Saxon Shore Way

Saxon Shore Way Saxon Shore Waymarker

The Saxon Shore Way is a long-distance walking path following the south east coast of England for 257 kilometres from Gravesend in Kent to Hastings in East Sussex. The path follows the line of the coast as it existed in Saxon times, and one of the interesting things about the walk is discovering how the coastline has changed over the centuries. Some of the changes are due to natural events such as rivers silting up (causing several formerly important port towns to find themselves stranded several kilometres inland) and some of the changes are due to more modern events such as the new land reclaimed from the English Channel near Dover as a means of disposing of the massive amounts of earth excavated during construction of the Channel Tunnel. These changes mean that the trail frequently leads the walker out of sight of the coast, across farms and through villages.

While most of the Saxon Shore Way is fairly well waymarked, there are places where the fingerposts and waymarker discs are damaged, missing or, in a couple of cases, appear to have been deliberately interfered with. Therefore, it's wise to carry the relevant Ordnance Survey Explorer or Langranger maps and/or a reliable GPS receiver.

Just before this walk, I started using a Garmin Dakota 20 GPS, which I have loaded with the OpenStreetMap data for the UK. To my surprise, I found that several of the off-road sections of the Saxon Shore Way were included in the OSM data, though so far I haven't found a full set of GPS waypoints for the trail online.

I completed the walk over several visits to England, hence the stages are a little out of order, and one stage is shared with the North Downs Way National Trail, which I completed in the summer of 2010.

 StageStart and FinishDateDistance
Gravesend to High Halstow 1 Gravesend to High Halstow 29 Dec 2010 17km
High Halstow to Rochester Castle 2 High Halstow to Rochester Castle 30 Dec 2010 15.1km
Rochester Castle to Gillingham Station 3 Rochester Castle to Gillingham Station 31 Dec 2010 5.3km
Gillingham Station to Lower Halstow 4 Gillingham Station to Lower Halstow 01 Jan 2011 17.5km
Lower Halstow to Sittingbourne 5 Lower Halstow to Sittingbourne 02 Jan 2011 21.3km
Sittingbourne to Faversham 6 Sittingbourne to Faversham 29 Jan 2011 26km
Faversham to Herne Bay 7 Faversham to Herne Bay 30 Jan 2011 23.5km
Herne Bay to Grove Ferry 8 Herne Bay to Sandwich 12 Feb 2011 31.3km
Sandwich to Deal 9 Sandwich to Deal 19 Aug 2010 10km
Deal to Dover 10 Deal to Dover 27 Feb 2010 15km
Dover to Etchinghill 11 Dover to Etchinghill 11 Aug 2010 21km
Etchinghill to Hamstreet Station 12 Etchinghill to Hamstreet Station 28 Feb 2011 24.5km
Hamstreet Station to Rye 13 Hamstreet Station to Rye 02 Mar 2011 22km
Rye to Hastings 14 Rye to Hastings 03 Mar 2011 19.6km