Friday 19 August 2016
New Romney to Folkestone
14 miles (+ bus)
Best Western Clifton Hotel
I set off along the sea front to Dymchurch and then on to Hythe. It was another grey day and the sea front seemed to go on forever just with changes to the type of promenade; concrete or Tarmac, raised or beach level, wide or thin.
I passed a lot of Martello Towers today, all looking slightly different depending upon their current usage or decoration.
I passed along the fronts of St Mary’s Bay and Dymchurch, neither places looked particularly appealing.
Halfway between Dymchurch and Hythe is the Dymchurch Redoubt, which was originally a depot built in the early 1800s to service the 21 Martello Towers in the short stretch between Rye and Hythe.
It was a very grey day and heavy rain and winds were forecast, hence I had started early. I caught a bus for 2 miles along the main road from Dymchurch Redoubt to Hythe as the footpath was pushed off the sea front by Hythe Ranges and followed the main road.
In Hythe I found the Royal Military Canal again, as it cut out the the sea. The town centre was quite nice, with lots of independent shops, and I stopped at a lovely French Patisserie for coffee and a fancy cake as it had just started to rain.
Hythe labels itself as “the jewel of SE Kent, where the countryside meets the sea”.
Like Hastings, Hythe also had a fisherman’s beach. It had stopped raining when I set off along the promenade to Folkestone, but it was very cloudy and only a matter of time before more rain fell. Fortunately, by the time it did, I would be ensconced in my hotel room for an evening of relative comfort watching the Olympics on television.
Folkestone has been a popular seaside resort since the 1800s (presumably after everyone stopped worrying about Napoleon invading). It has the requisite beach huts and promenade but sadly no pier. Its pier was opened in 1888 and demolished in 1954. In the meantime it was the host for Britain’s first ever recorded beauty contest, in 1907, that was one by Netty Bainbridge.
Folkestone is built on a cliff and so I found myself walking along the promenade at the base of the cliff. I didn’t need to walk up the cliff road as I could get the Leas Lift, a water balance cliff lift, up to the top.
I walked past a few big hotels and through the main, soulless, shopping centre to get to the post office where I should collect my next set of maps. Yet again I was let down by the Post Office (for the 3rd out of 5 times) as their staff don’t even know what services they provide (despite previous phone calls and assurances). It was incredibly frustrating and I struggled to retain composure. The smallest things can seem soul-destroying on this sort of trip, and an extra 2 mile walk to be so frustrated was not a good end to my day. Fortunately there was a Waterstones in the town centre so I had to walk there and buy some more maps.
I arrived at my hotel feeling miserable and lonely, and definitely not in the mood to be messed around with a sub-standard room (my wifi didn’t work so I had to move rooms after I had carefully strewn all of my wet kit and tent all over the place). It was just not my best afternoon. Roll on tomorrow!