Folkestone Harbour

Folkestone Harbour

28-Sep-14 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Sandling to Folkestone via the Sea walk

A swimming walk. Starts with a disused railway line, Saltwood Castle, and downland. Finishes along the coast to Folkestone.

History

This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date # Post
Sat, 27-Aug-16 20

Saturday Second Walk - Swimming/coastal walk (another attempt!)

SWC Walk 51 Sandling to Folkestone
Length 11.1km (6.7 miles)
Toughness: 5 out of 10

OR

SWC Walk 51 + 13b Folkestone figure of nine
Length: 21km (13 miles)

9.31 Folkestone-bound train from Victoria (9.56 Bromley South, 10.03 Orpington) to Sandling, arrive 11.11

OR

10.08 Southeastern highspeed train from St Pancras to Ashford International, arriving 10.46, connecting to the above train to Sandling, depart 11.00. You need to pay about extra for this - about £3 with a Network Card - and tickets from LT boundary zones are not valid: your reward is a much quicker journey home, though: see end of post.

Buy a day return to Folkestone. At St Pancras use the Southeastern machines just before the high speed ticket barriers to get a super off-peak return (£20 with a Network Card).

Links to walk directions: walk 51, walk 13

I have been saving this coastal/swimming walk for the August bank holiday because in the event that the weather is fine, trains to Folkestone will be a lot less crowded than those to other coastal resorts (even more so since the line currently terminates there due to storm damage on the section to Dover, which is taking a year to fix).

The morning is a normal, pleasant country walk from a quiet rural station, with some downland and woodland and a castle (not open to the public). You then come down to the sea at Sandgate, where there are lots of lunch options.

After lunch you have a choice:

1) Spend the afternoon swimming from the very pleasant shingle beaches of Sandgate or Folkestone and/or exploring Folkestone. The town also has popular sandy beach - "Sunny Sands": to get to this follow the link to the afternoon extension, and the beach is just beyond the harbour.

2) Do a grand "Folkestone figure of nine walk" by doing walk 13b Folkestone Circular. To do this, stay on the seafront beyond the Mermaid Cafe (paragraph 49 in the Walk 51 directions). In about 1km you come to Folkestone harbour: follow the road around the edge of this until you cross a seafront square and pass under the arches of the former Folkestone harbour railway line: in another 100 metres or so you pass The Ship Inn on your left: then see paragraph 15 of the Walk 13 directions on page 4.

*** Three special notes about walk 13b:

a) In mid July work was being done on the esplanade past the harbour beach - "Sunny Sands" at Folkestone - blocking the route described in paragraph 16 of walk 13 on page 4 of the directions. To get round this, look out for a path up steps a little way beyond the Ship Inn (paragraph 15), which is signposted as the coast path. This takes you up onto a road, where you turn right. This brings you in a few hundred metres to the "gable-roofed building" mentioned in paragraph 17 on page 4, with the white Martello Tower visible beyond.

b) Folkestone to Dover has now been made the "main" option for this walk. To do walk 13b Folkestone Circular, switch to the special directions as explained in paragraph 19 of the main walk directions, on page 4.

c) There has been a change to the route up the cliff in the middle of this walk. The original path had become (or was in mid July this year) so overgrown as to be impassable - see paragaph 9 of the option a) and b) directions on page 8. Fortunately there is an alternative, which is indicated in the text. This is less dramatic, and also shortens the walk a bit, but it has an exciting finish and brings you directly up to the Clifftop Cafe, a gloriously-sited tea stop. You then continue the walk as before.

If you want to have dinner in Folkestone, the "posh" fish and chip shop on the harbour is recommended, and I have heard good things about the seafood restaurant opposite. In the main high street, slightly off the route described, is a good Oriental buffet (all you can eat: Google "Oriental Buffet Folkestone).

