Saharan dust in UK skies = high air pollution = limited/no walks for us.
We chose to limit our outdoor activities this week because of the Saharan dust, I was already suffering with sinusitis, and my darling complaining of similar stuffed up head and blocked sinuses. Ho hum!
So walking was off the agenda until the skies cleared. Now, you know what happens when you’re being prevented from doing something? It’s all you can think about! So as soon as the air pollution level dropped from a high 6 to a level 3, that was enough to get us out the door. We decided to go south, and walk a short stretch of the coast between Rye and Lydd via Camber Sands. So glad we did.
Start of Walk: Drove to Rye from Whitstable, and parked at the railway station, parking for the day on weekdays is £2.60.
Weather: Temp 11-12C ; Wind WSW 9mph, some mist and loads of cloud, wind chill factor along coast 8-9C. As always we chose to walk with the wind at our backs, we walked from Rye to Lydd, and caught the bus back (Hastings bus 101/100), 6 mins past the hour.
Walk Description: This is an easy walk, flat all the way, some sand and shingle walking, best walked at low tide. There is a National cycle path all the way, it runs beside the road most of the way, (through Camber it is along the Lydd Road), therefore you don’t get to walk along the river or the coastline, you can deviate at Camber and walk towards the coast to see the Camber sands. From Jury’s Gap to Lydd, there is no option but to walk the cycle path.
Distance: The cycle path is 9 miles. We use Runkeeper to measure our walks. We walked along the river and the beach, then before we left Camber, walked back along the road into Camber (looking for toilets) and then back out again which added the extra 2 miles.
We walked through town towards the Landgate, where there are steps down towards the bridge and the river crossing. Just past the bridge on the right is a gate where you walk through fields, full of sheep and spring lambs (at the time of our walk).
Walk the river bank: Through the fields we pass over a small bridge and here we deviate from the path, turn right and go over the stile and hug the creek to the edge of the River Rother, then follow it all the way.
Lakes on the left of you and river on the right. Further along is the Rye Golf Course. You walk through along the path after reading the sign “you walk at your own risk”. Golf course on the left and low-lying marshes and river on the right.
Here, we can see the other side of the river, Rye Harbour and Nature Reserve. Boats sitting on the mud, some industrial buildings, a church spire in the distance, and loads of open space. Briefly we recall our Hastings to Rye walk, along the Saxon Shore Way, so we haven’t walked the other side of the river here or the nature reserve coastline, obviously an opportunity for another short walk .
We are walking at low tide, amazed at the enormous muddy banks of the river, and trying to imagine how different it must look at high tide.
Prior to reaching the coast I was contemplating taking off a layer of clothing, glad I didn’t, now I am happy to have kept it on.
It’s low tide and we are walking along the beach, wet sand and we are sinking a bit, we move towards the harder ground, a mixture of sand and shingle for firmer footing. Lot easier to walk. We can see how high the tide comes in, and wonder how difficult it would be to walk along the sand dunes. Therefore we are thankful it is a low tide. As we approach Camber we can see a lot of activity on the beach – high viz jackets in motion – men with bags collecting the rubbish, painting, clearing paths of blown in sand – and all on a windy day! We are assuming it will be a busy weekend ahead, all to do with the kids being on school holidays and the possible influx of holidaymakers. Guaranteed the sun will shine soon.
Leaving the coast: We start to leave Camber and head away from the beach to where there is a sea wall most of the way to Jury’s Gap. Right at this point, I realize there will be no facilities between here and Lydd, so we decide to head back into Camber along the Lydd Road to find public toilets. Oh so not easy to find. No signs along the road saying public toilets. We end up asking at Pontin’s. Public toilets are at the beach car park. Look out for pedestrian traffic lights here is a shop called BJ’s on the Beach, walk down this side street towards the coast, turn left (east) and at the end of the Old Lydd Road is the carpark and toilet block. What a relief, in more ways than one. We head back to join the wall for Jury’s Gap. This brief diversion added on an extra 2 miles to the walk.
Sections of the wall are compacted shingle, and as we approach Jury’s Gap we are prevented from walking to the end of the wall, because of some major works, with pipes crossing the road and the wall. We find out later this is where Jury’s Gut Sewer drain enters the sea. We head down to road level and walk along the grass verge, over the pipes which cross the roadway, and can see where the road turns inland away from Jury’s Gap and the coast, we know we can join the cycle path heading into Lydd here. Cycle Path walking: Glad it is Friday and not the weekend, not much traffic on the cycle path, a total of two cyclists and no walkers. Lovely! I hate jumping out-of-the-way of cyclists who sneak up behind you without warning and scare the living daylights out of you as they pass. Why don’t they use their bells or yell out “coming through” to give you time to get out-of-the-way? The cycle path towards Lydd lies west of the road, on the opposite side is MOD land. The cycle path lies between two fences, one on the left around the farmland and one on the right along the roadway. We had debated the night before about this section of walk, and whether we needed to walk it. We knew it would be a boring walk, nothing but lowlands and roadway, in the end we left it up to how we would feel on the day and reassess as we approached Jury’s Gap. Obviously, we decided to walk it, we were feeling good and thought Lydd would be a better place to wait for the bus than stand out in the open near the coast, enduring the strong cold wind. We walked into Lydd with only 10 mins to spare before the arrival of the bus. Such perfect timing. Although it did mean we didn’t get to wonder around Lydd, so have no idea if there was a coffee shop where you could sit and recoup.
Bus trip to Rye from Lydd is approx. 30mins. We alighted at Rye station, dumped our bags and cameras in the car, and stopped for a cuppa and cake at Café des Fleurs next to the station. Lovely little shop selling flowers and cake.