Outdoor and active things to do in East Kent
Roam along the deserted coastline, get off the beaten track and let your imagination loose amongst the rolling green hills of the North Downs - First Light Coast & Country is paradise for walkers, cyclists, windsurfers and anyone keen on getting out and about.
Use the interactive website to find walking, riding and cycling routes in the area. Ideas for great days out, information on parks, nature reserves and open spaces, and downloadable circular routes – as well as easy access walks – can all be found here. Recommendations for the best guide books are also provided. Further information can be obtained on 08458 247 600 or at the website: www.kent.gov.uk/explorekent
Discover peace and tranquility in the surrounding beauty of the Kent Downs. There are plenty of excellent promoted routes and footpaths, offering inspiring views of the Heritage Coast, the Channel and the coast of northern France. The wonderful landscape is just as good for short walks and gentle strolls as it is for long-distance walking and there are routes` catering for walkers of all abilities. Here are just a few…
The Saxon Shoreway
A long distance route starting at Gravesend and finishing at Hastings. The local section passes from Deal, through St. Margaret’s and on to Dover. A circular route off the trail, taking in the village and surrounding countryside, is available through Explore Kent.
Walks in East Kent
The ‘Walks in East Kent’ pack includes a bracing walk along the high chalk cliffs from the South Foreland Lighthouse to the ‘Gateway to the White Cliffs’ visitor centre at Langdon Hole.
The National Trust Coastal Walk
This walk takes in the Pines Garden, South Foreland Lighthouse, St. Margaret of Antioch Church and part of the Second World War coastal defences. Go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ for details.
White Cliffs Countryside Project
The Project has published a number of interesting circular walks in and around St. Margaret’s, taking in Dover, the Langdon Cliffs and further along the coast, Kingsdown.
For more information call 01304 241806 or visit the website www.whiteliffscountryside.org.uk/
The Frontline Britain Trail
An easy circular walk from St. Margaret’s taking in the wildlife, history and landscape of the Heritage Coast. Details are available through the White Cliffs Countryside Project on 01304 241806
or at www.whiteliffscountryside.org.uk
Use First Light Coast & Country as a base from which to explore the surrounding coast and countryside on your bike. There are a number of local trails ideal for mountain biking, which take in cliff-top scenery and wooded valleys away from the noise and pollution of traffic, perfect for everyone from beginners and children to expert speed-hounds.
The nearest bike hire outlet
Deal Prams & Cycles
30 Mill Hill
Kent CT14 9EW
Tel: 01304 366080
Excellent delivery & collection service to and from local railway stations. All sizes and type of bikes for hire, including tandems
Promoted cycle routes in the St Margarets area
National Cycle Route 1
This route runs along the coast between Dover, St. Margaret’s and Sandwich where it is known as the Cliffs and Castle route. The full route carries on to Canterbury and Dartford.
Further information can be obtained from: Sustrans at www.sustrans.org.uk
and Explore Kent’s interactive map at www.kent.gov.uk/explorekent
In summer, simply laze on the beach in the secluded cove whilst the kids play in the waves. Take a swim across the bay and like many before you dream of swimming across to the coast of France one day; a feat only acheived by the hardiest souls, many of which departed from the pebbled cove at St. Margaret’s Bay.
Indoor swimming is available at Tides in Deal or Dover Sports Centre in Dover
Load up your kit and get out amongst it at St. Margaret’s Bay. In close, the wave-cut platform off Ness Point at St. Margaret’s Bay kicks up very respectable surf in the right conditions (look out for a big swell and a North-Westerly). It’s been a secret spot for local surfers, kayakers and canoeists for some time.
For those who like ‘big air’ St. Margaret’s Bay offers a challenging spot from which to launch. With a big South-Westerly, this beach is hard to beat along the whole of the South Coast. Windsurfers regard this beach as a challenging spot, but with the back drop of the White Cliffs it makes for an unforgettable venue.
Walmer sailing club
Dover water sports center
The area is criss-crossed by mile upon mile of bridleways, green lanes and tracks perfect for a hack through the country. There are a number of local stables and riding schools in the area. Where you can partake in anything from an hour’s riding lesson to secure overnight accommodation for a number of horses for a week or more.
The Owl House Stables
St. Margarets at Cliffe
Kent CT15 6HN
Tel: 01304 852035
Braeside Equestrian Centre
Nelson Park Road
St. Margarets at Cliffe
Kent CT15 6HL
Tel: 01304 852959
Located close to the coast, the routes offer excellent views of both the undulating chalk downland and the impressive coastline. There are many chalkland flowers to be seen along the bridleways, while a variety of butterflies are found in the open grassland areas. Limited parking is available.
Follow the tracks along the rolling cliffs for breath-taking views across the Channel. Take the path along the cliff edge (not too close!) for a tougher run with hill climbs and steep descents or follow the path to the lighthouse for a gentler jog. If hill training is your thing, follow the footsteps of mountaineers and hit Bay Hill and 80 meter vertical climb from the beach either up the road or the 212 Bay steps.
Country Pursuits & Clay Pigeon Shooting
Clay pigeon shooting is a thrilling experience, demanding calm concentration, a keen eye and quick reactions. Perfect your aim and time your shots and soon you will be notching up your ‘kills’. Of course these are not real birds and no one gets hurt, making it a great sport for all – young and old, men and women alike.
Kelly Country Sports operates in the impressive grounds of Wallett’s Court Country House Hotel.
Peter, your charming instructor will even pick you up and chauffeur you to the shooting grounds.
www.kellycountrysports.com Or speak to Peter on 07714560853 for bookings or for more information.
Keep in shape during your stay with a visit to The Oxide Fitness Studio at Wallett’s Court Country House Hotel or at St. Margaret’s Holiday Park. Both are kitted out with state of the art cardiovascular fitness equipment including upright & recumbent cycles, cross-trainers, rowers, treadmills, multi-gyms & free-weights.
There are several excellent golf courses to choose form in the First Light area:
Royal Cinque Ports
Kent, CT14 6RF
Tel: 01304 374007
Formed in 1892 and with a rich history of hosting major competitions, the open Championship standard course is ranked in the top 45 golf courses within the British Isles.
Walmer & Kingsdown Golf Club
The Leas, Kingsdown
Kent, CT14 8EP
Tel: 01304 373256
A downland golf course set on the famous White Cliffs, situated between Deal and Dover in Kent. The course offers spectacular views of the English Channel and a challenge to all levels of golfer.