultural specialist in coastal plants). The garden also has a picnic table, seating and a barbecue.

The coastal and sea views from Oystercatchers span 180 degrees. To the west is Seasalter with its wildlife-rich coastal nature reserve and the famed Sportsman gastro-pub. To the north west, across the mouth of the Swale Estuary, is the Isle of Sheppey. To the north and north east is open sea, with the port of Sheerness and the Essex coast visible in the far distance; and to the east is Whitstable harbour.

Directly in front of the house is a sandbank close to the shore, where you can see a wealth of coastal wading birds, especially at migration time. Visitors include cormorants, herons, oystercatchers, egrets, terns, turnstones, curlews, godwits, sanderling, dunlin and many other species, including swans in the summer.