Dymchurch to Folkestone

Dymchurch Folkestone Walk April 2013

EASY WALK of 10 MILES

I must say this has to be an easy 10 mile walk.  Flat as a pancake, as far as the eye can see. AND yes, you guessed it, any coastline path which is totally flat, can end up being an uninspiring walk.

Photography-wise? Well, how many photos can you take of martello towers?  or sea defence walls?  In the end it boils down to let’s just get this walk over with.   And so we did 10 miles in 3hrs 40mins and that includes photo taking time and the odd stop to look at something a bit closer.

The most exciting part about this walk was the fact I discovered a great App for my android mobile which would track our walk by GPS.   Yay!  now we have an accurate mileage of our walk and the time taken to walk it, plus how long it took to walk each mile.  I simply love it!

Take a look at the photo below – our walk and statistics.  When we did stop for a bit longer we just paused the activity and then resumed again, they are the grey markers on the walk map.  So cool!  If you are interested it is called RUNKEEPER and it is available for iphones and androids.

DYMCHURCH TO FOLKESTONE MAP

START OF WALK – DYMCHURCH

As usual we travelled by bus to get to the start of our walk.  We chose to walk with the wind behind us, a light south-westerly was blowing (forecast 13.2 mph with wind gusts 33.6 mph) Sunny spells with a low fog/mist at Folkestone.  It was a cool day around 7-8C at the start of walk, and warmed up towards the end to about 10-11C.  Dymchurch Folkestone April 2013 (1)

Martello Tower Dymchurch – Fully restored and re-equipped with its cannon, this is one of 103 ingeniously-designed artillery towers, built from 1805 at vulnerable points around the south and east coasts to resist threatened Napoleonic invasion.
Would you believe it wasn’t open to the public until April 24?
we were one day too early…

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We walked as far as the eye can see … and then some…

Dymchurch has had a sea wall since Roman times, with the original development being constructed to protect the harbour at Port Lympne.
The original structure is believed to have run for some 4 miles and to have stood 20 ft high.
In July 2011, a new sea wall was built at a cost of £60 million.
The sea defence project protects 2,500 properties from flooding.
The new wall allows pedestrians to walk the sea shore for the entire length of the village, approximately four miles, from Hythe Military Rifle Ranges in the East to St Mary’s Bay Boundary in the West.

Dymchurch Folkestone April 2013 (3)This martello tower is privately owned and lived in.  As you can see we were already desperately searching for things to photograph.

Martello Towers, sometimes known simply as Martellos, are small defensive forts that were built across the British Empire during the 19th century, from the time of the French Revolutionary Wars onwards.

They stand up to 40 feet (12m) high (with two floors) and typically had a garrison of one officer and 15–25 men.

Their round structure and thick walls of solid masonry made them resistant to cannon fire, while their height made them an ideal platform for a single heavy artillery piece, mounted on the flat roof and able to traverse a 360° arc.

A few towers had moats or other batteries and works attached for extra defence.

The Martello towers were used during the first half of the 19th century, but became obsolete with the introduction of powerful rifled artillery.

Many have survived to the present day, often preserved as historic monuments.

END OF WALL

Walking away from Dymchurch towards Folkestone along the new defence wall, flat, easy faster pace walking.  As you ome to the end of the wall you will find yourself having to detour down onto the shingle beach to get around the Ministry of Defence buildings at the edge of the Rifle Range.  Dymchurch Folkestone April 2013 (4)

Ministry of Defence buildings at the end of the new defence wall, take a right and head down the ramp towards the shingle beach, walk below the concrete wall until you can join the path above.Dymchurch Folkestone April 2013 (6)

Hythe Ranges

Location: 6 miles (9.6km) west of Folkestone, on the edge of the town of Hythe, off the A259 Hythe-Dymchurch-Hastings road.

Site Description: An area of low lying, slightly undulating land adjoining the foreshore.
Hythe Ranges is one of the oldest Ranges in the country and has been used for live firing for nearly 200 years.
The whole area is steeped in military history.
On Hythe Ranges itself, there are 3 Scheduled Ancient Monuments (BUT I DON’T SEEM TO BE ABLE TO FIND OUT WHAT THEY ARE?)

Access Opportunities: Access is available along the foreshore during periods of non-firing.

Hythe Ranges are used for live firing with a Danger Area extending out to sea.
Red flags are flown during live firing periods during which time access is prohibited along the foreshore.
A notice indicating live firing times is displayed at the entrance to the Ranges and on other boards on the security fence at either end of the range complex.

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You can walk the path alongside the rifle range when the flags and lights are not flying or flashing.

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NO FIRING TODAY – thanks 

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Martello Towers along the seafront at the edge of the firing range.Dymchurch Folkestone April 2013 (10)

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END OF RIFLE RANGE

At the end of the rifle range path you will need to head down to the shingle beach again to walk around the fenced off area.

Continue the walk along the beach towards the huts and boats, this is Hythe.Dymchurch Folkestone April 2013 (14)

And if you are in need of a snack, pop into and check out Griggs Seafood (right on the seafront) – cold seafood only – no hot chips unfortunately.  Here we sat and had our lunch break.

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FOLLOW THE COAST
Continue along the coast along the concrete path, and sea wall.  More flat walking ahead.
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Sandgate Castle 1539Dymchurch Folkestone April 2013 (19)
Sandgate Castle is a coastal castle at Sandgate was originally built as an artillery castle in 1539-1540 by Henry VIII of England as part of his chain of coastal defences in response to the threat of invasion.
As these forts were devised by Henry VIII, they are known as Device Forts.
It was built to defend a vulnerable stretch of coastline and due to its proximity to the French coast the site has been constantly defended and refortified.
FOLKESTONE – AROUND THE CORNER
As you approach Folkestone you see the land rise and you know you will have a climb at the end.
Dymchurch Folkestone April 2013 (20)We chose to go up through the Leas and took the Zig Zag path to the top.  We have been to Folkestone on so many other occasions, and walked the sea front towards the harbour, this time we decided to climb up before reaching the harbour end of our walk.  This was a lovely spot and such a nice way to finish the walk.
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Zig zag path – Originally built in the 1800s to ferry bath chairs between The Leas and the beach.

The Zig Zag path has been restored beyond its original beauty as part of the Coastal Park development.
It consists of a series of paths, caves and grottoes and making the walk down to the seafront possible for buggies and very bold wheelchair users who have help at hand!

And the bonus was toilets at the top.   All worthwhile!  From here just a short walk to the bus station and head home.

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