Walk of the month: St Margaret's Bay
PUBLISHED: 07:42 04 April 2014 | UPDATED: 07:42 04 April 2014
This circular walk takes you past some spectacular views over the bay and towards the coast of France
Location: St Margaret’s Bay
Distance: 4.7 miles (7.5 km)
Time: allow 2 hours 45 minutes
OS Explorer Map: 138
Terrain: mainly quiet roads
Parking: car park at St Margaret’s Bay
Refreshments & facilities: the Coastguard public house and public toilets at St Margaret’s beach; tearooms at former coastguard station, at the top of the Leas.
Public Transport: for local bus and train services in Kent, contact Traveline 0870 6082608, www.traveline.org.uk
Stretch your legs and blow away the cobwebs with this seaside wander from the Coastguard public house. Bear left to follow the Saxon Shore Way signs along Beach Road, passing through the beautiful Pines Gardens. The six acres include a sensory garden, organic kitchen garden and inviting clifftop tea rooms.
The gardens centre around a museum and a brooding bronze statue of Sir Winston Churchill, a reminder of darker days on the Kent coast when Nazi invaders were just 20 miles away.
From the gardens the path passes through Lighthouse Down and the iconic South Foreland Lighthouse. The National Trust Conserved Victorian landmark was the first in the world to display an electric light.
Passing the lighthouse, you’ll notice the remnants of the cross-Channel gun positions in the undergrowth, more remnants of the military history of the coastline.
Follow the track along Lighthouse Road and you’ll reach St Margaret’s at Cliffe. Leaving the heart of the village you’ll soon stride out across the fields towards the Free Down, glancing towards the backdrop of coastal views across the fields.
At the foot of the valley climb uphill to rejoin the Leas where you’ll find the former coastguard station, converted into a welcoming tea room. Sat here you can enjoy spectacular views across the Channel while enjoying a cup of tea.
Edging along the cliff tops you are walking over an underground maze of military defences, securely barred. You may not be able to see the tunnels, but keep your eyes peeled for the tracks and burrows of foxes, badgers and rabbits.
Your path soon curves down to the shingle beach of St Margaret’s Bay. Enjoy a walk along the beach or stroll back to the Pines Gardens and enjoy refreshments in the tea rooms. The Coastguard public house is just a short stroll away.
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.
Look out for the feature in Kent Life on ‘10 good reasons to visit St Margaret’s-at-Cliffe and Dover’