Rye, Dungeness and Lydd-on-Sea walk
Interesting coastal walk past sand dune and an army range to an eerie shingle landscape with a nuclear power station. Travel by bus
21.7 km (13.5 miles) - many options, see below
4 out of 10 (if hitting low tide at Dungeness, else tougher due to the expanses of shingle)
OS Explorer 125
This fascinating and most unusual walk has 3 distinct parts. It starts with a riverside walk to the coast, dunes, and wide sandy beach. The middle is a coastal walk through an often closed army firing range. The highlight is at the end - the eerie and desolate shingle landscape (the ground is pebbles with no earth, trees or grass) at Dungeness, with its remote community and nuclear power station.
The walk leaves the historic Cinque Ports Town of Rye along the Rother River to Camber Sands with its shallow and wide sandy beach lined by magnificent sand dunes and with a selection of lunch stops.
After lunch you follow the coast along the beach or the seawall through the Lydd Firing Ranges (only open for about 65 days a year) into the desolate, vast expanse of shingle (one of the largest in Europe) that is the Dungeness National Nature Reserve and then past the Dungeness Nuclear Power Station (helping to save the world from Global Warming).s
You pass a couple of lighthouses (old and new) and a few tea options in Dungeness and then continue past Derek Jarman’s famed garden to The Pilot Inn in Lydd-on-Sea, from where buses take you back to Rye or on to Ham Street or Ashford stations.
An alternative inland ending from Dungeness leads through the shingly Denge Beach area and a large RSPB Reserve to Lydd.
These options avoid the often closed firing range (and the shingle beach).
A Rye Circular Walk to Camber beach
Follow the river down to the dunes and sea, then, from the easterly edge of Camber, return through the grassy marshes. It cuts out the militart ranges and all shingle sections and makes an interesting all-year walk, but it does miss out Dungeness, the highlight of the walk. 17.6 km/11.0 mi long (1/10).
An extension of that Circular Route to Romney Marsh Windfarm adds 2.3 km/1.4 mi.
A Lydd-on-Sea - Dungeness - Lydd walk
This walk, on the far side of the militart ranges is between 10.3 km/6.4 mi and 20.1 km/12.5 mi long (the latter if first going all the way to the border of the military range (map-led), then back along the main walk to pick up the extension and then along the longer variation of the extension through the RSPB Nature Reserve and via the RSPB Visitor Centre).
An extension of the main route to Lydd
A longer ending through the unique Dungeness National Nature Reserve and then through parts of the RSPB Dungeness Nature Reserve adds 5.6 km/3.5 mi.
A Variation of the Extension further through the RSPB Dungeness Nature Reserve adds a further 3.2 km/2.0 mi to that.
Short walks by car
By car you could do 2 shorter walks either side of the firing range, which means you don't have to worry about the restricted opening times. A Camber Sands walk (the river estuary and sand dunes are the highlight, not the seaside resort village), and a Dungeness walk (the eerie Dungeness shingle landscape is the highlight). Camber Sands village has expensive parking (£12 summer / £6 winter). Its free at Dungeness
The middle part of this walk goes through Lydd Firing Ranges which are only open for about 65 days a year. You MUST check the range opening times before doing the full walk. There are options to do shorter walks either side of the ranges.
Firing Times : S.E. Training Estate (then "Lydd"), Googling "Lydd Firing Times" or "CPTA Firing Times", or phone 01303 225 518 (Range Control) to get opening times. [May-20]
The beach through the Lydd Ranges is shingle, which is hard to walk on. You can walk behind the beach, or on the sea wall in some places, but it's much better to do this part of the walk at low tide. Try and arrange to do the walk with low tide in early afternoon. Check the tide times!
The tide goes out a long way at Camber Sands beach uncovering sandbars. Explore these on a falling tide only! Beware that the tide comes in quickly and can cut you off. There have been fatalities here. Check the tide times!
The England Coast Path (ECP) opened in 2016 from Camber onwards past Dungeness to The Pilot Inn (and on towards Folkstone). However, the route detours inland around the Lydd Ranges. This section is not recommended, as it's a very long detour, and much of it is a slog along the Ranges' perimeter road.
North. The ECP carries on north for 20 km towards Folkestone (which has a train station). This section of the coast is flat, backed by a '1 street' strip of bungalows and occasional caravan parks. It's all promenade, so would make a fine cycle ride, but would be a very monontonous walk. The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway (a heritage 'toy train' railway) runs along this section of coast, from Dungeness to Dymchurch (near Folkestone), with many stops along the way.
West. If walking it in the other direction, be aware that you cannot cross the mouth of the River Rother at any state of the tide - you have to walk 3km inland to Rye and back again.
|Lydd Ranges||Lydd Ranges are only open for about 65 days a year. They are open for a 2 week period at Christmas, a period in August, and the rest of the 35 days are scattered throughout the year. Walking inland along roads around the ranges would be very long and not much fun.|
|Lunch and Tea||
Take the train to Rye. Buy a return to Rye, which is valid for all the (non-heritage) stations mentioned below.
Saturday Walkers’ Club: Take a train no later than 10.40 hours if planning to lunch in Camber. Take an earlier train for lunch in Dungeness and/or if walking a long version of the walk.
By car: You could do 2 shorter walks either side of the ranges, even when the range is closed.
21-Apr : high: 06:26 low: 13:01 high: 19:07
22-Apr : low: 01:57 high: 07:45 low: 14:43 high: 20:15
23-Apr : low: 03:14 high: 08:46 low: 15:49 high: 21:09
24-Apr : low: 04:15 high: 09:37 low: 16:46 high: 21:57
25-Apr : low: 05:11 high: 10:22 low: 17:39 high: 22:42
26-Apr : low: 06:07 high: 11:05 low: 18:30 high: 23:24
27-Apr : low: 06:59 high: 11:46 low: 19:19
Times for Dungerness. Corrected for BST if appropriate. Contains ADMIRALTY® tidal data: © Crown Copyright and database right.
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
Out (not a train station)
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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Full directions for this walk are in a PDF file (link above) which you can print, or download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone.
This is just the introduction. This walk's detailed directions are in a PDF available from wwww.walkingclub.org.uk