The Saxon Shore Way

A Walker’s Journal by Anthony Linick

The helmet motif decorates most of the waymarking clues on the Saxon Shore Way.

The helmet motif decorates most of the waymarking clues on the Saxon Shore Way.


The Saxon Shore Way, which we walked in fourteen stages, from 1997 to 2001, is, at 163 miles, a very substantial and rewarding enterprise for walkers. It will soon become obvious that, in spite of its name, the route does not cling to the Kent or the East Sussex shoreline – though it often approaches the coast, and the sea is never very far away.

I think most walkers will undertake this project as a series of day walks from London – the SSW doesn’t seem to have the eye of the travel industry yet and this means that you would be on your own for baggage transfer and accommodation booking if you did this as a continuous journey. (If you want to know how to get started on the accommodation booking process you could check out the relevant sections of my book, A Walker’s Alphabet: Adventures on the long-distance footpaths of Great Britain – published in 2010 and available from the publisher at or from or from or from

Fortunately, trains from London can be utilized to get started on most of the stages of the Saxon Shore Way; we did have to call on the assistance of local taxi firms on a few occasions to get us back to the line of the march. Bea Cowan’s contribution to the Recreational Path Guide series (published by Aurum Press) includes sections of the OS maps of interest to Saxon Shore Way walkers.

It will be noted that though we walked the stages of this route in order, that is from Gravesend to Hastings, there is one gap in the journal entries that follow. This is because we did not walk the section from Dover to Etchinghill – having done so already as part of our adventures on the North Downs Way. If you want a preview of the territory covered on this stretch you could check out the accounts contained in the NDW section of this website – though there is one proviso: we walked from Etchinghill to Dover and if you are doing the Saxon Shore Way in its usual format you will be walking this stage the other way round. ­I hope you enjoy this walk; you can always let me know how you got on by leaving word on the Contact Page.

Our stages:

Day 1: Gravesend to Cooling – 9 miles

Day 2: Cooling to Strood – 11 miles

Day 3: Strood to Rainham – 11 miles

Day 4: Rainham to Swale – 11 miles

Day 5: Swale to Teynham ­– 12.5 miles

Day 6: Teynham to Faversham  – 10.5 miles

Day 7: Faversham to Herne Bay – 15 miles

Day 8: Herne Bay to Plucks Gutter ­– 11 miles

Day 9: Plucks Gutter to Deal – 13.5 miles

Day 10: Deal to Dover – 12 miles

Day 11: Etchinghill to Ham Street – 15 miles

Day 12: Ham Street to Rye ­– 12 miles

Day 13: Rye to Winchelsea – 4 miles

Day 14: Winchelsea to Hastings – 9 miles