Walk of the month: Lympne
PUBLISHED: 12:13 29 July 2013 | UPDATED: 12:13 29 July 2013
Enjoy wildlife, historic castles and fantastic views on this walk through the Lympne countryside
Your walk will climb cliffs for panoramic views of the sea beyond, while skirting past the grounds of the Port Lympne Wild Animal Park (see also page 102).
From the village of Lympne, cross over the Roman Road to follow footpath signs past Lympne Castle, parts of which date back to the 13th century. The castle was once home to Archdeacons of Canterbury, including Thomas Becket.
Pause to take in wonderful views towards the sea, before continuing down the former cliff and past Lympne Place, towards the remains of Stutfall Castle, Portus Lemanis, the former Roman Fort.
Portus Lemanis was the fourth Saxon Shore fort, built to protect the fleet. The site was carefully selected, taking advantage of a natural haven and its proximity to routes to Canterbury and London, while the Rother River met the sea here during Roman times.
Following the Norman invasion, this fort was left to decay. Lympne Castle’s construction at the top of the cliff, overlooking the marshes, was partly from the fort’s stone. As you take in dramatic views across the marshes and waterways, it is clear to see why it is thought that a Roman watchtower once stood here.
From the fort your walk will bring you to the banks of the Royal Military Canal, another fortification, this one built to protect against invasions during the Napoleonic Wars.
As you stroll along this section of the canal, you will skirt past the foot of the former cliff line and through tranquil woodland. Look out for the concrete pillbox, a reminder of more recent military threats.
Continue up the path and back up the cliffs. Keep your eyes peeled for the animals ahead at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park. You may catch a glimpse of a giraffe enjoying the Kent countryside.
Reaching the summit of the cliffs, the marsh opens up to breathtaking views over the reclaimed land to the open sea.
These fantastic sightlines would have once been important for both the security of the country and the many Romney Marsh smugglers.
FIND OUT MORE
To find out about other walks in Kent or for information on cycling, riding and country parks in Kent, visit www.kent.gov.uk/explorekent. Follow @explorekent on Twitter.