Kent and Sussex Shoreline Walk

Walk 14 – Littlestone-on-Sea to Dymchurch, Kent

It's a beautiful day in late May. The south is basking in a mini-heatwave, but at the water's edge there is a pleasant inshore breeze.

Ideal conditions as I start part 14 of my Kent and Sussex Shoreline Walks – Littlestone-on-Sea to Martello Tower 23, Dymchurch, Kent.

Tall tower

In the hazy sunshine, the Mulberry Harbour floats on the horizon like a mirage. Will it remain forever a constant reminder of the world's violent history I wonder?

Sliding off the shingle, I slop into muddy gloop. There are some dangerous pockets along this beach but mostly just annoying, ankle grabbers.

Enjoying the warm breeze a tall tower appears to my left. It's the 120ft Littlestone water tower, now a private residence. I would love to see the views from the top.

School trip

A long line in the gritty sand appears. On closer inspection it's a fixed fishing net. Totally indiscriminate in what it catches and not even emptied. Maybe it's just old and forgotten.

The sky is cloudless pale cyan as I near St Mary's Bay. My ageing memory returns images of a school trip over 40 years ago. I doubt if the dormitories still exist.

Little feet

A sea wall dropping to the beach with steps now accompanies me to Dymchurch. And they're back; the groynes.

Two long, two short. But not a problem as the sand drifts far past them out to sea. They're doing a good job though.

Approaching Dymchurch and the scene is apocalyptic compared to Littlestone. Playful screaming and shouting. Fast, little feet scampering and bedraggled parents litter my way.

Far out to sea, rainbow canopies skim black figures speedily over the glimmering ocean. I feel sightly envious of their obvious delight.

Full tilt

The sea wall takes on the air of a distant world palace; a set from Star Wars. I take photos and engage in pleasant banter with two guys fishing near my journeys end. No, they hadn't caught anything.

At Martello Tower No 23, I follow the concrete path atop the wall back to St Mary's and beyond. Dymchurch is buzzing with visitors and the funfair in full tilt. I don't linger. But, I am a childless, miserable old git.

It's a lovely walk back. A gorgeous day but watch the tide if returning along the beach. It waits for no man…

On this walk…