Romney Marsh (Romney Marsh Visitors Centre) is an area between a line of gentle Kent hills and the English Channel, these hundred square miles of peaceful countryside is a paradise for walkers, cyclists and explorers of historic towns, quaint villages, ancient churches and wild life.
Nowadays, the Marsh is a perfect place to find peace and quiet, but in days gone by its remoteness made it an attractive location for smugglers of contraband legends of their exploits are brought to life at festivals and country fairs at Dymchurch, Lydd and New Romney.
On the western boundary of the several areas which make up the Romney Marsh is the National Nature Reserve at Dungeness and the last station on the light railway route from Hythe and the site of the lighthouse whose beams have long guided shipping around Europe’s longest shingle promontory
Hythe is one of the five original Cinque Ports on the Kent Coast overlooking the English Channel. From the sea front the town is on level ground with just a 5-minute stroll to the Royal Military canal and the main shopping area. The town spreads up the hill in a jumble of little streets containing many interesting buildings and specialist local shops.
Half way up the hill stands the dominating figure of the 11th century Parish Church, with its famous crypt and ossuary (vaults containing the bones of early settlers).
Dungeness is unique – no boundaries, a desolate landscape with wooden houses, power stations, lighthouses and expansive gravel pits. Yet it possesses a rich and diverse wildlife within the National Nature Reserve in one of the largest shingle landscapes in the world.
Dungeness has been designated as a National Nature Reserve (NNR), Special Protection Area (SPA) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). It is home to 600 species of plants which is a third plants found in the UK. The National Nature Reserve stretches across Dungeness to encompass the vast RSPB reserve and is intended to help protect the landscape and its wildlife.
Travelling westward across Romney Marsh, the distinctive outline of Rye can be seen in the distance. It rises above the level green pastures, stretching from the sea to the far hills which formed the shoreline before the marsh was drained.
Once surrounded by sea, this fortified hilltop town played an important role in the defence of the south coast of England.
St Mary’s church tower (usually open to the public) offers the best viewpoint to show the terracotta roofs of the many timbered houses. These ancient buildings, cobbled streets and secret passages, once the haunt of smugglers and highwaymen, regularly attract film crews in search of historical settings for period productions.
Canterbury, a cathedral city in southeast England, was a pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages. Ancient walls, originally built by the Romans, encircle its medieval centre with cobbled streets and timber-framed houses. Canterbury Cathedral, founded 597 A.D., is the headquarters of the Church of England and Anglican Communion, incorporating Gothic and Romanesque elements in its stone carvings and stained-glass windows.