Walk: Minnis Bay to Reculver
PUBLISHED: 15:24 25 November 2016 | UPDATED: 15:26 25 November 2016
This is a family friendly walk, suitable for buggies and wheelchairs and is a great way to get the whole family together before Christmas to blow away those Winter cobwebs
Location: Reculver, CT7 9QP
Distance: 3.7 miles (5.95 km) Linear
Time: Allow up to 2 hours (one way)
OS Explorer Map: 150
Terrain: The entire length of the route is flat
Public Transport: For public transport directions to Reculver from your home address, please visit kentconnected.org
Parking: There is a Pay and Display public car park at Reculver Towers
Refreshments & facilities: There is a pub and friendly café in Reculver erving a range of hot or cold meals and snacks.
Reculver Towers is a majestic ruin, surrounded by history and folklore with rumours of the haunting sound of a crying baby. Once a large monastery standing tall on the cliff edge of Reculver, the towers have been a landmark for sailors in the past protecting them against a rocky demise! Your walk will take you along the sea wall with plenty of opportunity to look out to sea and spot boats and bird life. Your route will follow the Viking Coastal Trail, aptly named, as control of the Reculver monastery was passed to the Kings Wessex in exchange for protection against Viking attacks!
This is a family friendly walk, suitable for buggies and wheelchairs and is a great way to get the whole family together before Christmas to blow away those Winter cobwebs. It’s the perfect way to create those essential family memories that make the busy run up to Christmas that little more special.
Setting off from the car park at Reculver, you’ll follow the sea wall through to Birchington but before you leave you might want to grab a hot drink and snack at the friendly café situated just outside the car park – the owner will happily tell you about the local area and help make the most of your walk. The hot chocolate comes particularly recommended!
Seeing the sea glistening in the sun not to mention those splendid clifftop views, is a perfect reason to wrap up and go exploring. If you’ve not seen the Reculver Towers in the winter, now is your chance – they’re beautiful! There is also a new play area next to the car park for little ones to burn off some energy too.
Your walk begins at a 5 bar metal gate next to the King Ethelbert Inn. You will shortly pass a campsite, Reculver is a camping hot spot in warmer months and it is easy to see why tourists love it here as it’s an area steeped in history. Reculver Towers which are also known as the Two Sisters are the most dominant feature of the remains of a monastic church originally housed within a Roman fort. Local folklore states that the grounds of the fort are reputedly haunted by the sound of a crying baby and during excavation work carried out, 10 infant burials were discovered within the fort. It is thought that the babies were buried there as part of a ritual sacrifice, however it is not known whether the babies selected were already dead, stillborn, buried alive or killed for the purpose.
Reaching the narrow path on the right, continue straight ahead. The path widens and becomes a disused road, if you’ve not explored Reculver Towers, now is your opportunity. The towers sit right on the cliff edge and were once used as a coastal navigation point. Coastal erosion has meant that much of the land has been lost to sea. Look along the cliff edge into the distance and you’ll the cliffs stretching along the shoreline towards Herne Bay.
Pass through the barrier and you will soon pass a working Oyster Farm. Oysters have been fished from the Whitstable coastline since the Roman times. The Oyster Farm owns two miles of seabed just off the Reculver coast known as Pollard Ground as well as dedicated oyster farm facilities. Native Whitstable Oysters have long been enjoyed in this area for their great quality and taste, so if you have the chance, give them a try.
Continue along the sea wall for 2.8 miles (4.5km), towards Birchington, a seaside village described by the Guardian as “not modern but marvellous”. A great place to explore, if only to get some good old fashioned British fish and chips! Enjoy them at Birchington’s beautiful Minnis Bay, a family friendly beach with lovely views the year round.
You will also pass a salt water lagoon, a bend in the sea wall and a shingle ridge has created a sheltered area where Sea Purslane, Sea Beet and Saltmarsh Rush grow on the clay and shingle banks. It’s like a little tropical paradise right here in Kent!
Your walk ends at a barrier – continue on the path past the barrier and you’ll be heading towards the car park at Birchington. The path ends at the corner of the car park.
From here, you can either retrace your steps back to Reculver or take the bus back! The bus service is regular and in some cases will provide a direct bus back to Reculver. It’s another way to take in this really pretty area!
This is a walk that will unlock your senses and take you on a journey through history and back again!
To find out about other walks in Kent including the #GoOutside campaign, please visit the Explore Kent website www.explorekent.org. Follow @explorekent on Twitter and Facebook and share your experiences!