Here is a another section of the Saxon Shore Way which goes inland away from the coast. After having walked the Rye to Appledore section in January, it was now time to do this short section approx. 4.5 miles. To make our daytrip worthwhile we decided to increase the walk distance by turning it into a circular walk. Hamstreet to Appledore along the Saxon Shore Way and then return to Hamstreet along the Royal Military Canal.
START OF WALK: We drove to Hamstreet and parked for FREE at the Hamstreet Football Field Car Park in The St or B2067.
WEATHER: Temp 11C to 14C Wind 15mph to 11mph NNE
DISTANCE: 9 miles TIME: 4 hrs
WHERE TO GET THE WALK DETAILS:
I checked online with GPS Cycle and Walking Routes – Saxon Shore Way for directions, took note of and checked Google maps for tricky bits and printed the map for reference on the walk.
A quick hot cuppa and a bite to eat from the boot of our car and we were ready for the country walk. We left the car park and headed out of Hamstreet under the railway line following the Saxon Shore Way to Warehorne.
Signposts for the Saxon Shore Way were easy to find and the weather was absolutely perfect.
Crossing fields filled with lovely spring lambs was a delight.
The path to Warehorne was really easy, and we managed to pop in and view the inside of St Matthew Church.
ST MATTHEW’S CHURCH, WAREHORNE
St. Matthew’s church stands upon the Old Saxon shoreline looking over the Romney Marsh. The original structure was built around C. 1200 but The Domesday book (1086 A.D.) mentions a church at Warehorne. The present church shows no sign of Saxon or Norman work.
In 1770 the original tower was struck by lightning and was rebuilt in 1777. The tower was rebuilt in brick rather than stone due to a lack of money.
The oldest part of the current structure is the central part of the Early English nave, c.1200 to which were added the chancel, the aisles and the original stone tower, the whole being completed by about 1450 – 1500.
The grade I listed St Matthew’s Church (above) and The Woolpack Inn (below) are linked
by a tunnel built by smugglers.
The first mention of Warehorne is in a charter of the Saxon King Egbert, A.D. 820, where it is called “Werehornas”.
Above a farmhouse in the distance, as we walk through this field of sheep below.
Spring lambs everywhere.
In the distance the church we are heading to – St Mary, Kenardington.
Just a few creeks to cross.
More fields with sheep and spring lambs.
St Mary, Kenardington
St Marys church stands on the site of what was believed to be a small Saxon fort. The fort was 600ft long on the eastern side, and 550ft long on the northern side. Unfortunately most of its earthworks have been ploughed away over the years.
The fort may have been built to repel the Danish invasion, however it was only half finished when the Danes attacked in 892AD. The Danes encamped here before moving on to establish themselves at Appledore
A Saxon church at Kenardington dedicated to St Mary, is recorded in the Domesday Book. At this time an annual fee of 12d (5p) was paid to the monks of Christchurch Canterbury. This indicates that it is likely the monks were the original founders of the church.
The original church may have been wooden, then after the Norman Conquest of 1066 was replaced by a stone building. The tower dates from 1170AD and is a square structure without buttresses. To the north side it has an unusual round tower, which carries the staircase to the belfrey at the top of the main tower.
The church is another one a long way away from the village, which implies quarantine at the time of the Black Death.
In the 14th century, it is believed that the church was sacked by the French during the Hundred Years War , but there is no remaining evidence. In 1559 the church was struck by lightning which started a fire causing the collapse of the nave, chancel and the north aisle. SOURCE
Leaving St Mary’s Church, through fields, and kissing gates.
The path crosses a wooded laneway and into vineyards, GUSBOURNE , I believe.
Not sure what they were shooting? Rabbits or humans? Saxon Shore Way takes you right through the property.
On the mound
A high point – you don’t have to climb up – you can go around.
Photo below the high point surrounded by trees.
Finally on our way into Appledore.
Houses in Appledore.
Appledore was once a coastal town and port on the estuary of the River Rother with river access inland, the Domesday Book of 1086 describes Appledore as having a church and six fisheries.
The importance of Appledore as a port diminished suddenly in the 13th-century when great storms caused the River Rother to change its course; the village street now leads down to the Royal Military Canal.
In 1804, when there was threat of invasion by Napoleon the Royal Military Canal was built: Appledore stands on its northern bank.
Today the population of Appledore and Appledore Heath is in the region of 800. The village has an Ancient Church, Methodist Chapel, a Village Hall and a Recreation Ground. Farming is the principle activity of the surrounding area, but the residents of the village work across a broad spectrum of professions from agriculture to engineering, financial services, the arts and service industries. The village is also home to one of the most highly regarded vineyards in England – GUSBOURNE
After a nice sit down at the BLACK LION pub in Appledore, we soaked up the sunshine and enjoyed a fresh cuppa tea and a naughty bowl of chips, after which we decided to walk back to the local grocery store for an ice cream before we ventured out again on our return walk along the Royal Military Canal.
Along the canal we sighted these wooden posts advising how many miles it was to the next town when walking along the Royal Military Canal.
Wartime “pillboxes” – military bunkers are to be found dotted along the canal.
“Pillboxes” were military bunkers built during World War II in 1940 and into 1941. They were built in strategic places near Rivers, Railways and road junctions, creating a network of defences across Great Britain. 28,000 pill boxes were built, and about a fifth still survive. The construction was typically in concrete, sometimes with bricks externally which was used as shuttering during the construction. They came in different shapes and sizes; most common in hexagonal and octagonal shapes.
The largest number of pill boxes are found in the South-East of England closest to the threat of German invaders. Extract from http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1858131
This part of the walk, back to Hamstreet, along the Royal Military Canal was delightful. Lots of lovely shade trees and spring blossoms, and thanks to the National Trust well maintained.
Wooden markers along the canal walk giving the miles left to walk to Hythe in one direction or Rye in the other.
Large burrows along the way, wondering which animal made these?
Sheep grazing over the other side of the canal.
Spring is here, luscious and green new growth everywhere, especially stinging nettles.
A lonely farm house and cottage beside a small creek.
Another WWII pillbox – military bunker beside the Royal Military Canal.
In the distance, Warehorne Church.
Just the two of us!
Leaving the National Trust section of the Royal Military Canal.
We decided to take a diagonal short cut to Hamstreet following a footpath marked on the map, only to find we had to walk through some marshland, and had to avoid some wet spots so we decided to stick to the fence line, in some areas. Then to get out of this field, we had to follow a footpath which lead you down a fenced off section between the paddock and the main road (A2070), then we crossed the A2070 which I think was the most dangerous part of the walk, with cars speeding at 50 miles or more along this section of roadway, we managed to cross, with our lives in tact, to the other side where we had to follow another fenced off footpath totally over-grown with brambles! OMG! What is the point of directing walkers via these footpaths if you don’t maintain them (damn farmers not wanting you to cross their fields). So much for taking a short-cut, we could have taken just as long walking along the canal and then taken to walking the A2067 (The Street) to where our car was parked. Next time!
Finally a distant view of Hamstreet and back to the carpark.
A lovely day weather-wise and an easy enjoyable walk (apart from the decision to take a short-cut). Next walk will take us from Hamstreet along the SAXON SHORE WAY to Lympne.