Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Kent Coast Walk: Broadstairs to Sandwich via Ramsgate 29th February 2016

Dan and I set off for Broadstairs for another Kent Coast walk. On the way down I got to thinking how Broadstairs got its name, although I had an idea how. So I googled it and found The inland village of St Peter's was established after the building of a parish church in about 1080. The coastal confederation of Cinque Ports during its mediæval period consisted of a confederation of 42 towns and villages in all. This included St Peter's, as a 'limb' of Dover. On the nearby coast was a cliff-top shrine, the Shrine of Our Lady, at what was then called Bradstow(e), meaning "broad place" (perhaps referring to the wide bay).A fishing settlement developed in the vicinity of the shrine in the 14th century. This came to be called "Broadstairs", after a flight of steps which was made in the cliff to give access to the shrine from the bay. Older forms of the name include Brodsteyr Lynch (1434 & 1494), Brodestyr (1479), Broadstayer (1565) and Brod stayrs (1610).Charles Culmer, son of Waldemar, is supposed to have reconstructed the stairs in 1350.

 We now come upon Bleak House,Fort Road in Broadstairs itself. It was originally known as Fort House and was built around 1816 for a Captain during the Napoleonic wars.  Charles Dickens wrote several of his famous novels and the building was leased to him between 1837 and 1859.  The four storey Grade II listed building was renamed Bleak House after his death in 1870.

Broadstairs, like many coastal places around England, had something of a reputation for smuggling in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The current establishment has a Smugglers Museum below deck.It is still possible to visit one of Charles Dickens' study rooms there.
Dickens wrote perhaps his most meritous work, David Copperfield. Fort House was dubbed Bleak House in the early part of the 20th Century. Somebody asserted that it was the Bleak House referred to in Dickens' 1853 novel and the name stuck.

In the middle ages St Peters was a thriving farming community and had a nearby fishing village which became what we now know as Broadstairs. Its name being derived from the Anglo-Saxon word Bradstow which means a broad place.

Much later shipbuilding became of great importance for Broadstairs and in 1538 George Culmer built the first pier and York Gate to protect his shipyard which was on the site currently occupied by The Pavilion and Garden on the Sands.

The York Gate is the archway which can be seen near the bottom of Harbour street today. Shipbuilding continued in Broadstairs until 1824 when the business transferred to Whites on the Isle of Wight.
Smuggling was almost as important an industry as anything else in the area and the men of St Peters became very good at outwitting The Revenue Men! This was very profitable because of the very high duty payable on tea, spirits and tobacco - not much change there now for the latter two! There were many tunnels and caves which were used by smugglers to hide their contraband.
The tourist industry started in the early 19th century, Broadstairs being popular with the gentry after 1829 which the then Princess Victoria spent her summer at Pierremont Hall. Charles Dickens was also a regular visitor, hence the museums and festival named after him.
The growth of the railways brought more and more people to holiday at Broadstairs, and encouraged the development of many schools and convalescent homes. Broadstairs and St Peters continued to grow into a thriving residential area and a major holiday resort.

The Pavilion and Garden on The Sands is a former theatre & ballroom taken over by Thorley Taverns in 1998. Stages shows in former ballroom area. A new conservatory on the patio was opened in 2015 and includes a new bar area serving a selection of real ales. Regular Beer Festivals.

The Pavilion Restaurant and Bar is open to all - Seven days a week - providing a variety of delicious food and drinks with unrivalled views from our veranda overlooking the sands of Viking Bay. We are also available for private hire, licenced for civil wedding ceremonies and host great events throughout the year including music and beer festivals - See more at: http://www.visitkent.co.uk/attractions/the-pavilion-on-the-sands/8963#sthash.BwzguTXV.dpuf

On June 18th 1815, the 30-year old Major Percy who was Wellington's only aide-de-camp to emerge unscathed from the battle, tucked the dispatch into a purple wallet and set off.
He rode to Ghent, Bruges and Ostend where he boarded the Royal Navy sloop HMS Peruvian.
Halfway across the Channel, the wind dropped and Percy and his naval companions, including Peruvian's captain James White, boarded a gig – a small boat – to row ashore, eventually landing at Broadstairs.
Percy then found a horse-drawn post-chase or carriage and rode through Canterbury, Faversham, Sittingbourne and Rochester, reaching London at 10pm on June 21.
He first went to 10 Downing Street before going on to 44 Grosvenor Square where senior politicians in the Cabinet were having supper.

