Day 77: English Coastal Path

D77: FAVERSHAM to HERNE BAY

Monday 13th June 2022

Today miles: 15.1 Total miles: 1246.4

It seems that every day that I go walking in 2022 the high temperature records are broken, today’s another one of those days. The temperature today was set to be a balmy 26 degrees. I drove the short distance to Faversham train station and after finding a good parking space we set off walking around 9am, which is actually a late start for me. The first two miles was along the Eastern bank of Faversham Creek to reach the mouth of the River Swale. As I walked along I thought about the cows from yesterday, on the other side of the creek and hoped there wouldn’t be any similar encounters today. We then walked around Nagden Marshes which is also located at the mouth of the Swale, it’s all very exposed and there’s nowhere to hide from the burning sun. Thankfully there was no sign of the cows. During our first sit down break we had a short discussion and decided that we should stop every hour for fifteen minutes to have a rest and a good drink even if we didn’t feel we particularly needed a break. The area was relatively busy and the path towards first Cleve Marshes and then Graveney Marshes was pleasant and easy to walk along. We were disappointed to discover that the pub at Graveney Marshes, The Sportsman, was closed on Mondays so we carried on for another mile before taking our first extended break. Before then we passed by a clearly signposted ‘private beach’. The tide was out so we walked below the MHW (Mean High Water) line. The legality of access and walking along beaches is a really complicated issue. The vast majority of the English coastline is owned by the crown or other large organisations such as the National Trust. We stayed on the foreshore and nobody inside any of the occupied beach huts chastised us for trespassing.

We entered Seasalter which is located on the Western end of Whitstable at lunchtime and it’s very busy. There’s several open pubs on the coastline and they are already busy. We didn’t fancy waiting around for food or drinks so instead we decided to leave the coastline temporarily and grabbed some food from a supermarket before returning back to the coast to eat it. We then sat on the beach in the shade of a groyne, this would allow Alfie the chance to dip into the water and cool down. We were slightly miffed when a man decided to throw stones on the beach for Alfie. We really needed Alfie to have a drink of water and just lay down in the shade. His huge instinct to chase stones was greater then his desire to cool down so I decided to put him back on his leader. After our lunch we continued from Whitstable, through Tankerton. I noted there’s a vast row of groynes for several miles along the coastline. I didn’t actually count them (I’m not that sad) but there must be literally hundreds. We continued to wander off the path closer to the water so Alfie could have a dip and cool down.

I’d never been to this part of England before and was so impressed by how clean and pretty the coastline was along here. The views changed around every corner and the Northern end of Herne Bay looked beautiful, perched on the side of Studd hill. By the time we reached Herne Bay I suspected Gemma had, had enough of walking. She had gone quiet and was dragging her feet a little. She never complained but I recognised the signs of a tired better half. I kept telling her that it wasn’t too far to go. After rounding Studd Hill we walked the mile towards Herne Bay Pier. Just beyond the pier we turned away from the coast. We did stop briefly at a small shop to grab an ice cream and more cold drinks before heading to Herne Bay train station.

An awesome day, great views. Everybody’s hot and exhausted but happy.

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