Kent Walk: Minnis Bay to Reculver

Reculver (Davekentuk, Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

Reculver Towers are a pair of 12th-century church towers and one of Kent's most striking ruins - Credit: Davekentuk / Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

This is a family-friendly walk, suitable for buggies and wheelchairs and is a great way to get the whole family outside enjoying the summer sunshine or the early days of autumn.

Reculver Towers is a majestic ruin, surrounded by history and folklore. 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 opportunities to look out to the sea and spot boats and birdlife. 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!

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.

Reculver Towers are a pair of 12th-century church towers and one of Kent's most striking ruins 

The spooky folk story about Reculver Towers sends shivers down your spine - Credit: Anup Shah / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Information

Location: Reculver, CT7 9QP

Distance: 3.7 miles (5.95 km) Linear

Time: Allow up to 2 hours (one way)

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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 serving a range of hot or cold meals and snacks.

The Walk

1) 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.

2) 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. 

3) 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 the sea. Look along the cliff edge into the distance and you’ll the cliffs stretching along the shoreline towards Herne Bay.

4) Pass through the barrier and you will soon pass a working Oyster Farm. Oysters have been fished from the Whitstable coastline since 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.

5) 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 year-round.

6) You will also pass a saltwater lagoon, a bend in the sea wall and a shingle ridge that 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!

7) 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!

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