Walk of the month: Sandwich
PUBLISHED: 17:20 02 April 2016 | UPDATED: 17:20 02 April 2016
Enjoy a flight over the Fairways on this East Kent Spring stroll
Location: Sandwich (CT13 9FH)
Distance: 5.3 miles (8.53 km)
Time: Allow 2 hours, 30 minutes
OS Explorer Map: 150
Terrain: Path and tracks
Parking: at The Quay, Sandwich
Refreshments & facilities: Public toilets at the quay; many cafes, restaurants and public houses in Sandwich
Sandwich is one of the historic Cinque Ports. The town, originating in the 7th century, grew up as a trading centre and gateway to mainland Europe. The port was at its most prosperous in the 1200s and memories of that bygone time furnish the town in history with architecture like its historic quayside which marks the start of this relaxing walk.
As one of the best-preserved medieval towns in England this Kentish gem is a real treat. There is a wide range of activities including golfing, nature reserves and gardens; Eastry Picnic site is an ideal place to take the family for a secluded lunch and is situated near to one of the many footpaths and trails that meander around Sandwich. Located on the east Kent coast there are some fantastic things to do in this area and some great places to stay, so why not make a weekend of it and take a visit to Betteshanger Sustainable Park, the wide sandy beaches of Thanet and nearby Deal brimming with quirky boutiques and trendy bars.
Where to spot Bluebells in Sandwich this Spring
With Spring on its way, there is no better Spring sight than carpets of Bluebells in woodland dells. One of the best areas to spot Bluebells in Sandwich is to visit the Gazen Salts Nature Reserve here volunteers have been introducing a range of British Wildflowers as part of it’s Wildflower Planting Programme with seeds collected naturally from the reserve or buying British seed or plug plants. The aim is to increase the profusion of Springtime plants such as Bluebells which have responded very well. It is well worth a visit to the Nature Reserve to see their work in action.
One of the most popular Sandwich walks is the Flights over the Fairways taking in the wonderful seascapes of sandwich and ending back in sandwich leaving you free to explore the cobbled alleyways and perhaps reward yourself with some retail therapy or some light refreshment in one of the many cafes, pubs and restaurants. It is a circular walk and suits most walking abilities just be sure you can navigate the stiles and gates
Follow the path alongside the river until it flows away to the north east and the Saxon Shore Way and separates from the Stour Valley Walk. The path soon heads off across the famous Royal St George’s golf course and down to the open sea at Sandwich Bay.
Enjoy the views across the bay and then follow the route back across the sand dunes and salt marshes to open fields and pastures.
The rich and varied habitats make this a particularly attractive area for enthusiasts watching many species of over-wintering and migrating birds.
The path passes by the entrance to the popular Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory Trust Field Centre. The centre is open daily and is a good source of information about wildlife in the area generally as well as rarer sightings. The observatory carries out scientific bird migration and monitoring programmes for national and international projects. From the bird observatory, the route passes through the Sandwich and Hacklinge Site of Special Scientific Interest and on through small farms and arable fields.
Leave the fields and head back towards the hustle and bustle of Sandwich. Take a few minutes to explore the narrow streets and historic houses before leaving the main road. Follow the former port’s ancient town wall to return to the quayside.
What else to do in Sandwich
Guided boat trips are available from The Quay. The river tours include talks about the history of Sandwich and the local environment and if you’re lucky you might even spot a seal.
For more information on Bluebell walks, Spring events and outdoor ideas please visit Explore Kent for inspiration on enjoying the great Kentish countryside or follow Explore Kent on social media @explorekent on Twitter & Facebook