The Kent Website since 1999
This is our Saxon Shore way feature, if you have any experiences to share about this ancient pathway please let us know, our feedback details are at the foot of the page. For more suggestions of places to visit in and around the area check out our Discover Kent page.
This coastal route follows what would have been the key parts of the Kent coastline towards the end of the Roman occupation, something like 1,500 years ago. The length of the way is is calculated at 160 miles but if you've walked the distance seems much further. The route takes in the majority of Kentish coastline as well as a little bit of Sussex (passports are not need needed if you stray over the county line). The starting point is Gravesend and if you'll make it all the way you will end up in Hastings in East Sussex.
Despite its description as a coastal walk the ancient coastline has changed so much that today walkers follow a route that goes several miles inland and takes in forts, ports, towers and churches. There are sites of four Roman fortifications on the route, each worth a visit in their own right: Reculver, Richborough, Lympne and Dover. The route also passes through sites of outstanding natural beauty and scientific interest and presents unrivalled opportunities to see and experience the flora and fauna of this part of the country.
Most walkers considering tackling the whole route in one go should generally be experienced hikers. It's not the most difficult of walks but depending on the season the conditions can be very challenging. It is possible to undertake the whole Way over a few days, stopping off en route wherever necessary depending on your walking ability and the length of time you have available. It's probably more common to do the walk in several sections spread over different days. Going home at the end of each section and returning to recommence the walk when time and conditions permit.
There is no need to do the walk in any particular order and you are free to enjoy any part of it whenever you want. Do some research in advance and select a part of the Kent coastline that particularly interests you. Although planning might kill the spontaneity of the experience there are places on the path miles from the nearest public transport so you need to think about where you're going to start from and walk to.
If you're not an experienced walker don't try anything too ambitious and wear appropriate footwear. Cliff tops and marshes can be dangerous places so make you sure you have all the necessary information about which paths to follow.
The following maps cover the route: - Ordnance Survey Explorer:124, 125, 137, 138, 149, 150 and 163 .
The route technically begins at Gravesend Town Pier and takes walkers across the Hoo Peninsula, down past Strood and into Rochester. Onwards to Gillingham and Lower Rainham and the impressive Riverside Country Park. Then further east past Sittingbourne and the Oare Marshes onto the ancient market town of Faversham. Leaving Faversham you cross the marshes to arrive at Seasalter and Whitstable then along the coast to the Roman Fort at Reculver via Herne Bay. Walkers can then follow the Stour Valley walk through to Richborough onto Sandwich and Deal. The White Cliffs begin shortly after Deal and extend through to Dover. The Dover to Rye stretch heads inland taking you to Lympne and Hamstreet Woods. The route the follows the Canal as far as Winchelsea, finally terminating in Hastings.
If you would like more information and links to more resources try the KCC Walks page.
We aim to ensure our content is maintained and kept relevant to our users needs, however if you spot any error or omission please let us know. This page is under constant improvement. We welcome feedback from anyone with experience of the walk or an interest in the subject. Please see our disclaimer.
"Dear Yourcounty, thanks for your short guide to the Saxon Shore Way, it provides an excel;lent introduction, but you haven't really scratched the surface of what the walk has to offer and the wealth of things there are to see on route. One simple example; Sandwich. Your guide says 'onto Sandwich and Deal' you could at least set out some of the attractions of the town and perhaps a few suggestions of where you can stay or stop off to eat for an hour or two. J Cornwell"
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