Walk of the month: Kingsdown and Walmer
- Credit: English Heritage
Stretch your legs and catch a breath of fresh air on this seaside wander from historic Walmer Castle, just along the coast from beautiful Deal. Enjoy this walk on a clear day and your trail will be a circle of outstanding views towards France and across the surrounding countryside
Location: Kingsdown and Walmer (CT14 7LJ)
Distance: 2.2miles (3.5 km)
Time: Allow 1.5 hours
OS Explorer Map: 138
Terrain: Field paths and surfaced paths. Gentle slopes
Parking: Parking is available near the castle in Kingsdown Road
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Refreshments & facilities: In Walmer
Public transport: for local bus and train services in Kent, contact Traveline tel: 0870 6082608, www.traveline.org.uk
Walmer Castle has been a part of local and national history since Henry VIII built it to help defend the coast from European attacks. The castle was the Duke of Wellington’s home for 23 years as the official residence of the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.
Starting at the castle, turn right to follow the waymarkers across a grassy patch to the road. Cross the road and you’ll reach a gently sloping footpath which opens out into Hawkshill Freedom. From here you’ll discover glorious views across the countryside and over the Channel.
Turn left and follow the boundary and stride across the grassy path. Explore the open area and pause on benches to enjoy windswept views.
This peaceful patch of land was once a World War I aerodrome; along your walk you’ll find a small memorial to the pilots who were killed in the skies over France.
Enjoy more stunning views across the rolling countryside as you wander along, finally coming to an open field. Follow the path downhill towards a patch of woodland.
Walk through the peaceful woodland and soon your path will open out to Cliff Road with sea views stretching ahead. Along this section of the Saxon Shore Way you’ll find the obligatory backdrop of sea views along with plenty of chances to access the beach for a brisk walk along the front.
Keep following the path and you’ll have excellent views of Walmer Castle on your left. Finish off your cliff-top tour with a visit to this elegant English Heritage castle and discover rooms enjoyed by the Queen Mother, the armchair where Wellington died and even a pair of original ‘Wellington boots’.
If you fancy exploring some more local history, a short two-mile extension to Deal takes in another of Henry VIII’s creations to fend off attacks from Europe. The English Heritage Deal castle remains one of the finest Tudor artillery castles in Europe and is well worth a visit if you can make the short stroll along the sea front.
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.