Sheerness to Minster, a Beach in the Thames Estuary


A stretch of beach where I grew up and a place that I still visit, this time with my family. Some of my best shots and series have been made on this beach! It can be busting with atmosphere!

The Isle of Sheppey is not the most salubrious place to go but there are aspects of it that are easy to grow attached to. The beach is one of them, a shingle and sand beach that stretches the full length of the northern coast of the Island it looks out across the Thames Estuary over the water to Southend.
For most of it’s length there is now a sea wall to protect the islanders from the floods we would receive back in the, dare I say it 70’s( I was a kid!) Beyond this further up the coast toward the higher end of the Island the wall disappears and is replaced by a rased bank of sand, shingle and grass, this leads into what is known as The Leas.

When I was a child this area was actually cliffs which would regularly fall away to reveal such wonders as fossils and of course a lot of mud, in the form of ‘London clay’ a particularly sticky and quite trecherous sucking mud that would pull in many a shoe if given half a chance, let alone many an unwary visitor that would need to be rescued.

If you stay on the shoreline you will of course be safe if you have watched the tide and not ventured around the ‘tip’ of the island at Warden, this is where the cliffs are still likely to fall and you can easily pick up fossils from the beach strand line if you don’t want to mess about with the mud and the cliffs, the best time is after a storm and then a lot has been washed down onto the beach. Most of these will be sharks teeth “Lamna” and also many different types of shells that have been fossilised in the form of iron pyrites, I have also found while wandering with my cams, turtle teeth, skin, palm fruits called ‘Pinna’ and Toredo Nevalla (shipworm) there is also plenty of fossilised bark trees etc. The area by the cliffs can be quite deserted even in the height of summer, the top of the cliffs have a few caravan parks but they are not that dominant.

The regular features on this beach are the breakwaters and to watch them slowly vanish under banks of stones after many years really shows the passage of time. They are tallest at the Sheerness end, still easy to hurdle but watch out if the tide is in as one side is always deeper than the other, by the time you reach Minster which is a good few miles they are sporadic and are more like useful seats to watch the waves from. They can also be the perfect place to rest your pinhole camera and do a long exposure!

Sadly a lot of the really interesting old Victorian/Edwardian buildings that would provide shelter along the prom have gone, due to weathering but I think mostly neglect and vandalism. This place has a wonderful sense of desolation, an expanse of flat land drawn to the sea edge. A great place to make atmospheric images.

Nearer the Dockyard end there are still Napoleonic forts which are wonderful to capture in the right light, it isn’t a place for everyone, more for those who don’t mind not having beach amenities and seaside amusements, there are a couple of these but faded grandeur is an understatement!

Enjoy the wildness of the place!

written by kylewis on 2010-05-30 in #world #locations #sheerness-minster-kent-water-sea-swampy-shingle-sand-cliffs-fossils-blur-pinhole-holga-dianaf-fujirvp-agfarsxii-xp2 #thames-estuary #diana-original #expired-film


  1. azurblue
    azurblue ·

    Viva kylewis ! Breathtaking pinholes pictures ! (I'm jalous of your talent, ky ;) ! )
    Big big congrats for these photographs !

  2. chawdretto
    chawdretto ·

    Amazing all of them!

  3. bravopires
    bravopires ·


  4. vicuna
    vicuna ·


  5. paramir
    paramir ·

    beautiful, beautiful images. queen of pinholes! great review.

  6. jeabzz
    jeabzz ·

    great gallery indeed !

  7. disdis
    disdis ·


  8. mrs-paul
    mrs-paul ·

    Great article... Love shots no. 1 & 4. I grew up down south and you reminded me a little of the beach back home... Thanks for the memory and sharing your fab gallery!

  9. kylewis
    kylewis ·

    Thanks for all your brilliant comments and support, you wouldn't believe how much it is appreciated, that's what I love about this community!

  10. neja
    neja ·

    oh wow, so informative!

  11. juznobsrvr
    juznobsrvr ·

    bravo... clap-clap...

More Interesting Articles

  • Summer Hot Spots: Blaavand, Denmark (Part Two)

    written by dermanu on 2014-09-22 in #world #locations
    Summer Hot Spots: Blaavand, Denmark (Part Two)

    When I was a child, I regularly went to Blaavand, located at the Danish west coast, with my brothers and parents. I stopped going there as I grew up. In 2012 however, we hit the road again. It was my first return visit in about 20 years. I took the chance and packed as many cameras as possible into my luggage. In part two of my journey log, I'm going to show you the pictures I took with my Lomography cameras.

  • Photo Stories: Children of the Desert by eleonorepairet

    written by eleonorepairet on 2015-05-28 in #world #lifestyle #locations
    Photo Stories: Children of the Desert by eleonorepairet

    My family and I were in Udaipur (India) for a wedding ceremony and decided to travel around the area. We went to Jaisalmer, one of the most gorgeous cities I have ever seen (located on the border with Pakistan) and decided to stop by the remote Thar Desert, which is where these pictures were taken.

