Backup Only

This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Saturday Walk - A River, Sand Dunes, Shingle, a Nuke Plant, a Desert and Derek Jarman's Garden: Rye to Dungeness or Lydd [First Posting]

Length:  20.9 km/13.0 mi or 26.9 km/16.7 mi
Ascent/Descent:  negligible
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 hours or 6 hours (incl. 1 hour added for the shingle and sand)
Toughness:  3 out of 10 or 4 out of 10
Take the 09.34 Margate train from St. Pancras I’nal (Stratford I’nal 09.41), change at Ashford (10.11/10.33), arrives Rye 10.54. [From Victoria the 08.52 train (Bromley South 09.09) arr. Ashford 10.21.]
Return trains are on xx.30 and xx.56 (but not 19.30) from Rye and xx.10 from Ham Street. Buy a Rye return.

This is a very interesting if not classically pretty walk, along the south coast of Kent. It starts in historic Rye and follows the Rother River down to the sea. Then it passes a quiet beach (Camber Sands) backed by sand dunes. After that the walk enters into the Lydd Ranges, which is now a nature reserve. The most interesting part of the walk is Dungeness – a nuclear power station, a pub, a village of chalets with driftwood gardens, a heritage railway with miniature steam trains, 2 light houses (the power station was built in the way of the first...), Britain's only desert (due to the low rainfall) and its biggest expanse of shingle (small pebbles) – leading to a strange, unique and desolate landscape, and past Derek Jarman’s Garden. Either end the walk along the coast at The Pilot Inn, or walk inland through the nature reserve (and a RSPB site) to Lydd village.

Return travel by bus:
From Lydd-on-Sea (The Pilot Inn) by line 11/11A to Hamstreet or Ashford (17.23, arr. Hamstreet 17.56, Ashford 18.15) or by line 102 to Lydd to connect to below services (15.54, 17.29, 17.59);
From Lydd Church by line 100/101 to Rye (16.06, 16.26, 17.06, 17.41, 18.16, 19.07, 20.12).
The Lydd Ranges are closed this weekend, see here.
Low Tide is at 11.06, so we should be fine to avoid some of the shingle.

Lunch: Cafés & Restaurants + a Pub in Camber (6.0 km) or The Britannia Inn (19.0 km, food all day).
Tea: [Dungeness/Lydd-on-Sea] The Britannia Inn, 1.9 km from the end, or The Pilot Inn  at the walk’s end. [Lydd] The Dolphin.
For map, height profile and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.154


Unknown said...

Just an alert about the Rye Fireworks due to take place this Saturday.

It shouldn't affect the walk too much unless you are coming back through Rye after the walk. The event can be quite rowdy and local transport can be affected due to congestion. Hopefully the walk be over by the time the festivities take place.

Thomas G said...

Thanks for the comment, Johnny. I wasn't aware of the fireworks. Timings are ok for the walk though: "Procession from Tilling Green Estate at 7:50pm, Bonfire & Fireworks from 8:45pm".

Thomas G said...

A walk of great variety despite - basically - just following a river to the coast and then turning left along the coast.
Route finding was not a problem, despite there being no writen direction, and Rye's Old Town was quickly negotiated, the impressive bonfire site passed and the Rother River crossed to turn right and follow the river atop the grassy seawall. A couple of walkers were left trailing on this stretch due to them birdwatching (it was low tide after all, and muddy riverbanks very exposed). We then met the sea at the stunning Camber Sands beach, complete with dunes, horse riders, dog walkers, seals (reportedly) and lots of sandy expanse. We passed along Camber village, assuming what pubs/cafes there were would be along the seafront, but they weren't. So we went back along the road through Camber to find them. We did end up in the Rye Bar Cafe (and The Owl pub was just 100 further along), which supplied us with tasty fare at decent prices pretty quickly. The walk back cost us about 30 minutes, which proved to be a bad thing at the end...
The next stretch to the Military Range boundary was very pleasant, along a new flood defence-top broad concrete path, with the waves crashing on our right hand side(the tide was now coming in, as the surfers went out). At the gate to the MOD range we found that - although the range was closed for firing this weekend, as the posting said - the gate was still shut anyway due to 'urgent seawall repair works'. The majority favoured climbing over the concrete seawall and negotiating huge boulders for a stretch to walk along the closed part anyway, one bailed out though and instead walked to Lydd, then took the bus back to Rye.
Now we embarked on the longest stretch of shingle walking of any SWC walk, too long for comfort and enjoyment really. [This could be avoided though by choosing a day when low tide is mid-afternoon, as one can then walk along the sandy beach; note to future walk posters.] To avoid some of the shingle, we stayed on the seawall for a while, where it bent away from the coast, passing many adornments of the military practice ground, from abandoned tanks to bunkers and even a tramway. The Dungeness Nuclear Power Station was still some way away, and spirits started to sag, but eventually we passed it and the following lighthouse to bear inland. We passed Derek Jarman's garden in darkness and met the other 2 at The Pilot Inn to take the 17.23 bus to Ashford, and then the 18.38 train to Victoria or the 18.43 to St. Pancras.
So, we survived one of the largest expanses of shingle in Europe, and despite some people's spirits sagging, I'd say it's been a great day out. Next time, posted on a day with a later low tide and with a more detailed gpx and maybe even a write-up, we'll find the pub/cafe no problem and finish in broad daylight.
w=overcast, with the only rain falling while we were in the lunch cafe, and n=15.