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Saturday, 15 July 2017

Cinque Port to Cinque Port (Rye to Hastings)

Book 1 Walk 25 – Rye to Hastings  Romney Marsh, Dramatic Cliffs and Two Ancient Cinque Port Towns T=1.25

Distance:  15 Miles or 24 km for those more metrically minded (with option to shorten to 12.5 miles/20.1 km by starting in Winchelsea (an hour later))
Difficulty:  9 out of 10

Train:  Take the 9:34 AM train from London St. Pancras to Ashford International and change onto the Southern service to Brighton (arriving 10:11 and departing 10:33) to arrive in Rye at 10:54. For those wishing a later start and a shorter walk, you can take the 10:37 train from London St. Pancras changing at Ashford (arriving at 11:14; departing 11:33) to the Southern Brighton service to Winchelsea, arriving 11:59 (about which time the Rye starters should be passing by).  Return trains from Hastings are regular and varied (hopefully avoiding any issues with Southern):  to Charing Cross 18:20; 18:50; 19:50; 20:50; to Victoria 17:58; 18:58; 19:58; and to St. Pancras (via Ashford) 18:36; 19:36; 20:36. Buy a day return to Hastings. 

This is reputed to be the toughest walk in book 1.  It starts off rather innocently in a gentle (almost misleading way) across Romney Marsh and finishes with a bang with four steep climbs along coastal cliffs with an opportunity for a cooling idyllic swim in an almost Mediterranean cove towards the end.  I have not actually done this walk in this direction in ages (indeed it has not had a Saturday outing since 2015); however, I thought it would make for a nice change from the Hastings to Rye route which has been done more often of late AND the tide times for swimming in Fairlight Glen (the idyllic cove) are better in the late afternoon/early evening than in the morning.  Please note that part of the coastal path has been diverted at the end of the walk – see some instructions for the diversion in the walk instructions.  You can find more information about the walk and download the walk instructions here.

The recommended lunch spot is the Queens Head in Icklesham (01424 814 552) about 4.5 miles/6.5 km into the walk.  An alternative lunch pub, The Royal Oak (01424 812 515) is located in Pett village about 1.5 miles/2 km further along the route. Tea and afternoon refreshments could be taken at the Coastguards Tea Room (01424 814 131) on a short inland diversion to the right at the top of the first hill just before the Coast Guard Radar Tower.  The old port in Hastings offers a variety of refreshment spots.    

Enjoy the walk!

5 comments:

Thomas G said...

For fast walkers there is also the cafe at the Jerwood Gallery: http://www.jerwoodgallery.org/whatson/current
Seaviews, open to 17.00.

Walker said...

I recommend the alternative route from Winchelsea station to Icklesham (section C, paragraph 27 in the directions). Very pretty. Fine views. No longer than the main route.

Anonymous said...

Ah, so happily there is an option for those of us who don't like to get out of bed at 8am on a Saturday. See all you late risers on the 10.37.
Andrew

Thomas G said...

2 off an earlier train, 12 off the posted one, making 14 doing Rye to Hastings, with 6 others starting later for the shorter walk from Winchelsea, i.e. n=20 on an w=overcast-with-sunny-breaks-then-drizzly-periods kind of day, with a nice breeze from the front. Most lunched at the Queen's Head, Icklesham while a handful continued to the Royal Oak, Pett. Also about a handful seemed to have walked the alternative route to Icklesham. The footpath closure at Ecclesbourne Glen is still in place, but the alternative path so overgrown that one has to assume no one actually walks it. Until the land slips again...
The 5 faster walkers got to Hastings in good time for the 16.50 train, after a beer in the Old Town.

Walker said...

Nine of us swam at Fairlight Cove, despite grey skies and heaving seas. Another (non-SWC) group also turned up and swam, so the sea was suddenly quite busy.

Earlier a large chunk of the group had stopped at the Coastguards for tea. It was sunny at that point, so perhaps we should have pressed on and had the swim then. But never mind: always nice to have tea before the end of the walk and it gave us fuel for the big dips.

In Hastings a couple of walkers at least had fish and chips but six of us found a lovely Thai restaurant in a bookstore in the Old Town and had a delicious all fresco dinner there, joined by a seventh walker who just had drinks. 9.50 train home, getting back to London after 11.30pm. Tired now......