Trains back from Folkestone:

- 00 past (ie on the hour) to St Pancras - 54 minutes journey time, last train 23.00

- 13 past to Victoria - 1hr 54 mins journey time: last train 22.13



I may go to this but I agree with you about the trains. Trying to get from St Pancras to Rye on the HST service last year on a hot Saturday, we found the company had only put on a train with four (maybe five?) carriages. The fare is high as we all know. Lots and lots of people were standing, and the train was packed. Folkestone is not Ashford/Rye, of course, but it is worth considering whether the potential hell of getting there is something you want to go through. I nearly wrote to the company afterwards but didn't quite get round to it. Short trains on hot days are a scandal given the fares we pay.
Sounds like a bad experience, Poppy, but your train to Ashford might have been one that went on to Margate or Broadstairs. The trains to Folkestone this year go only to Folkestone, since the line is suspended beyond there, so hopefully hopefully will be less crowded. But we will have to see. August Bank Holday is after all August Bank Holiday....

Just incidentally, the rail companies do not keep lots of extra stock lying idle just to be deployed on hot days in summer. What carriage sets they have are utilised to the maximum on a day to day basis: none are kept in reserve. So frustrating though it may be, they often don't have extra sets to add. High speed trains are in units of six carriages, if I remember correctly. Trains thus have 6 or 12 carriages.
Its worth writing a complaint if you are subjected to such poor travel conditions and also worth asking for compensation.
how come the comments don't always show up even if you press F5 ?
Can you please tell me how far it is from Sandgate station to the sea at Sandling ? half way through?
thanks
Four to five miles? It is in the walk document.
20 on this walk on a day of hot sunshine (sorry, Third Walkers!). No problems on the trains and the partial shade in the morning of the walk was welcome. In two places just at the start and climbing on the downland ridge overgrown vegetation was a minor hassle. Hopefully 20 walkers tramping through it will effect some improvement, though not for the first time I reflect that maybe we need to form an SWC path clearing team...

I think at least half of us swam in the sea at some point, some twice. Most of us lunched at the King's Arms in Sandgate which has a lovely upstairs deck overlooking the sea and good seafood options. If anyone went on to do the Folkestone Circular walk I do not know. The bunch I was with got increasingly lazy as the afternoon wore on, exploring Folkestone Harbour, having tea, going out onto the amazing Harbour Arm (the former port area which now has bars and restaurants) and having a late afternoon swim and sunbathe.
Sat, 04-Jul-15 20

Saturday Second Walk: A little downland walk and then a nice swim

SWC Walk 51 - Sandling to Folkestone T=3.51
Length: 11.1km (6.7 miles) - for longer options see below
Toughness: 5 out of 10

9.40 train from Charing Cross (9.43 Waterloo East), arriving Sandling 11.11

OR

10.08 Southeastern High Speed train from St Pancras International to Ashford, arriving 10.46, changing there for the above train, departing 11.00

Buy a day return to Folkestone.

For walk directions click here.

"PLEASE PLEASE can we have some swimming / seaside walks ? Deal, Folkestone, Sandling…", sayeth the Requests section. Step forth little Sandling to Folkestone, plucky terrier of a SWC walk, which so rarely gets an outing.

This was designed as a sea swimming walk, though does just as well as a gentle walk to the sea, because to begin with you have 7.3km (4.4 miles) of varied countryside - a little lost corner of England with a walk along an old railway line, some shady bits, a castle and a downland ridge with fine views, plus a couple of bracing climbs before unexpectedly you descend to the sea at Sandgate

Will you rush straight for a swim or have lunch first? Either is possible, since the Earl of Clarendon pub, tucked up a side alley like a Greek Island taverna, was serving its very good value food all afternoon when I last passed in February. If not, Sandgate town centre is dripping with alternatives - see the walk directions.

For swims Sandgate offers a pleasant, pebbly beach (bring flip flops or beach shoes). High tide is at 1pm, falling to a low at 8.50pm. Sea temperatures will be about 16 degrees.

After Sandgate there is just a couple of tranquil miles on the seafront to Folkestone, where there are slightly less pebbly beaches below the Leas, or if you go off the walk route to Folkestone harbour and just beyond, a pleasant sandy beach that despite its post-industrial surroundings achieves top water quality scores. For more swimming info for this walk click here.

