Length: 22.7 km (14.1 mi)
Ascent/Descent: approx. 70m; Net Walking Time: 4 ½ hours
Toughness: 2 out of 10
Take the 09.27 Margate train from St. Pancras I’nal (09.34 Stratford I’nal), arrives Birchington-on-Sea 10.53.
Return trains are on xx.28 to Victoria, and on xx.50 to St. Pancras I’nal (they leave Herne Bay 6-7 mins earlier). Buy a Birchington return.
This is the long version of an easy coastal walk - it is entirely flat - and the directions are straightforward and consequently minimal. It passes the dramatic landmark of Reculver
, the remains of the twin towers of a 12th
C church set amongst the ruins of a Roman Fort (free entry) and ends in the delightful Whitstable, which has its annual Oyster Festival
starting today. Note
: this Festival has gained some notoriety for “excessive drinking, littering and over-crowding
”, so we should fit right in.
There are opportunities for sea swimming throughout, and though the walk is almost entirely on tarmac or concrete paths, with only a 1km section beyond Reculver on grassy clifftops, there are still plenty of rural delights. After an initial section on the seafront promenade (or cliff top park) of Birchington-on-Sea you follow the raised sea wall over the flat marshland (a sea channel until the 12th century), along an unspoilt shingle beach which has interesting wildflowers and seabirds, and also fine views of distant shipping and windfarms, and the ruins of Reculver church as an aiming point on the horizon.
Beyond Reculver your path takes you along the top (or bottom) of a very pleasant grassy slope facing the sea, which again has interesting wildflowers, to the charming, if slightly faded, seaside resort of Herne Bay (possibility of shortcutting here, as well as in Swalecliffe) and on to Whitstable.
This is a walk almost entirely without mud. But note that there is no shelter, however, so in rain and/or strong westerly winds, it can be fairly wretched.
Lunch: King Ethelbert Inn in Reculver (8.3 km/5.2 mi) or a seasonal café 1 minute away or one of many pubs in Herne Bay (14-15 km).
Tea: lots of choice in Whitstable, but expect every outlet to be very busy (as well as the trains).
, height profile
, some photos, walk directions
and gpx/kml files