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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.

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Saturday, 14 July 2018

Saturday walk - Folkestone figure of nine [swimming walk]

SWC walk 51 + 13c - Sandling to Folkestone T=3.51

Length: - Sandling to Folkestone only: 11.1km (6.9 miles)
             - Including Follkestone Harbour: 13.7km (8.5 miles)
             - Including loop around Warren: 22.5km (13.9 miles)

Toughness: 5 out of 10: two or three steep climbs, otherwise level

9.10 train from Charing Cross (9.19 London Bridge) to Ashford International (arrive 10.31, depart 10.37: the timetable shows this as two trains but I have a suspicion it is the same train which just splits at Ashford), arriving Sandling at 10.48

Or catch the 9.34 Southeastern high speed train from St Pancras to Ashford, arriving 10.11, to connect with above train.

Buy a day return to Folkestone 

The morning of this walk - walk directions here, GPX here - is a very pleasant 7.3km (4.4 miles) down to the sea, passing through varied territory - the track of an old railway line, some woodland and farmland, a little bit of downland, all with some distant sea views thrown in. Then, unexpectedly, you find yourself descending to the seafront of Sandgate, a quiet little seaside town which now has a range of nice places to have lunch.

Sandgate's shingle beach is a good place for a swim (high tide today is at 12.21pm) and indeed, if you wanted to you could spend the rest of the afternoon lounging on the beach, as it is only 2.4km (1.5 miles) along the promenade to Folkestone. Or you can explore the newly redeveloped harbour area of Folkestone - the Harbour Arm with its cafes and sea views, and the former harbour station and its cross-harbour bridge, now turned into a pedestrian walkway. Directions to reach this are included in the walk document: this increases the walk to 13.7km/8.5 miles. Folkestone also has nice beaches including the sandy Sunny Sands beyond the harbour.

Alternatively, you could add an afternoon loop to the walk by doing either the shorter or longer version of the Folkestone Circular - option c) of SWC walk 13 - walk directions here, GPX here. The Sandling to Folkestone pdf has directions on page 7 that tell you how to link in with this walk. The shorter version of the loop - turning left after the footbridge over the railway in paragraph 31 - takes you up through woodland to the Cliff Top Cafe and makes a total walk from Sandling of 22.5km (13.9 miles): the longer version (turning right after the footbridge) is the classic Folkestone Circular route, making a walk of 24.3km (15.1 miles) from Sandling.

Trains back from Folkestone are on the hour (00 past) to St Pancras (high speed, 54 mins: last train 23.00), or at 37 past to London Bridge and Charing Cross (1hr 45: last train 21.37).

2 comments:

Walker said...


N=22 on this walk on w=another-day-of-sun. Hot inland but on the coast a cooling (even at times slightly TOO cool) breeze. I - and two newbies - soon got left behind due to everyone else whizzing off, but we then indulged in lots of butterfly spotting. Good to see so many still in these drought conditions.

In places the path is getting a bit overgrown and could do with the attentions of the SWC’s legendary (not to say mythical) strimmer squad. On the illegal golf course route around the awkward road section the main group got told off and told to go back to the road: I think this option had better be dropped from the directions.

At least five swam at Sandgate. The sea seemed noticeably nippier than on the Isle of Wight, but was still nice. Quite a few of us then lunched in the very nice seafront restaurant of the Ship - open windows and cool breezes.

After lunch the centre would not hold and things flew apart. Or to put it another way, several repaired to a comfy room in the Ship to watch the tennis, two of us strolled on and I have no idea what happened to everyone else. Three of had a very nice second swim at Folkestone’s Mermaid beach and then explored the revamped Harbour Arm, having “refreshies” at the lighthouse bar at its end. By the time we were done my phone showed 7.30, but only because it had logged itself on to a French mobile network. But 6.30 was still too late to be doing extensions, so we walked back along the top of the Arm and walked out the harbour entrance at low tide and then had chips. Did anyone do one of the longer walk options? If so please post a comment.

Going home the normally reliable high speed trains went into meltdown. We arrived for the 9pm to find it cancelled. A train then thundered through without stopping at 9.01 which the train tracker showed to be the also cancelled 8.00 running an hour late due to a signal problem in Margate. So why couldn’t they have just made it the 9.00? One of us got the last Charing X train and two of us ended up on the 10.00. This apart, a super day out.

MG said...

In response to Walker's request I did do an extension of sorts, not the full figure of 9 as in the directions but what I thought would be both shorter and a less demanding climb to the top by following the cliff route instructions from walk 13. It did seem to be shorter and the climb following the cliff route not as steep - but not by that much on either score (though this is impressionistic) and it involved a huge amount of backtracking to then return to Folkestone Harbour. Perhaps some intermediate extension could be devised that would extend the walking and get one on at least the intermediate hill with the first Martello tower if not further up for those who don't swim.