North Kent

For such a small catchment, the North Kent catchment punches well above its weight in terms of its ecological significance.

About the river

The North Kent catchment has four small, distinct rivers: the White Drain, the Westbrook, the Iwade Stream and Conyer Creek. All four of these rivers enter the sea via the Medway and Swale Estuary – a habitat of national and international significance, designated as a Special Protected Area (SPA) and a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ).

The area has been integral to regional industrial growth and remains important today. It plays a key role in the UK’s energy supply network and is home to several important shipping terminals.

What makes it special?

The Isle of Sheppey and the surrounding area is packed with history. Archaeology and historic records show evidence of people living in the area dating back to prehistoric times and remaining there through the Roman and Anglo Saxon eras all the way to the present day. The nearby town of Faversham was a major producer of gunpowder from the 16th century, producing the gunpowder for the Battle of Trafalgar.

The North Kent Marshes that surround the Medway and Swale Estuary are a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). With the vast majority of England’s marshland lost to artificial land drainage, the North Kent Marshes offer a rare glimpse into an ancient habitat, once endemic to England. The marshes provide valuable habitat for a range of priority species, such as water voles, lapwings and European eels.


  • fisheries
  • habitat
  • flooding
  • pollution

How Healthy is the North Kent?

Co-hosted by the South East Rivers Trust and the Medway Swale Estuary Partnership, the North Kent Catchment Partnership is made up of organisations that have an interest in the health of the landscape and the many benefits of having an environment rich in biodiversity and recreational opportunities. To find out more about the health of the North Kent landscape and rivers, please visit the dedicated catchment partnership website.

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