Saturday's Romney Marsh Ride
Romney Marsh – Saturday 10th June, 2006
It was going to be a very hot day by British standards, so before I left home I made sure that my camel back was filled with water, sunscreen applied and placed in my bag along with a hat.
There were eleven of us at London Bridge station, Bill, Dubrovka, Tim, Paul, Ian, Ian, Shirley, Simon, Robert, Alan and Colin.
It was £8.75 for those who got the 4 for 2 deals – it’s always a good idea to turn up for rides early to get the best chance of one of these good value tickets.
Out of Ashford Station we turn left and head south before turning off the road and joining cycling route 18 which takes us to the south and east of Ashford along side of the River Stour. This is a very nice traffic free way to get out of a large town. A couple of miles out of the centre of Ashford and into it’s suburbs the path leaves the Stour runs through the houses for a mile and then enters Kent’s quiet country lanes, still on route 18.
Route 18 turns westwards just past Shadoxhurst and we carry on south on route 11 through Woodchurch and Appledore. Just past Appledore we cross the Royal Military Canal and enter Romney Marsh. The ride slows down and we occupy the full width of the road as there is no sign of any traffic. Through Brookland and we turn towards Rye and the road gets busier.
I’ve never seen a badger before and never expected to, them being nocturnal, so it was sad to see 2 dead road-kill victims. It was very hot and we were stopping fairly regularly to drink - I felt sorry for the sheep in all that wool, they were desperately seeking any shade they could find.
Before getting to Rye we turned eastwards and headed towards Camber our designated lunch stop. We opted for fish and chips on the beach rather than crowd into a pub with a lot of other people wanting to watch a world cup football game. The beach was fairly busy too and didn’t get any less busy as kick off approached.
Fish and chips were eaten, Tim swam, others paddled, ice cream was eaten and naps taken. We spent a very pleasant hour on the beach. Ian decided to leave us and head for Rye and home. The rest of us continued eastwards along route 2, on the road to Lydd. There is a cycle path beside the road between Camber and Lydd but it is very rough so the majority opted to use the road after trying it for a few yards. If this was upgraded it would be a real asset as the road is single carriageway and quite busy.
Lydd was deserted. From Lydd we turned towards Dungeness with the nuclear power station dominating the skyline. The power station is no longer open to visitors but the Dungeness Old Lighthouse at the side of it is and you are supposed to be able to see France from the top on a good day. We waited at a crossing for the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch train to pass and then turned north up the coastal road going through, Lydd-on-Sea, Greatstone-on-Sea, Littlestone-on-Sea, St Mary’s Bay and Dymchurch before finally arriving in Hythe. The vast beaches to our right were deserted. The map shows the road going inland at Littlestone-on-Sea but is possible and passable for all kinds of bikes to remain cycling by the coast. 10 miles of uninterrupted coastal cycling passing the Napoleonic defensive forts, Martello Towers along the route – fantastic!
Out of Hythe we had a very steep climb to gat up on top of the ridge which runs alongside the Royal Military Canal . Unfortunately any possibility of a good view is blocked by high dense hedges and trees. We stop at The County Members PH in Lympne for refreshments before cruising back to Ashford and getting straight on a train back to London .
Back in London four of us went for a drink at The Angel in Bermondsey.
As usual, thanks everyone for coming. It was a great day out in a fascinating area and I think I’d like to go back before the summer is over.