NORTH DOWNS WAY & COAST: Wye to Deal
Follow the North Downs Way from the village of Wye across an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to reach the coast at Dover. This flexible itinerary then offers the option of continuing on to the historic old ‘Cinque Port’ of Deal or making a personal pilgrimage to the cathedral city of Canterbury – site of Thomas Becket’s martyrdom in 1170. The route offers superb scenic tranquillity across a mixture of woodland, open grassland and hills; providing stunning views as you head towards the White Cliffs of Dover. From Folkestone, the walk skirts the Kent coast and cliffs, winding its way on to the seaside town of Deal on the 6-day itinerary – or – on the 7-day itinerary, heading inland from Dover to Canterbury, following in the footsteps of medieval Pilgrims. Moderate with hill walking
England’s Great Walking Trails in association with Walk Awhile
Available all year round
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This itinerary includes: accommodation in B&Bs, inns and hotels with breakfasts, daily luggage transfer, fully marked up maps and guidebooks with walk essentials hamper and tracker support. A Walk Awhile tracker will meet walkers on the arrival evening to talk through the walk and provide the walk essentials hamper, which will be transported with your luggage each day.
Support and advice is available by phone from your tracker throughout the duration of your walk. After breakfast each day, your luggage will be transported to your next accommodation stop. There is an optional debrief meeting at the end of your holiday.
Walk Awhile accommodates walkers at walker friendly inns, hotels and B&Bs. There are dozens of historic pubs along the route, for you to enjoy.
Flights arrive/leave from Gatwick, Stansted and Heathrow Airport, with good links to St. Pancras International rail station.
Dover Ferry Port in Kent connects to Calais by cross channel Ferry, from where train can be taken to Ashford/Wye.
Canterbury, Ashford & Dover on main train lines from St Pancras International. Ashford International Station is one stop from Wye
Eurostar from Lille, Paris and Brussels to St. Pancras, and Ashford. National Express Coach Services run regularly from London Victoria to Canterbury, Ashford and Dover.
Check into your accommodation, a country inn at the heart of Wye village. A Walk Awhile tracker will meet walkers at the Inn to talk you through the walk and provide you with maps and guidebooks.
Wye to Brabourne
Follow the North Downs Way up onto the chalk escarpment, the views opening out as walkers ascend to the Wye Nature Reserve, where orchids flower in season. Above the bowl-shaped valley at the Devil’s Kneading Trough, enjoy stunning views from the scarp across Romney Marsh to Dungeness and over the Channel. This is a lovely place for a picnic before ascending the chalk slopes to Brabourne village. There should be time to explore the hidden valleys of the Crundale Downs (+ 3 or +6 miles). 8.9 km/5.5 miles
Brabourne to Folkstone
Today’s walk explores the most rural aspects of the Kent downs. Catch glimpses of the sea as you cross miles of pastureland, before admiring the 360-degree panoramic views from Tolsford Hill. The rustic Gatekeeper Inn is a good place to take lunch before continuing over the chalk downland to Folkstone. This grassland is littered with rare flora, WW2 pillboxes and earthworks from a Norman Castle. 13.2 km / 8.2 miles
Folkstone to Dover
Head back onto the North Downs Way and Saxon Shore Way. Pass Caesar's Camp Iron-age fort and the Battle of Britain memorial and museum, where the visitor centre is part of ‘Chalk Up 21’– the first of nine buildings in an imaginative 21st century architectural series that you will pass. Follow the White Cliffs Country Trail along the top of cliffs, passing a Knights Templar church along with Napoleonic forts offering dramatic views of Dover castle and the White Cliffs of Dover. You may catch glimpses of France on the hazy horizon as you head into Dover, with plenty of options for food, drink. 16.9 km / 10.5 miles
Dover to Deal
Dover Castle is one of the best places to gain an understanding of a thousand years of England’s history. Take the morning to explore and don’t miss the fabulous WWII tunnels. Continue along the White Cliffs Country Trail, visiting the smuggling village of St Margaret’s Bay. The walk continues onwards to Walmer, with its picture-perfect Tudor Castle and gorgeous gardens. Your destination is the town of Deal, where you will spot the third spectacular castle of the day. Your Seafront accommodation in Deal is a nineteenth-century Inn. 15.9km / 9.9miles
Exploring Deal or the neighbouring ‘Cinque Port’ town of Sandwich.
ALTERNATIVE EXTENDED ITINERARY
Dover to Shepherdswell
On your two-day return to Canterbury, follow the pilgrimage route that has linked Europe with Canterbury since the Middle Ages. Climb out of Dover along the North Downs Way and White Cliffs Country Trail for stunning views back along the Coast behind you.. 14.5 km / 9 miles
Shepherdswell To Canterbury