344. Dymchurch to Rye

Well it’s been quite awhile since I last updated my blog, October 2020 in fact! I have been busy though, with a range of gardening and DIY projects all completed through our recent lockdown. I have managed a few local walks over the Winter, but nothing too strenuous, thus my apprehension about starting my coastal walk up again.

My plan was continue where I left off in Dymchurch in Kent and continue walking westwards over two days. To break me gently back into the routine, I had planned a couple of easy days with an overnight stay, well that was the plan!

I made a very early start from Shropshire to avoid the morning traffic on the M25. I parked up in Rye railway station car park, at £2.90 a day , it was a reasonable charge compared to other council run car parks. I then had to get to the start of my walk at Dymchurch. The Traveline website gave me a route which involved three changes of buses, but curiously all with the same bus service number – 102. Only as I was about to alight at Lydd, did I find out that the same bus ran the whole way to Dymchurch – it turned out to be an expensive fare for me! At Dymchurch after getting off the bus I walked  the short distance to the sea wall along a path I had trodden some 7 months ago.

The weather was cloudy with the odd shower around. I could still just about make out the French coastline  and the whole coastline back towards Folkestone. I passed by two Martello Towers as I left Dymchurch behind me. My view southwards along the coast was drawn to the large square buildings of Dungeness Power station in the far distance. I continued along the sea wall past the small villages of St Marys and Littlestone-on-Sea. As I entered Greatstone-on-Sea not only did the sea wall end, but the first of many frequent showers hit me. I soon transferred down onto the wide open beach where the compacted sand made for easy and rapid walking.

Heading south from Dymchurch along the sea wall
A Martello Tower with canon on top
Looking NE towards Hythe and Folkestone

I transferred back onto the Dungeness access road just before the Pilot pub, one of two pubs on the weird and wonderful headland that is Dungeness. I was now heading towards the newer of the two lighthouse, although this was in fact the sixth lighthouse to be built on the shifting shingle. A collection of small cabins, shacks and cottages soon appeared, each with a different appearance and  were scattered over the landscape which is also home to a collection of flora and fauna unique to this part of the UK. All of this though was overshadowed by the twin power stations of Dungeness A and B. While Dungeness A ceased generating back in the ’80s, B has a new 10 year licence to begin generating again this year after a string of earlier safety concerns.

On the beach near Greatstone-one-Sea with an heavy shower approaching
The Pilot Pub on Dungeness
This is a Beach Tanning Copper which were used for dyeing and preserving fishing nets and clothes from the ravages of the sea
This is Prospect Cottage, the home of the late film director Derek Jarman
Huts selling freshly caught fish
The new lighthouse
The old lighthouse
Dungeness A and B Nuclear Power Station
Heading westwards along the shingle

I was now heading westwards past the Power Station towards the MOD Lydd Firing Range. The rat-a-tat of heavy machine gun fire and red flying flags confirmed my worst suspicions – the range was closed to walkers! I had checked the firing times for the range on the gov.uk website and could see the only firing was the day AFTER my walk. As I write this the website still says no firing on the 19th May. I walked to the control  tower spoke to someone to query why the website was saying one thing. A chap said he would pass my complaint onto the office…. yea … yea. I had intended to walk along the coast towards Jurys Gap, but this now meant an additional 2 miles inland detour via Lydd. I followed the firing range boundary perimeter into and out of Lydd.

The control tower at the edge of the Lydd Firing Range
Heading towards Lydd along the firing range perimeter
The reason for my detour, the Army with machine guns mounted on Land Rovers

The road from Lydd out to Jury’s Gap also followed the Lydd Firing range, fortunately there was a good footpath set back  from the road. Soon after leaving Lydd I heard my first Cuckoo of the year and spotted the little fella on a branch about 50 metres away. With the sea wall now in sight I passed from  Kent into East Sussex. I had been walking in Kent since February last year, so it was good to see some progress. I eventually arrived at Jury’s Gap and climbed up onto the sea wall. The rain showers had begun to get increasingly more intense and as I walked through Camber I got a severe drenching. I headed along a footpath heading towards Rye, which ran alongside the golf course. I soon heard the unmistakable sound of thunder coming from a particularly dark patch of sky about a mile away. As I passed the club house I heard a siren go off which I presumed was a warning to the golfers out on the course. There was no shelter nearby so I waited a short while close to some shrubs. I caught sight of some lightening strikes about an half mile away. As I waited I was relieved to see that the thunderstorm was heading away from me and out to sea. I could still hear rumblings from other dark clouds some distance away. As I crossed over the River Rother into the ancient Cinque port of Rye the sun was well out and it became very warm. I climbed up into the town and through the old Landgate and down to the railway station.

It had been a tough days walk and much longer than I had originally intended. All that remained for me to do now was to drive down the road to Camber  and check into my room for the night at Pontins Holiday camp! The chalet was quite cheap and had lots of space, although I stood out like a sore thumb from the young families who were enjoying their holiday.

The across Rye Bay towards Fairlight from Jury’s Gap
A heavy downpour out in the Channel
A nearby thunderstorm at Camber
Approaching the town of Rye
Crossing the River Rother
Entering the town through The Landgate
The old Grammar School in Rye

PS. It has become a right pain in the back-side trying to use WordPress now.  So many changes, I may think about changing even if  it means paying!

Distance today = 23 miles
Total distance = 6,395 miles


2 thoughts on “344. Dymchurch to Rye”

  1. Great to see you back on the coast and this is a lovely stretch of coast. Bad luck about the MOD range though it does annoy me when that happens (happened to me at the Lulworth ranges recently when the website said no firing but it was all closed). The road walk around doesn’t look too good.

    Dungeness is a really interesting place I enjoyed it there. Pontins Camber Sands though. Wow, brave man, that place has a certain reputation (and not a good one) so hope it was not too bad. Still nice to stay right by that lovely beach.


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