Kent and Sussex Shoreline Walk

Wall 11 – Jury's Gap to Watch Tower Ch73, Sussex

Spanning Sussex and Kent, this bleak, unassuming stretch of shingle beach from Jury's Gap to Watch Tower Ch73, is often overlooked.

Its glamorous, film star neighbour, gets all the attention but then Camber Sands doesn't have a MoD firing range bordering it.

Since the latter part of the 1800s, Lydd Ranges as they are now called, has been home to the testing and development of military hardware. The explosive Lyddite, used in shells during the Great War, was proven here, taking its name from the range.

Red flags

Today, firing takes place some 300 days a year, so please check the times board at the Jury's Gap lookout post (Internet postings are unreliable at best). Red flags (red lights in bad weather) will also be visible, indicating firing is in progress.

Passing the lookout and keepers' cottages, textured sand races to the horizon, sporadically punctured by truncated wooden posts, rotted over centuries of drowning. I have yet to identify the purpose of these oddities.

Walking at an angle to the shoreline, the tide rushes in and quickly pushes me up onto the shingle. The beach is strewn with metal fragments, wooden frames and what, surprisingly, looks like tarmac. But I'm probably very wrong.

Cold War

After talking to anglers taking advantage of the ceasefire, I come across what can only be described as a fortified mobile home defended by barbed wire, cameras, boulders and slabs – a lookout post. It has a distrusting Cold War feel about it.

Shortly I approach walks end, Watch Tower Ch73. On firing days a friendly ranger on a quad bike will usher you to safety if you stray beyond the red flags. If you wish to fish, get here early. During the summer, 'rods' stand shoulder to shoulder feathering for mackerel.

As I wander back on this still, grey day, I keep my eye out for bobbing black heads, but no seals today. This beach is such a contrast to others along this coast. Quiet, eerie at times but also fascinating; a walk back in time.

On this walk…