Looking over Viking Bay, it looked so different from when I last was here in the summer many years back. Back then the beach was full of sunbathers,children playing in the sea, trampolines and bouncy castles., but now being Winter the beach is empty and quiet.
Viking Bay was actually the training ground of the British Olympians for 1924 Paris Olympics. (A very famous storyline depicted in the film ‘Chariots of Fire’)
Viking Bay was renamed in 1949 after the commemorative landing of a Viking Ship, marking 1500 years since the landing of Hengist and Horsa
- See more at: http://www.visitthanet.co.uk/things-to-do/beaches-and-bays/curious-coast#sthash.4vJHSMG8.dpuf

In 449 The Vikings, under Hengist, landed at Thanet, rowed up the Watsum Channel and attacked Canterbury.
 In 1949, to commemorate this event, a replica Viking ship, manned by Danes, was rowed across The North Sea and landed at Main Bay in Broadstairs. Main Bay was officially renamed Viking Bay from this day.

We reach Morellis. An Icrecream parlour that guides say are unmissable , so we had to visit.

In 1932 the first Morelli's ice cream parlour which proudly presides over the beautiful and much-loved Viking Bay in Broadstairs, Kent, was opened, becoming the first ever to serve over 20 flavours of ice cream. This parlour still proudly serves loyal customers today and retains a magical feel of stepping back in time with its soda fountain, juke box, formica tops and pink leatherette booths.overwhelmingly nostalgic, it is for many a walk down memory lane.
As featured in "Best places to enjoy the sun in Britain" on MSN.

I am on a diet and Ice cream was out fro me, but I had a gorgeous Americano and very nice too, to start our walk.

The Ice-cream looked delicious, maybe another time
We continued on our way along the seafront and onwards towards Ramsgate.

We reach Dumpton Gap and its gorgeous bay.

We on along the cliff past some gorgeous houses. What I'd give to live in one of these!!

We emerge from the cliffs and now enter Ramsgate.

We pass Coastguard Cottages, built by the Admiralty on the East Cliff,Ramsgate in the 1860s

Ramsgate was one of the great English seaside towns of the 19th century. Ramsgate’s main attraction is its coastline, and its main industries are tourism and fishing. The town has one of the largest marinas on the English south coast, and the Port of Ramsgate has provided cross-channel ferries for many years.
Ramsgate began as a fishing and farming hamlet.
The Christian missionary St Augustine, sent by Pope Gregory the Great, landed near Ramsgate in 597AD.The town is home to the Shrine of St Augustine.
The earliest reference to the town is in the Kent Hundred Rolls of 1274-5, both as Remmesgate (in the local personal name of ‘Christina de Remmesgate’) and Remisgat (with reference to the town).The names Ramisgate and Raunsgate appear in the parish of St. Laurence records circa 1290. These are all derived from late Anglo-Saxon ‘Hremmes’ from earlier ‘Hræfnes’ (raven’s) and ‘geat’ (gate), with reference to the gap in the cliffs.In 1357, the area became known as Ramesgate.
Ramsgate was a member of the Confederation of Cinque Ports, under the 'Limb' of Sandwich, Kent.

We pass Peters Fish Factory on 96 Harbour Parade Ramsgate. We didn't eat here, but it gets rave reviews!

We pass the Maritime Museum in the harbour and continue on to the Marina. The museum is closed for the winter.

Ramsgate is the only Royal Harbour in Great Britain. In 1821 King George IV commanded that Ramsgate should have a Royal harbour because he was so well received when passing through Ramsgate when travelling to and from Hanover.

We walked through the Harbour and I was disappointed there were no shellfish stalls open. Really fancied a plate of cockles!

Ship-Shape Cafe

We pass Coco Latino and its pedal powered bike/bar outside.

We continue along Military Road and pass The Smack Boys Home. This isn't a drug rehabilitation centre but a part of  The Sailors’ Church and Harbour Mission, close by the foot of Jacob’s Ladder was built in 1878 by Canon Eustace Brenan, vicar of the nearby Christ Church. He saw the need for spiritual guidance and physical help for the men and boys who made up the crews of the sailing smacks who fished out of Ramsgate in the nineteenth century. It was dangerous, arduous work, especially for the young apprentices who were called Smack Boys. When the apprentices were ashore, they were provided with some comfort in the rooms above the church and later, in the Smack Boys Home next door.
The use of the home slowly changed to receiving sailors that had been rescued, mostly from wrecks on the Goodwin Sands. Later some 3,300 survivors of the First World War are known to have been fed, clothed, sheltered and medically treated there. Today the church offers the visitor a quiet place for rest, reflection and prayer.

