The reserve developed when coal mining subsidence formed marshland with large reedbeds, lakes, ditches, meadows and wet woodland.
Stodmarsh is an important wildlife site supporting a number of breeding and migrating birds, some of them rare. As well as birds the site is home to many rare plants and invertebrates.
To obtain a leaflet describing this site email Natural England's Kent office, or telephone 01233 812525.
How to get there
The reserve is on the Great Stour river south of, and almost immediately adjacent to, the A28, midway between Canterbury and Margate. The nearest villages are Upstreet on the A28, and Stodmarsh, 1 km to the south. The nearest car park is in Stodmarsh. By car, the village is accessed via minor roads from the A28 and A257.
The nearest train station is in Sturry, 5 km to the south west, served by South Eastern and regular bus services along the A28 from Sturry to Upstreet are provided by Stagecoach East Kent. For additional details of bus services in the area go to the Kent County Council website.
Stodmarsh is on the path of the Stour Valley Walk and on Route 1 of the Sustrans National Cycle Network.
What to see
The reedbeds and lagoons of the reserve are important for wildfowl. Mallard, gadwall, shoveler and pochard ducks breed at the site in most years and in the winter they are joined by teal, wigeon, water rail, white-fronted goose, and tufted duck. Other birds seen at the site include reed and sedge warbler, bearded tit, bearded reedling, bittern, hen harrier, great crested grebe, corn bunting and coot. In the autumn and spring large flocks of martin, swallow and wagtail use the reserve as a stop-over. The site also has the first breeding record for Cetti's warbler in the UK.
As well as birds the reserve also supports a number invertebrates; some of them - such as the shining ram's-horn snail - being nationally rare. Moths seen at the site include the reed dagger, obscure wainscot and silky wainscot. A number of rare plants are also found here such as the carnivorous greater bladderwort, greater spearwort, whorled water-milfoil, soft hornwort, bog bean, sharp-leaved pondweed, and rootless duckweed.
There are toilets in the Stodmarsh car park and refreshments are available in local towns and villages.
There are bird hides and an observation mound at the reserve accessed by a network of footpaths. One path follows the Great Stour river for much of its length within the reserve area.
There is a 1.3 km easy access nature trail - with a number of interpretation panels - accessed via a minor road from Stodmarsh village.
Welcome to the Wildside!
Natural England and The Heritage Lottery Fund have joined forces to deliver an exciting new project called Welcome to the Wildside!
This project is very much about welcoming everyone to enjoy and experience three very different National Nature Reserves (NNRs) in Kent; Stodmarsh NNR which is just outside Canterbury and Wye NNR and Ham Street Woods NNR that are located near to Ashford. The project's aim is to put people back in touch with nature.