GARDEN OF ENGLAND DESCRIPTION
Dover marks the start of the 180 mile Garden of England Route, with ancient fortifications overlooking the town from the famous white cliffs. From Dover Castle, there are views of the harbour and beyond to France.
The route follows the coast to the medieval Cinque Port of Sandwich, Ramsgate and the Viking longboat near Ebbsfleet, ancient point of entry to England for the Vikings, Saxons and St Augustine. At Fordwich, Britain's smallest town, a traffic-free path continues into the cathedral city of Canterbury.
The mainly traffic-free 'Crab and Winkle Way' leads to Whitstable, famous for its oysters; further on lies Faversham, and the malty aroma from the Shepherd Neame Brewery. The route reaches the Thames Medway Canal, passes Tilbury Ferry leading to routes north of the river and on through Swanscombe and Greenhithe. At Dartford, the route follows the river into London, past the Thames Barrier, the worlds largest moveable flood barrier, and enters Greenwich on traffic-free routes alongside the Thames, ending under the bow of the Cutty Sark.
There is the opportunity to venture west of Dover and link up with the Downs and Weald Route, offering the possibility of combining the Downs and Weald with the Garden of England to complete a round trip from London for a 239 mile journey.
West of Dover, the route climbs to the entrance of Samphire Hoe Country Park; a new piece of England created from the excavated spoil of the Channel Tunnel - the first attempt to dig a tunnel was back 1880 but only got 2000 yards, but they've finally made it. The cliff top path then descends to Folkestone Harbour and Hythe, where it follows the Royal Military Canal, built as a supply route and line of defence in Napoleonic Wars, before crossing Romney Marsh into Sussex. The route passes two other ports; Rye, with its history of smuggling, and Winchelsea. The descent into Hastings is on minor roads with views over the old town and the English Channel
Information courtesy of Sustrans