Here we are walking another section of the Saxon Shore Way – Start: Sittingbourne -an industrial town about eight miles (12.9 km) east of Gillingham in England, beside the Roman Watling Street off a creek in the Swale, a channel separating the Isle of Sheppey from mainland Kent. (read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sittingbourne)
WEATHER: Forecast for the day was perfect, cloudy with some sunshine, and cooler temperatures than we had been experiencing during the week, with a nice brisk breeze. Forecast Temps: 15-19C Wind: north north-westerly 12-15mph.
Getting to the start: We drove to Teynham and parked the car at the station car park (free parking). Caught the 8.58am train into Sittingbourne, (the train stops at Teynham every hour) and trip takes 4 minutes.
Arriving in Sittingbourne and headed across the road to Tesco to purchase a couple of drinks for the walk. Started tracking the walk with Runkeeper from the Station.
Leaving the station we turned left down St Michael’s Road, and left again at B2006, walk under the railway bridge, through to the first roundabout and there was our first Saxon Shore Way signpost turn right onto Eurolink Way. (bottom right photo above) We made our way through the industrial area and past the Stadium.
Here is our Runkeeper map of the walk, showing distance, time, pace and calories burned.
MAP AND DIRECTIONS FOR WALK: I checked the exact route on-line with the LDWA. Took screen clips and printed out the route. Double-checked with Google maps satellite view and printed the beginning of the walk which followed roadways to get to the riverside. Also the end of the walk from Conyer to Teynham, found an easier way than last time, following a footpath which lead us directly back to the station at Teynham (no country road walking from Conyer to Teynham this time).
MURSTON OLD CHURCH, SITTINGBOURNE – Originally a large church with three aisles and three chancels with a square tower and wooden turret, built between 1375 and 1550; only the southern chapel remains. The rest of the church survives as buried archaeological remains. This historical site is now listed on English Heritage at Risk Register.
We admired the church and wandered around the grounds for a little while taking photos from every side, knowing full well this may be the only historical site to be seen for the rest of the walk until we reach Conyer. Yep another walk of flat pastures and marshes, nothing but nature and The Swale for miles ahead.
At the end of Gas Road (a very short road) turn right along the edge of Milton Creek. This path takes you through a property hugging the creek, with many vehicles in the yard, luckily the owner was there, and directed us towards the path, because no signs exist.
This is what it looks like when people dump there household furniture, fridges, freezers, carpets and wardrobes etc. at the end of a lane in the middle of farming country.
Elmley Ferry, one of three ferry crossings that used to provide a service over to the Isle of Sheppey. All three crossings stopped operating many years ago. It was at the Elmley Ferry where James II was arrested by fishermen in 1688 when he was trying to flee England.
The great expanse of the low lying south side of the Swale. With miles of pastures.
Photos above, views across the Swale to the Isle of Sheppey – and a barn full of hay on fire.
This little concrete statue sits at the mouth of Conyer Creek – I have no idea what it is supposed to be or why it is there?
We head inland along the Conyer Creek and delight at the thought that our walk will soon be over, when we spy the village of Conyer with it’s lovely wooden houses.
The path passes the Swale Marina at Conyer.
We reach the cross roads in Conyer and there is a bus waiting to take us back to Teynham if we so desired. However, no thanks, we are walking – we take a short break in the shade and eat the rest of our lunch. From here we take a country footpath which heads straight into Teynham. Easy walk past fields and orchards, over the railway crossing at Teynham and back to the station car park.
A nice big refreshing drink in the car and after removing our boots drove home. What a fantastic walk.
THE SAXON SHORE WAY HISTORY
The Saxon Shore Way is a long-distance footpath in England, starting at Gravesend, Kent and traces the coast as it was in Roman times as far as Hastings, East Sussex, 163 miles (262 km) in total.
The line of the Roman fortification that the route traces includes ancient forts, modern towns, nature reserves and coastline: four Roman forts built in the fourth century lie along the route, at Reculver, Richborough, Dover and Lympne.
At Seasalter there is an internationally important area for geese, ducks, and waders. The diversity of scenery along the route includes the wide expanses of marshland bordering the Thames and Medway estuaries, the White cliffs of Dover, and panoramic views over Romney Marsh from the escarpment that marks the ancient coastline between Folkestone and Rye.
The Saxon Shore Way was originally opened in 1980, but has since been re-established, and in parts re-routed and extended. It follows the coastline of the South East as it was about 1500 years ago, long before the North Kent Marshes or the Romney Marsh came into existence, when the cliff lines to the north and south extended further into the sea and when the Wantsum Channel provided a thoroughfare for boats between the Isle of Thanet and mainland England.
The Way takes its name, The Saxon Shore, from a line of fortifications built along the coastline as it was in the 3rd century AD, towards the end of the Roman period.
In this time of crisis Saxon invaders came from the southern regions of modern Denmark and in response the Romans built a line of defensive forts along the coast to repel the newcomers.