The Beach House is easily accessible by train from London. It is only ten minutes walk from Whitstable Station. Just head for the harbour, then walk west along the seafront footbath on the beach. Trains normally run twice an hour from Victoria and, during rush hours, also from Cannon Street. The journey currently takes 1 hour 20 minutes, so it is commutable and even more so when the high-speed route via Ebbsfleet to St. Pancras comes into operation later this year. www.southeasternrailway.co.uk
For those preferring to cycle around, there are many attractive cycle routes nearby. Secure bicycle storage is available to the side of the house. The centre of Whitstable is also only a ten minute walk away along the sea front.
The Beach House is situated on the edge of a nature reserve. Swale SSSI extends from nearby Whitstable Harbour some 20 km. up the Swale Estuary to the Kingsferry Bridge in the west, covering some 850 acres. The landward boundary here is the sea wall, which is at the bottom of the garden. This is an international RAMSAR site, established to protect the habitat of migrating birds, which feed on the mud-flats of the estuary.
“The intertidal flats are extensive, especially in the east of the site, and support a dense invertebrate fauna. These invertebrates, together with beds of algae and Eelgrass Zostera spp., are important food sources for water birds. Locally there are large Mussel beds formed on harder areas of substrate. The SPA contains the largest extent of grazing marsh in Kent (although much reduced from its former extent). There is much diversity both in the salinity of the dykes (which range from fresh to strongly brackish) and in the topography of the fields. The wide diversity of coastal habitats found on the Swale combine to support important numbers of water birds throughout the year. In summer, the site is of importance for Marsh Harrier, breeding waders and Mediterranean Gull. In spring and autumn migration periods, as well as during winter, the Swale supports very large numbers of geese, ducks and waders.” www.jncc.gov.uk
“Over winter, the area regularly supports 65,390 individual
waterfowl (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6) including:
White-fronted Goose, Golden Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit, Pintail,
Shoveler, Grey Plover, Knot Calidris, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank,
Avocet, Cormorant, Curlew, Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Shelduck,
Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Dunlin and Little
The Beach House was built in 1983 to the current standards of that time. In 2008 a refurbishment programme was begun in order to improve its carbon footprint and provide a healthy and natural environment. www.energysavingtrust.org.uk, www.aecb.net
The existing mineral wool quilt in the loft has now been overlaid with 100mm of sheepswool which will keep the house warmer in winter and also cooler in summer, and has not left harmful particles in the atmosphere of the house.
The original thin steel garage door has also been replaced with an insulated roller door to reduce heat loss.
Check availability for self-catering holiday accommodation here
The old gas boiler dating from the original build has been replaced with a high efficiency condensing system boiler coupled to a new three coil solar hot water tank heated by evacuated tube solar collectors mounted on the roof. These solar thermal panels will operate in daylight conditions, even in the absence of direct sunshine to provide 60% of annual heat required. A display unit on the wall in the top floor landing indicates water temperature in the collectors as well as top and bottom of the tank, and shows when the collectors are contributing hot water into the system.
Wherever possible low energy light bulbs have been fitted and we are continuing replacement as new products become available for the existing dimmer switches; we are still waiting for a suitable alternative to the living room spotlights to be developed, but have provided alternative low energy lighting in the meantime.
Although a tumble drier is provided, line drying is also available in the garden for dry days.
New Swedish dual / low flush toilets have been installed, and taps have water saving devices fitted. Eco cleaning materials are provided
The house has been redecorated throughout using green paints made from natural materials and with no volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
The existing wool carpets were cleaned using an environmentally friendly system using no chemicals.
New high performance cork floors have been installed pre-finished with plant oil sealer, and studded rubber flooring has been laid in the bathroom and shower.
Cleaning and Re-cycling
Eco cleaning materials are provided, and recycling containers and bottle carriers are available in the kitchen.
The waste and recyclables collection arrangements are as follows; recyclables in clear sacks will be collected one week, followed by landfill waste in grey-lidded wheelie bins the next week. www.canterbury.gov.uk
See our booking calendar for the dates of each service. Green cells are recycling bags + green wheelie bin days. Grey cells are grey wheelie-bin days.
Guests should put paper, cardboard, cloth, plastic and metal, but not glass into the clear bags provided, while leaving rubbish in the grey wheelie bins alongside the garden fence. The Council requires that rubbish and recycling are left at the bottom of the drive on alternative Mondays. The nearest bottle bank is at Middle Wall Car Park, only 300 yards away.