A Sandwich Saunter
Enjoy a gentle stroll through Sandwich, one of the best-preserved medieval towns in the UK, and an area known for its exceptional scenery and wildlife.
- Distance: 5.1 miles (8.2km)
- Time: Allow 2.5 hours
- OS Explorer Map: 150
- Gates: 5
- Stiles: 6
- Terrain: paths and tracks
- Parking: at the Quay, Sandwich
- Refreshments and facilities: public toilets at the Quay; many cafs, restaurants and public houses in Sandwich
- Difficulty: this walk is flat with some stiles and gates
This relaxing circular walk begins and ends at the historic quayside. Follow the path alongside the river until it flows toward the north east where the Saxon Shore Way forks away from the Stour Valley Walk.
Following this path, you will soon cross Royal St Georges golf course, famed for being one of the most difficult in the world. Continue across the golf course and down to the open sea at Sandwich Bay.
Take in the stunning views across the bay and consider visiting nearby Sandwich Bay Beach, which sweeps into the crystal clear waters. Follow the route back over the glorious stretch of sand dunes, where an abundance of rare plant life thrives.
The gentle incline towards Sandwich Bay makes this area perfect for safe swimming and excellent for watersports.
As you wander back across the dunes and salt marshes you pass the entrance to the Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory Trust Field Centre. Open daily, the centre is a wonderful resource for discovering local wildlife; the diversity of its habitats make it a haven for a variety of migrating birds, as well as the enthusiastic spotter.
The habitat the observatory provides affords it the opportunity to carry out international and national scientific bird monitoring projects.
From the observatory the route passes through the Sandwich and Hacklinge Site of Special Scientific Interest and through the arable fields and small farms.
Continuing through the fields, head back towards busy Sandwich to meander through the ancient streets of the town centre.
These narrow roads and historic houses have remained relatively untouched in their layout since the Domesday Book, yet this beautiful period towns rich history is arguably centred on being one of the famed Cinque Ports, which were created in 1155 by a royal charter.
These historic ports of Kent and East Sussex were once formed for military defence and trade by Edward the Confessor; now their presence is purely ceremonial.
Continue alongside the ancient town wall to return to the quay. Much of the wall is now raised earthen-works alone, yet this allows for a striking walk around the central conservation area of the town and stunning views over the ancient tiled roofs of the buildings.
Consider completing your walk with a guided boat tour from the celebrated Quay; the tours are a perfect taste of the famed history of Sandwich and its natural environment. Another must-see for anyone wishing to be better acquainted with this towns fascinating history is the archaeological remains and museum at Richborough. The museum reveals the changing significance this area of the Kent coast held in the fortunes of Roman Britain.
LOOK OUT FOR
- Sandwich Guild Hall, the home of the Royal Charter of 1668, granted by Charles II, and the Moot Horn, used to summon local people to hear important messages as far back as the 12th century
- The Barbican Gate, former tollgate for the River Stour Bridge
- The Royal St Georges Golf Course, founded in 1887 and the host of 13 Open Championships
- Wildfowl and wading birds, including mute swans, curlew, corn bunting, oyster catcher and grey heron
- Moth varieties, such as elephant hawk, five spot burnet and humming bird hawk moth
- Southern marsh orchid, lizard orchid