Cycling in southern England: Romney Marsh and Dungeness, Kent
A weekend trip to Kent’s mysterious Romney Marsh and Dungeness, the bleakly beautiful ‘land’s end’ of south-east England.
"The World, according to the best geographers, is divided into Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and Romney Marsh ... In this last-named, and fifth quarter of the globe, a witch may still be discovered in favourable, i.e. stormy seasons, weathering Dungeness Point in an egg-shell, or careering on her broomstick over Dymchurch wall." So wrote the Reverend Richard Barham in the Ingoldsby Legends a collection of pastiche folklore first published in the 1830s.
Start - Ashford, Kent
Finish - Ashford (or train from Rye, East Sussex)
Distance - 63 miles/101km
Total ascent - 299m
Terrain - Quiet lanes, a few busier roads around Lydd and Camber Sands.
Difficulty - Easy over two days, challenging in one
Snargate, a fabulously named Romney Marsh village that could be straight out of a Dickens novel or a Tim Burton film.
Dungeness, where powerful winds, miles of shingle, a nuclear power plant and Derek Jarman's fascinating home/garden/art installation combine to create a truly peculiar atmosphere – less land’s end and more end of the world.
Rye, a beautiful little town with steep streets cobbled in pebbles, that somehow manages to absorb its many visitors without losing any of its authentic, nautical charm.
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