Circular in design with eight foot thick walls and originally armed with cannon, Martello Towers are a common sight along the Kent and Sussex coastline. Of the 103 constructed (all numbered) in the two counties, sadly only 45 are still standing, nine of which have been left more or less untouched by the ravages of time. Those privately owned are now designer homes, while some stand forlorn and forgotten in car parks, on seafronts or private land.
If you walk east along the beach from Hythe Ranges to Hythe, there is the sad sight of tower 19 being slowly reclaimed by the sea. It does demonstrate though the engineering behind these robust structures. Originally built to defend against the non-eventful Napoleonic invasion of the 19th century, may they stand defiant for centuries to come.
Dymchurch Martello Tower, owned by English Heritage, is open on certain days of the year.