In October 1939, the Royal Navy established a Coastal Forces base at Ramsgate called HMS Fervent, which operated Motor Torpedo Boats, Motor Gun Boats and Motor Launches until September 1945. From 27 May 1940, Ramsgate harbour was the main assembly point for the build-up of small craft needed for Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk. Once the evacuation was under way, Ramsgate became the second-busiest port after Dover, and just under 43,000 men passed through the port, transported onwards by 82 special trains.

We leave Ramsgate behind and head off towards Pegwell Bay.

As we approach Pegwell Bay, the road veers off into a tunnel under the cliff, whilst we skirt around the outside.

We walk through a walkway and gardens surrounded by rocks. Of course these were just crying out to be climbed!

We was out on the West Cliff Promenade and out into a park.

Now we head down hill to Pegwell Bay itself.

We pass The Pegwell Bay Hotel.  The tower of the hotel is now the most dominant feature of the skyline. The piers and bathing facilities have long since disappeared.

We head off along the cliffs towards Cliffsend.

It was here at Pegwell Bay that the Hovercraft used to run across to France.
Hoverlloyd operated a cross-Channel hovercraft service between Ramsgate to Calais. It operated four SR.N4 type hovercraft and was a rival to Seaspeed (owned by British Rail).

We reach Cliffsend ,part of Pegwell Bay.

Here is the Viking Ship Hugin. 

The Viking Ship Hugin on permanent display on the cliff top at Pegwell Bay, Ramsgate is a replica of a Viking ship which sailed from Denmark to Thanet in 1949 to celebrate the 1500th anniversary of the invasion of Britain, the traditional landing of Hengist and Horsa and the bethrothal of Hengist's daughter, Rowena, to King Vortigen of Kent.
Out of 53 crewmen only the navigator, Peter Jensen, was a professional seaman. Viking conditions were faithfully observed and the only instrument carried was a sextant. The 'Hugin' was offered as a gift to Ramsgate and Broadstairs by the Daily Mail in order to be preserved for centuries.
- See more at: http://www.visitkent.co.uk/attractions/viking-ship-hugin/11097#sthash.kL6ljMG4.dpuf

The Viking Ship Hugin on permanent display on the cliff top at Pegwell Bay, Ramsgate is a replica of a Viking ship which sailed from Denmark to Thanet in 1949 to celebrate the 1500th anniversary of the invasion of Britain, the traditional landing of Hengist and Horsa and the bethrothal of Hengist's daughter, Rowena, to King Vortigen of Kent.
Out of 53 crewmen only the navigator, Peter Jensen, was a professional seaman. Viking conditions were faithfully observed and the only instrument carried was a sextant. The 'Hugin' was offered as a gift to Ramsgate and Broadstairs by the Daily Mail in order to be preserved for centuries.

Cliffsend is a village,Pegwell Bay.
Hengist and Horsa landed near here in 410AD, and St Augustine in 597.

We now walk through the Pegwell Bay country Park. Here were loads of runners partaking in Leap year challenge run.

All along were signs showing what birds to look out for and signs saying these were sensitive and we should take care!

We leave the country park and head along a busy and noisy A256. Horrible part of the walk, but needed doing. Didn't help that my new boots had started rubbing, I just wanted to be in Sandwich now!
We passed a hovercraft for sale, looks like some work is needed before this is seaworthy again!
After a long walk we turn onto Ramsgate Road and head along another long road leading to Sandwich. At this point a saw a 88 bus coming along, so we jumped on to miss out a boring long stretch!
The bus shot through Sandwich through lots of turnings. I was thinking great! Now we have to walk back. It stopped outside  The Guildhall Museum that had an admission fee.

We headed off through the town, I wanted to go back to the old toll bridge and see that.

