Kent Ramblers Walk 84



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Hythe, Royal Military Canal, Romney Marsh and Dymchurch

Distance: 12.8 miles (6 Hours) circular or 7 miles (3.5 Hours) and a bus or train ride back from Dymchurch

OS Map: Explorer 138 (Start at grid reference TR154347)

Click on map for larger version and click again to magnify

Take the footpath between the station and the south bank of the Canal. After 1 mile cross at a footbridge over the Canal try out the model of the “Listening Ears”. (Point A) Continue along the north bank and after 1 mile cross West Hythe Road and choose either the high level footpath or the wider bridle path. Look up to the right and see the ruined Roman Stutfall Castle, Point B, and mediaeval Lympne Castle high on the hill. Further along, you may see exotic animals behind the fences of the Port Lympne Wild Animal Park. At Aldergate Bridge at the end of the zoo fencing (the 3.5-mile Point C), turn left down the lane to Lower Wall Road. Turn left for 100 yards, then cross to a bridleway beside a canal across fields; follow signs to the right of Abbott’s Court farm then turn sharp left at the end of a paddock. At the road, turn right along Shear Way into Burmarsh. Shepherd and Crook pub.

Turn left at the pub, then cross the road and turn right into The Green. A path 2nd left leads into fields; the next part is tricky – you may have to go round field edges! Stay right of a pillbox then left over a bridge, right on the southbound path then cross another stile and bridge; follow the line of electricity poles to a bridge, bear slightly right to a marker, then slightly left across to a series of 2 bridges. Bear right through a hedge across to a sheepfold and the RH&DR line to reach Dymchurch Primary School. Go left into New Hall Close, on to the main A259 road and turn right for Dymchurch town Point D. Plenty of pubs, cafes, toilets shops, and a seaside funfair. You have walked about 7 miles – if this is enough, there are plenty of buses or, for a rare treat, catch the famous miniature steam-driven RH&DR train to take you back to Hythe.

If you have energy left, walk east along the sea wall to a Martello Tower. Leave the wall, cross back over the A259 and turn right. Take the left turn marked Tower Estate and walk to the end. Turn left across a bridge and through a farm gate. Keep right of the farm bungalow and straight across a paddock to a bridge on the right over a stream. The path leads diagonally ahead over fields to a 4-bar gate and back across the railway line; keep right of the sewage works. Follow the stiles/gates through several fields, keeping a canal on the right, then over a stile to Lower Wall Road just left of Botolph’s Bridge Inn. Turn right and cross over the crossroads. After a few yards, climb a stile on the right into pasture; spot the tin wagon; then follow the hedge until it turns to the left. You now bear right, crossing a canal down towards Nicholl’s Quarry Lake, watch the dinghies sailing on the lake, (Point E), and follow the railway line into a housing estate, the village of Palmarsh. Thread up left through the estate and on to the Burmarsh Road. Cross over and turn right; there are many gaps in the hedge to take you back onto the path beside the Canal leading to the station.

This walk was originally published on a calendar produced by White Cliffs Group. Thanks to Rhona Hodges for originally devising this route, Diana Backwell for checking the directions and Andrew Boultbee for the idea.  All photographs by Robert Peel.


Points of Interest

A “Listening Ears” model at Palmarsh Bridge

“Listening ears” or sound mirrors are concrete structures built in the 1920s and 1930s to focus the sound of incoming aircraft onto microphones placed at appropriate points as an early warning system. The invention of radar made them obsolete before they had been fully deployed.

At the northern end of Palmarsh bridge is a model sound mirror and information board. It is possible for two people to test the operating principle of sound mirrors if one of them stands on a platform on the south bank of the canal and speaks quietly while the other stands by the mirror to hear what is being said.

Learn more about sound mirrors in Kent from our Guide to the Kent Coast Path.

B Stutfall Castle

The original Roman Port, Portus Lemanis, was sited here at the then mouth of the Rother, at that time called the Limen (meaning elm) and hence the names Lemanis and Lympne. Around 270 AD the Romans built a fort here, one of the Saxon Shore forts built to defend Britain against raids by Saxons and Franks. The other Saxon Shore forts in Kent were at Dover, Richborough and Reculver. The Saxon Shore Way, a long distance walk from Gravesend to Hastings, pioneered by the Ramblers with the support of Kent County Council and which opened as far as Rye in 1980, is named after these forts.

C Zoo Park Western Boundary

The zoo at Port Lympe (pronounced “Lim”) was opened in 1973 as an extension to John Aspinall’s Howletts Wild Animal Park at Bekesbourne near Canterbury.

D Dymchurch – Martello Tower

Read about Martello towers, built as defences against invasion by Napoleon, in our Guide to the Kent Coast Path.

E Nicholls Quarry Lake

The lake, created by gravel extraction and subsequent flooding, is used for fishing and sailing. The site is undergoing residential development (“Martello Lakes”) with the lake retained as a major feature.

Our book of Ten Favourite Walks in the Kent Countryside has routes for ten more walks like this one.

Ramblers' volunteers in Kent work tirelessly to ensure that our paths are as well protected and maintained as possible.  Of course we also organise led walks but most of our members are independent walkers who simply want to support our footpath work.  Please join us and become a supporter too.  You need us and we really need you.