Walk: 0.4m (0.67km). Short.
Keeper: Pauline & Dixon Graterol
The ville of Birchington was once centred around the squares and spread
only as far as Dog Acre at the lower end of Station Road. Birchington
is now the largest village in Kent, with an ancient history. Begin at
the war memorial in Birchington Square. Go through the entrance to the
church at the lych gate in Kent Gardens. If you go on a Friday drop
into Church House, the modern hall next to the church, as there is a
W.I. market where you can get refreshments and pots of jam.
Just before the path turns towards the main entrance to the church,
past the hanging watering cans on your right, is the tomb of Dante Gabriel
Rossetti, who died in Birchington on 9 April 1882. The gravestone was
designed by his friend Ford Maddox Brown. If by chance the church door
is open you can go inside to see the magnificent stained glass memorial
Return to Station Road via the lych gate. Notice the different styles
of architecture over the shops, for instance, the first tea room to
your left has a Dutch Gable end. Birchington has no less than six tea
rooms, including a wine bar which sells coffee and tea, a tempting place
for those on a strict diet.
Continue to your left past the Powell Arms and the shops. On the right
you will see a Fourbouys newsagents. In their side window there is a
display of old photographs of Thanet and Birchington. These are changed
monthly by the Birchington Heritage Trust and much appreciated by residents
Keeping to the left of Station Road, you will soon reach a large paved
area in front of a parade of shops. This was given to Birchington to
celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee year and has young trees growing
and seats. This area is used as a rendezvous and clearly much enjoyed.
At the pedestrian crossing you will find a rare species, a haberdashery.
Soon you will be at the end of the shops, where you will see a grassy
area on your right with a path, trees and seats. This is Dog Acre and
has a long history dating back to 1662, when a man was awarded eight
shillings for whipping dogs out of church for a ‘whole year’.
(You can read up on local history in the nearby library). Outside the
library is a detailed map of the pathways in the area, as far as Minnis
Bay and the Marshes, for the energetic.
You will have noticed a large, pale yellow, wedge-shaped building at
the end of Dog Acre, on the left. This is Christie’s wine bar,
adjacent to Rossetti Garden, with its commemorative obelisk. On this
site the Seabreeze Cycle Works developed the first ladies’ bicycle.
The letterbox is fixed to one of the trees.