We pass Tom Paines Cottage. In 1759, this house in Sandwich Kent, UK, was the home and shop of Thomas Paine, founding father of the United States and French Republic. He created the phrase "United States of America", and was author of three of the bestsellers of the eighteenth century, including the cornerstone of American democracy, Common Sense plus the bible of English radicalism, the Rights of Man.
Rich in character and history Thomas Paine's cottage has been sympathetically renovated and now provides very comfortable accommodation. While benefiting from the necessities of modern life such as wireless internet there are also many items of 18th century furniture that would have been familiar to Tom Paine.
  • Beamed Grade II listed 2 bed cottage circa 1677 - sleeps 4

St Peters Church
The Church of St Peter includes some evidence of early Norman work, but was rebuilt in the early 13th century. In 1661 the top of the central tower collapsed, destroying the south aisle.

We pass an old Morris, the same car we see shoot off from us before us on the Deal to Dover walk, last year!

Dan stops to have a look at the phone box , only to complain its stinks of piss!

Here we should have turned left to go to the bridge, but a miscommunication saw Dan think we were off to the Station. So we go right as he's navigating.

We are not far off from the station, when Dan finds out from me, that in fact we should be going the other way. So we backtrack and head down from whence we came.

Sandwich /ˈsændw/ is a historic town and civil parish on the River Stour It has a population of 4,985.
It was one of the Cinque Ports and still has many original medieval buildings, including several listed public houses and gates in the old town walls, churches, almshouses and the White Mill. While once a major port, it is now two miles from the sea, its historic centre preserved.

The Admiral Owen PH
Dates from 1546. Originally known as the "Pelican" and later as the "Three Mariners." Today, it is known as the "Admiral Owen" and can be traced to that name since 1839.
The pub was listed as a Grade II building on 19th May 1950, and says the following about the building:- A 15th century timber-framed building, re-fronted in the 18th century but preserving the overhang of its 1st floor on bressummer and massive corner post with 3 brackets. (A bressummer, in timber-building, is a beam in the outward part of the building, and the middle floors, (not in the garrets or ground floors) into which the girders are framed.)
The building has 2 storeys, 3 windows facing the High Street, 3 windows facing Strand Street. Stuccoed front. Corner of 1st floor sliced off, with curved brackets supporting the corbelled eaves. Sash windows, most of the glazing bars intact.

Down by the bridge are river trips to go see the seals and other wildlife.

The Toll Bridge in Sandwich is a historic swing bridge that is the most downstream crossing of the River Stour. It was part of the A256 until the Sandwich Bypass opened. Today, the road is unclassified.
There has been a tolled crossing here since the Middle Ages. The current bridge was tolled until 1977.

In 1028 King Canute granted a charter to the monks of Christ Church, Canterbury to operate a ferry across the river and collect tolls.

The Crispin Inn

We decide to eat in The Crispin Inn.

When first built in 1491, the Crispin was a dwelling house, smaller in structure than the present day building. The ownership of the building changed hands many times for nearly three hundred years but always as a house.
In 1769 Thomas Hills, described as a furniture maker and common beer seller, applied for, and was granted a licence to sell ales from these premises. At this date the house had no title, other than that of a “bere house in Strande Strete”.
In 1790 upon the death of widow Hills, one William Scoones, beer seller, obtained a licence to sell ales and ciders and then in 1792 he was granted a full licence to sell liquor from the same premises.
It was now called the 'Crispin' after St. Crispin, the patron saint of shoemakers, who was said to have been shipwrecked near Sandwich whilst fleeing from France.

                    Dan goes for a Thatchers Gold cider, while I had a Adnams Ghostship!

We usually have Fish n Chips on our Coast walks. Dan did , but me being on a diet had to go for a jacket potato and salad. However I did try a bit of the fish and a chip. Bloody nice too. Easily the second best we've tried behind the deal fish!
After we finished eating we walked back again to the station.

We took the train from Sandwich to Ramsgate where we changed and took another to Broadstairs.
We walked out of Broadstairs Rail Station and we could see Crampton Tower Museum . The building is currently used as a small museum in the flint tower which is adjacent to Broadstairs railway station.  The tower formed part of the first Broadstairs public water supply.  The building has Thomas Crampton’s working drawings, models and graphics, a 1860 stage coach and various items relating to transport.
Thomas Russel Crampton is perhaps chiefly remembered as a designer of locomotives and of railways, but he was also concerned with gas, water works and the submarine telegraph cable. He was the first to succeed in laying an effective telegraph cable under the English Channel.
We head back to the car via the seafront and grabbing a Costa coffee on the way.

Another cracking walk, that totalled 16 miles in all. I was expecting 10 so more than we thought!!