Tales from Gazen Salts

Introduction to Tales from Gazen Salts Nature Reserve
See Here for more Episodes of Tales from Gazen Salts Nature Reserve Directory

A typical volunteer day on a Wednesday. Not that you can see me properly, but l am on the far left in the blue/white lumberjack shirt.

Gazen Salts Nature Reserve Facebook Photo

Introduction to Tales from Gazen Salts Nature Reserve

Five times a month, l volunteer at the Gazen Salts Nature Reserve in Sandwich. It’s every Wednesday and the last Saturday of every month. Many of the photographs from the Natural Encounters gallery features are from the reserve through the seasons.

I have volunteered there since early June 2021, so it’s now fast coming on to my first year, and l enjoy it immensely for the community spirit, the feeling that you are doing something worthwhile and learning more about flora and fauna, which happen to be passions of mine.

I first discovered Gazen Salts Nature Reserve on a bright sunny autumn day in October 2020. I moved to Sandwich from Kingsdown [along the coast towards Dover] in June. During one of the covid lockdowns, l stumbled across the nature reserve purely out of curiosity to discover more about Sandwich’s town during the many walks l was enjoying daily.

Back then, the reserve had been closed for some seven years due to significant flooding back in 2013 when the River Stour breached the banks due to a tidal surge not once but twice in a matter of hours in December of that year.

Following that and the reserve then began to struggle financially. And without funding or the ability to raise funds to repair the flood damages, there was sadly no other choice but to close Gazen Salts down.

In October 2020, l remember walking around this forgotten nature wonderland, thinking if only they could do something with it, how fabulous it would be for the town of Sandwich and the residents.

I didn’t know how large the reserve was back then like l do today. All l could see was an area of land disappearing into the heavy overgrowth, where paths that initially must have been maintained had fallen into severe disrepair.

Fallen and uprooted trees, wild bracken and high weeds, dangerous dog rose, and bramble dominated everywhere. At one point somewhere in its yesterdays, I could see that this reserve must have been a thriving hub of wildlife. The now green algae-covered laden streams, so murky and hidden and sad, had to have been host to various birdlife.

In October 2020, it took me approximately 15 minutes to walk once through the reserve as much as l could due to fallen logs and overhanging branches and heaps of other detritus and clogging weeds. I took a second walk around the different half paths, another five or six minutes.

I exited the reserve that day, not even knowing it was called Gazen Salts. Even though there was a big noticeboard outside the area with photographs of various birds suggested to be inside, it also had an abandoned feel.

Such a shame, l thought. If only some organised body or a charity would take up the gauntlet of challenge and breathe new life back into this greenland, how marvellous that would be.

In the following January, when the rains of November and December had ceased to fall and the sun of that cold day shone, l thought l would try a second walkthrough. Imagine my surprise and delight when l found out that the local council was digging the entrance grounds to the reserve? The town of Sandwich had decided that they needed the nature reserve to breathe again.

It would be three months before l would again walk in that reserve. And so, in April, on a beautifully bright sunny spring day, l walked again and was overwhelmed by just how big the area was that they had cleared, and according to the resident warden, they had only cleared a quarter, and there was way more work to do.

From April through to late May, l walked in Gazen Salts daily, always astonished at how much more groundwork had been achieved. I had gotten to know the warden a little during that time, and we discussed one Friday how the reserve had taken on a small body of volunteers at the beginning of May and how more people were needed.

You would be right if you guessed this was when l volunteered my time at Gazen Salts Nature Reserve; l started the following Wednesday.

Photographs – Gazen Salts Nature Reserve Facebook Page
Tales from Gazen Salts Nature Reserve is about my time and stories of my work with this project.

Hopefully, you enjoyed this introduction, and I’ll see you next episode. Thanks for reading.

Gazen Salts Nature Reserve
Sandwich, Kent, England, UK

Part 1 – A Brief History to Gazen Salts Nature Reserve Next Episode

Published by The Autistic Composter

Earthly Comforts is a wildlife journaling scrapbook focusing on the countryside, wildlife biodiversity and environmental conservation, flora and fauna volunteering projects, gardening, composting and vermiculture, inspiration, poetry and photography.

9 thoughts on “Tales from Gazen Salts

  1. Wow!! That’s sooo cool!! Thank you for caring about the earth 🌍 ❤️

    Back in the 70’s and 80’s, we would take cross country trips across the United States 🇺🇸

    My parents always took us to national parks, historical landmarks, nature reserves etc… it was pretty awesome as I remember and look back

    I kinda took for granted once, but I was aware of the beauty and incrediblness – I was fully aware of the experience ❤️ and appreciate that exposure ❤️

    But I remember these wildlife preserves – they would be beautiful… amazing and beautiful and serene ❤️

    My favorite one is on Sanibel Island in Florida ❤️ Ding Darling ❤️

    Little tiny crabs 🦀 would run across the dirt road way certain times of the year – it was fascinating and they were adorable!!

    One time there – my brother had a pacifier and threw it because he was mad… and an alligator open his mouth and – gone lol … then he was even more mad lol

    But a wonderful area to have family memories and take in life …

    They used to be beautiful

    I think they have reclaimed also – like what you doing … because it did fall into disrepair for moment

    We forget our earth or the breathtaking beauty

    I love Lake Tahoe because there are certain areas you can go and will show you how small you really are on this planet 😮 it’s stunning!! Just incredible

    Some places are fantastically incredible like that.

    That’s really cool you do that – I love your passion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Trisha, l remember reading an article about Lake tahoe and how utterly fascinated l was with the wildlife in and around the lake 🙂 I had to look up Ding dong or rather Ding Darling 🙂

      Hahaha that’ll teach ya [your brother] heheheh!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lake Tahoe is stunning in wildlife and earth ❤️ is stunning in summer and winter ❤️ absolutely beautiful – you would be in awe of its massiveness

        You just feel sooooo tiny to the world there ❤️ we think we so big, but then you see

        Lol I know 😄😄 that name was always funny to us… Ding Darling lol …I have many memories there ❤️ did you see it?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey, Rory! I’m so happy for you to be involved in this project! I feel it is good for you on many levels, but also very beneficial to so many lifeforms and the community as well. Just wish I was young and strong enough to be investing myself in such a rewarding endeavor! But very grateful I am allowed to do so through your posts! 😊 Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Betty, Gazen Salts has proved to be a real opportunity for me on so many levels indeed from social and community in the right doses to inspiration and creativity and rekindling lost passions too 🙂


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