  • Pixelstick + Lomo'Instant: Take Light Painting to the Next Level

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-04-20 in #gear #lifestyle
    Pixelstick + Lomo'Instant: Take Light Painting to the Next Level

    Ever since the Pixelstick came out, I've been dying to try it out. This past week, I finally got my chance! With one goal in mind — getting some super cool light-painting shots — I grabbed some friends for an amazing session with my Lomo'Instant and the Pixelstick. Take a moment and have a look at these priceless pics!

  • Shop News

    Standard Photo Development Services

    Standard Photo Development Services

    Done shooting and want your films to be processed? We can process your colour and black & white 35mm, 120 or 110 films! Development, prints and scans are also included. (Service availability depends on your markets)

  • My Best LC-A Photos Ever by alienmeatsack

    written by Robn Kester on 2015-06-25 in #gear #reviews
    My Best LC-A Photos Ever by alienmeatsack

    I love my Lomo LC-A series cameras. They are so easy to use and take such amazing photos. I don’t ever go shooting without at least one of them in my bag. Here are some of my favorite shots.

  • The World According to Herr Willie: The Amazon

    written by wil6ka on 2015-04-09 in #world #locations
    The World According to Herr Willie: The Amazon

    It was the Amazon which I had longed for my whole life. And when it was finally a set deal that I will travel to Brazil with two of my best friends for the Copa do Mundo (World Cup), we really had to start our adventure in the Amazon. I had known about this magical place deep in the rainforest. There was a lodge run by local people of indigenous background, with wooden houses that float on the water and a limited number of visitors. It was eco-tourism as how it should be. To preserve and to celebrate one of the most impressive locations I have seen so far.

  • A Salute to the Masters: R.I.P. (A Tribute to George Krause)

    written by sirio174 on 2015-06-20 in #world #lifestyle
    A Salute to the Masters: R.I.P. (A Tribute to George Krause)

    This article is dedicated to the multifaceted American photographer George Krause and to his series depicting funeral monuments realized between 1962 and 1963. I was able to know about this series thanks to an important essay on photography written by former Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Director of Photography, John Szarkowski. For this tribute, I loaded my trusty Praktica camera with a roll of Ilford film and took a series of photos in the Monumental Cemetery in my city, Como. Take a look!

  • Shop News

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    Diana Mini and Flash Petite Noire at 25% off

    At 25% off you can take dreamy 35mm images with this little black beauty. Beam coloured light into your shots with its accompanying Diana Flash Back accessory and be the analogue king of the night.

  • Petzval Artist: Wedding Photographer Roland Faistenberger

    written by bgaluppo on 2015-06-29 in #people #lomoamigos
    Petzval Artist: Wedding Photographer Roland Faistenberger

    Vienna-based wedding photographer Roland Faistenberger shot a ceremony with the New Petzval 85 Art Lens and the result is a series of images made even more romantic with soft swirly bokeh.

  • Tycho's Concert in Paris as Seen Through the Petzval Lens

    written by shibuya on 2014-11-25 in #lifestyle
    Tycho's Concert in Paris as Seen Through the Petzval Lens

    I decided to bring thePetzval Lens with me to document the concert of Tycho, my favorite band. Take a look at this incredible series of pictures, captured between mind-blowing music and swirly bokeh!

  • A Salute to the Masters: Barkers (A Tribute to Jack Delano)

    written by sirio174 on 2015-05-02 in #world #lifestyle
    A Salute to the Masters: Barkers (A Tribute to Jack Delano)

    This is tribute to the Farm Security Administration photographer, Jack Delano, and his photographic series dedicated to barkers. For this article, I chose a series of photos I took this year at the traditional Easter Fair in my city, Como, using a classic rangefinder camera loaded with a roll of black and white film.

  • Shop News

    Try the LomoLAB Development Service!

    Try the LomoLAB Development Service!

    Whatever kind of film development you're after, you'll find it here! Now you can confidently shoot from the hip without having to worry where to develop those film rolls!

  • 12 Months, 12 Projects: February - Nighttime Traffic

    written by Maaike van Stratum on 2015-03-11 in #world #lifestyle
    12 Months, 12 Projects: February - Nighttime Traffic

    My list of resolutions for 2015 consists of 12 projects, one for every month. In February, I wanted to take one of those long exposure night shots of traffic. You know the type: nighttime cityscape, with bright red and white stripes where traffic passes. I love those shots, but I had never gotten around taking one.

  • Travel Stories: The Bolivian Highlands by lonur

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-08-25 in #world #locations
    Travel Stories: The Bolivian Highlands by lonur

    My wife and I suffered a family loss in October 2013 so we decided to shift things around and have a celebration of life—a wedding, actually—to associate our loss with the beginning of something positive and memorable. We have been together for nearly 13 years and after getting married, we headed off on a three-month trip to South America and a few other stops to complete a round-the-world loop back to Australia.

  • Loving the Lomo'instant!

    written by hannah_brown on 2015-01-16 in #news
    Loving the Lomo'instant!

    It's only been a few months since the lovely Lomo'instant camera was officially launched online and in the Lomography stores. Since then this Instant compact camera has been flying off the shelves. You've all been busy experimenting and uploading your amazing shots so we've decided show you some of the best shots out there to inspire you to get creative!