Walk of the month: Ramsgate to Pegwell Bay

PUBLISHED: 11:04 19 June 2015 | UPDATED: 11:05 19 June 2015

Ramsgate harbour

Ramsgate harbour

Manu Palomeque 07977074797

The Contra Trail leads past the hustle and bustle of modern Ramsgate, down the gently undulating Isle of Thanet Coastal path and into the natural peace and tranquillity of Pegwell Bay

Location: Ramsgate (CT11 8LN)

Distance: 6 miles (9.8 km)

Time: Allow 3 hours

OS Explorer Map: 150

Terrain: Mainly flat surfaced paths with one field edge path and surfaced tracks around Pegwell Bay

Parking: Pay and display parking in the town and along the harbour.

Refreshments & facilities: Shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs in Ramsgate. Pub and seasonal kiosk at Cliffs End and Dog Walkers Rest Café at Pegwell Bay Country Park.

A Royal Harbour with the common touch. An English monument to a Viking invasion. A nature reserve with wetland birds you’ll want to shout about. Beautiful bays and boats galore, this walk introduces you to the areas contradictions and its stunning landscapes.

The Contra Trail leads past the hustle and bustle of modern Ramsgate, down the gently undulating Isle of Thanet Coastal path and into the natural peace and tranquillity of Pegwell Bay. Thanks to the wonderfully diverse range of pubs, restaurants and local attractions on the route, this walk is one you can enjoy with a full belly and a spring in your step.

Your walk begins in the heart of the only British harbour that can claim to be ‘Royal’ – a unique honour that followed a visit to Ramsgate in 1820 by King George IV, who was so moved by the warmth and hospitality he received from his commoners, that he officially decreed the harbour to be ‘Royal’.

It will introduce you to a vibrant, modern town steeped in history at every turn. Elegant Georgian houses, traditional fishermen’s cottages, stylish terraced restaurants and busy pubs such as the Churchill Tavern, a local inn with an authentic country atmosphere and a wide-ranging selection of quality real ales.

Along the way you will pass the beautiful marina with its array of boats and yachts with the start of the walk just a stone’s throw from the best chip shop in Britain.

A wealth of sights, old and new, all help create a perfect backdrop to this perfectly British walk. Discover more than a hint of the continent in the town’s delicious choice of restaurants and pavement cafés like the stylish Miles Bar overlooking the harbour, wonderful pubs like The Queens Head, and aptly named Nice Things, in the Custom House - a charming little shop that boasts a truly impressive selection of ceramics, glass, jewellery and textiles. It is this wonderful mix of businesses and styles that help to make Ramsgate such a special town with so much to offer everybody.

Savour every moment though, because you will soon be leaving the hustle and bustle of this extraordinary harbour town behind as you make your way to the seclusion of the cliff top and begin the second stage of this inspired route.

This well-trodden path is steeped in history of its own… you just need to know where to look. Take the honeycombed network of caves and tunnels buried deep in the chalk and rock of the cliff you are standing on, these once allowed notorious 17th century smugglers ply their dreadful trade. Call in to the Belle Vue Tavern today and you step into a tavern full of history and legend. It is a place where exiled royalty are thought to have stayed during the French Revolution and Charles Dickens regularly enjoyed something delicious to eat and drink. Find out all about the landing of the Vikings when you walk past The Hugin, a striking life sized and faithfully replicated Nordic longboat along the route.

You will wander ancient cliffs, walk in the footsteps of royalty and raise a glass to villains and heroes before arriving at your final destination, Sandwich and Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve. Home to an amazing variety of plants and animals this Nature Reserve is nationally and internationally important for wildlife. You can find more habitats here than anywhere else in the south east. The mudflats, saltmarsh, beach, sand dunes, coastal scrublands and cliffs are home to dozens of rare species of plants and wetland birds. The Contra Trail is a wonderful way to explore this remarkable national treasure.

More from Out & About

As the world slows down, we turn our eyes to the skies in search of the best places to watch some celestial wonders this summer

Read more

Here are 12 places that may have flown under your radar before but are well worth seeking out

Read more

Kent is blessed with fine and indeed famous country houses, but over the decades has lost as many of its grander houses as it retains. A new book by Martin Easdown reveals 120 examples that have simply disappeared

Read more
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Take our quiz to see if you can decipher the town or place in Kent from the emojis

Read more
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Enjoy three of Kent’s best and most loved cycle rides which take in lots of the county’s beautiful coastlines

Read more

We look ahead to the end of lockdown and to a quiet seaside resort we can’t wait to visit again – Herne Bay

Read more

Hythe and New Romney, with their peaceful marshes, abundant wildlife and beautiful coastline, are the perfect places to explore when we’re allowed to travel again

Read more
Friday, June 12, 2020

We’ve gathered six of the best dog-friendly pubs in Kent to enjoy a bite to eat after a scenic stroll

Read more

Try these Kent-themed ideas for the ultimate ‘stay-cation’ – without having to move further away from home than the garden gate

Read more
Monday, June 8, 2020

Picnic baskets at the ready because we have gathered 10 of the best places to enjoy a picnic in stunning rural Kent

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Latest Competitions & Offers

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life