Hythe - Lympne - Royal Military Canal - Hythe

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This walk was originally compiled by Alan and Janet Love, sadly both are no longer with us. Alison Gilbert has kindly offered to take them over. Alison and Walkingworld would like all these excellent walks to remain as a continuing tribute to Alan and Janet.

Our walk starts from the seaside town of Hythe, one of the five original Cinque Ports in Kent. Hythe has a host of small shops together with restaurants, tea rooms and public houses ranged along both the High Street and sidestreets.

The large 11th Century parish church of St Leonard is to be found off the High Street, high above the town. The chancel, dating from 1220, covers a processional ossuary - a bone store, more commonly found on the continent - lined with 200 skulls and 8,000 thighbones. They date from the medieval period, probably having been stored after removal to make way for new graves.

Hythe is one of the terminals of the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, the world's smallest public railway, running scale models of steam locomotives. The track runs a parallel course to the coastline, passing through the towns of Dymchurch and New Romney to Dungeness. We have a fairly short but steep climb out of Hythe and then enter park and farmland on our way to Lympne.

Lympne is a small village lying on the top of cliffs which overlook Hythe and the English Channel. After passing the church and castle we walk along the top of the escarpment, with its superb views across the marshes.

The ruins you see as you walk the ridge date back to Roman times and were called Port Lemanus, built to protect the Roman ships in the harbour below the current village. The castle, now known as Stutfall Castle, is lower than the Romans built it due to cliff slippage. Dungeness Power Station stands out plainly on a clear day. In order to reach The Royal Military Canal we have to descend and what better way to do it than follow the path down through Port Lympne Wild Animal Park? There is a good chance of seeing elephant and giraffe on the way down, as well as various herds of deer and zebra. We also spotted rhea and wild horses.

In 1804 Napoleon was getting ready to invade England. The government decided to try to stop the French invasion via the Romney Marshes and they built the Royal Military Canal as part of the nation's defences.

We continue our walk alongside the canal, at first on a winding path through trees and then on a grassy path with picnic tables and benches set at intervals along the way. Keep an eye on the escarpment for a concrete structure shaped like a dish on its side. This was a sound location device to detect bombers used by the Luftwaffe in 1940; it is in fact an aeroplane-detecting parabolic sound mirror. It was superseded by the advent of radar and another example lies at Greatstone. Finally we arrive via a green lane back to our start.

England - South England - Kent - Canal Walk


Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Castle, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Gift Shop, Great Views, Mostly Flat, Museum, Pub, Public Transport, Restaurant, River, Sea, Tea Shop, Toilets, Wildlife, Woodland
4/23/2019 - Angela Argent

Attempted to follow part of walk ID3279,the first week in April and the section between points 22 and 23 which to be fair is described as muddy was impassable without very substantial walking boots or wellies it was extremely muddy. We had to turn back!

3/1/2013 - Geoff Kington

Walked on 15/2/13 a Friday after snow the previous weekend. Enjoyable walk, super views from escarpment and the animals were enjoyable too. However, the pathway from the escarpment down to the canal was treacherous, well churned wet clay, steep in places. Great care required.

6/10/2011 - Dave and Sam Asbury

walked on 6/6/11 Enjoyable walk. We started at the carpark at wp 24 - splitting the canal section. We also took a slight detour at wp 18 and had a small hake and chips at the pub for just under a fiver. We'd recommend taking binoculars as we also managed to see all the mentioned animals plus an ostrich.

10/8/2010 - Sid Marks

Has to be one of the best walks I've done. Spectacular views and got to see a variety of animals whist passing by the animal park. Easy to follow directions. Took me around 3 hours to complete. It worked out only 7.2 miles. If you fancy visiting a pub, at waymark 18, carry on up the path instead of turning left, and there is a lovely pub 100m at the end. Highly recommend you try this walk.

5/31/2009 - Simon Ellis

This is a gorgeous walk with everything you could ask for. The instructions are spot on, it offers superb views, lovely places to stop for a picnic, the opportunity to travel on the incredible Romney Hythe and Dymchurch steam railway, a great cafe, and a glorious mix of gentle hills, woodland and canal. We'll definitely do this one again!

2/26/2009 - Margaret Baldry

22.02.2009 A very enjoyable walk; lots of variety and interest. Easy to follow directions. Thanks!

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16.2 Miles