Tuesday August 9th 2011
The second day of walking on this mini-holiday and having spent a day exploring Dover, we were ready to continue the walk along the Kent coast.
We checked out of our B & B and easily caught the 8.32 train to Deal. We stopped at Sainsbury’s next to the station for food and the loo then wandered along the High Street to the castle. We had to wait a while for it to open and it was very pleasant sitting on the seafront reading. The castle was very small and after a look around we set off for the pier and the start of today’s walk.
It was a rather uninteresting walk in many ways after the scrambling cliffs we have been enjoying lately. This one, by contrast was dead straight and completely flat. The prom continued for about a mile with houses on the other side of the road, many old and rather pretty.
At intervals along the sea wall were flood gates and the houses all have flood bars at the bottom so this coast is obviously prone to flooding. Just off the coast the shadow of the Goodwin Sands could be seen with a lightship guarding one end.
The prom ended at the third of the row of castles which began with Walmer then Deal and finally Sandown Castle. This one has been lost to the sea and all that is left is a raised platform. In fact, without the information board, it would be hard to know there had been a castle here at all.
In front of us now lay a stony bank with the sea to one side and a golf course to the other. All we could do was trudge along it with very little of interest on either side apart from the odd golfer. Eventually a building began to loom up and the guide book told us this was one of the houses in the Guildford Park Estate, an attempt by an entrepreneur at the beginning of the century to develop here. Each house was designed by one of the leading architects of the day and they are now very exclusive and beautiful.
At this point the stony path ended and a metalled track appeared. It was still dead straight and still had a golf course on the left, though now it was the famous Royal St Georges, home to the Open Championship this year. Soon our unbroken march forwards stopped as we spotted the tuning inland we needed to take. As it was quarter to one, we decided to sit down on the beach and eat, especially as this was the last sea we would see this summer. After a long lunch break enjoying the sea and a new set of ferries going in and out of Ramsgate, we set off again.
The final leg of the walk took us across the golf course, along a well-marked path with lots of signs and warning about not straying and watching out for golfers. It really did feel as though walkers were not welcome!
But there was not a golfer in sight and it was very pleasant walking. At the end another path led us to a bridge across a small river then out onto a path along the main river and into Sandwich centre. We finished the walk by the quay in Sandwich which was very busy with visitors.
After we had finished we had a coffee in a nearby tea room, then confirmed our decisions to head for home. We had planned to explore Sandwich and go home much later using the high speed train from Dover, crossing London from St Pancras. However, given the rioting that has been taking place in London over the last few nights, it seemed wiser to head off earlier and take the slow train to Waterloo East meaning that we did not need to cross the city. At Waterloo, there were some rather heavy looking ticket inspectors on the bridge between the stations who didn’t give us a second glance but were stopping anyone who looked in the least bit suspicious. The timing was awful as we ended up on a commuter train out of Waterloo but at least we got home safely!
I was very glad to reach Sandwich as I had been suffering very badly with a painful foot. During the sightseeing day in Dover I had to return to the B&B in the middle of the afternoon to rest and today I could not have walked any further than Sandwich. We decided that some investigation was required before we pick up the walk again next summer.
Running Total 262.25