For a LONGER WALK try dovetailing this walk with SWC walk 13, Folkestone Circular. Those who count it a shame to finish the day without doing at least 14 miles might like to note that the two walks have never been done tail to tail, as far as I am aware. Lesser mortals might like to do an out and back exploration beyond Folkestone to the Warren using the walk 13 route.

Trains back are at 14 past for the Charing Cross-ites, taking 1hr 38. St Pancras types can also take this train and change at Ashford (taking 1hr 07 mins), but the direct St Pancras service is on the hour, so 17.00, 18.00 etc, taking 54 minutes.


Thanks so much Walker! remember this walk from couple of years ago..yes a walk through cooling greenery and then seeing an enticing blue sea on coming out at Sandling just exciting! can't wait to dive in ..

coming out at Sandgate..
How do I join this walk?
You get on one or other of the specified trains, and look for the group on the platform on arrival at Sandling (it is a very quiet station, so other walkers will be obvious).

You need to bring a copy of the walk directions (click not he link in the walk post).

For more information on how our walks work see

http://www.walkingclub.org.uk/swc/index.shtml


really annoyed that as the requester of this walk am now not able to go due to illness. Hope people enjoy swimming in the cooling sea, it's going to be hot weather !
Thank you for Walker.
20 I think Most of them came on the High Speed Train route
glorious sun & strong cooling breeze
An excellent walk through shady woods and over hills giving lovely views and the wind made the heat most of the time very acceptable. Stinging nettles were no fun, all walkers should carry strimmers and use them
Someone phoned the Earl of Clarendon pub to warn then of our impending arrival but the barman said – I will do my best but I am on my own.
Something like 6 were well fed at the Earl and the other 10 or so of us went to the Ship which is a great pub with a raised deck and good food and very friendly service. The wind now was a bit annoying with one lass putting on her waterproof and putting the hood up and the rest of us shivering
Down to the beach for a swim but the waves were too rough so a few paddled then ice cream on the prom in Folkestone and apparently one very brave lad went for a swim.
The funicular railway is fun going both up and down
Good walk and though it was only 11 K it seemed a lot longer – a few steep ups and downs probably meant that we did a lot more.
We fragmented into several groups, and one early group of about 3 swam in the sea outside the Mermaid Cafe where it was a bit calmer. 4 of us walked on to the sandy beach just beyond Folkestone Harbour and enjoyed a lovely dip in calm though freezing water. We'd had lunch at the Ship Inn at Sandgate on the upper outside deck, a great place on this sunny day, and I think it's a good idea to make it the recommended pub stop rather than the Earl of Clarendon which is a bit too small to cope with serving food to more than two people.Sylvia C.
For the record, as Walker says in his post that he hasn't known Sandling to Folkestone & the Folkestone Circular being done together I did this yesterday & it worked very well. Continuing on the promenade from Sandgate, instead of leaving it at Mermaids Beach just continue ahead to eventually reach Folkestone Harbour & go under the railway bridge, picking up the Folkestone Circular directions at para 13. An exhilarating day out!
Definitely concur with Sylvia re. the Ship Inn as a preferred lunch stop if you have more than a brace of walkers. [The Earl of Clarendon, though the food and beer (we hear) very respectable, is tiny and was staffed by the lone landlord who when he is pulling pints is not preparing food and vice versa.] The Ship Inn has a restaurant at the back and a more informal dining area on the deck, the food was delicious and reasonably priced, plus a selection of pilsener and ales (Greene King).
Wed, 21-May-14 Sandling to Folkestone, via Saltwood
Sat, 18-Jan-14 17 Sandling to Folkestone, via Saltwood
Sun, 28-Jul-13 7 Sandling to Folkestone, via Saltwood
Sat, 30-Jul-11 Sandling to Folkestone, via Saltwood
Sat, 24-Jul-10 Sandling to Folkestone, via Saltwood
Sat, 15-Aug-09 Sandling to Folkestone via the Sea
Sat, 02-Aug-08 Sandling to Folkestone via the Sea