Location: St. Augustines Cross, Ebbsfleet
Walk: 4m (6.25km). Long. No footway. Part cycle route.
Keeper: Jaqueline White
From the box located on the pines (023) head onwards through Acol, where
Baroness d’Ortzy wrote The Nest of the Sparrowhawk, up the other
side and past Cleve Court, situated on a sharp bend and reputedly haunted.
Go over the roundabout – if you turn left here you will come across
the Spitfire Museum and café. Turn left at the Minster roundabout
by Manston airport. As well as passenger services, Manston is used by
the armed forces during times of conflict and by relief agencies such
as Oxfam for flights of emergency aid.
Further along this road you will encounter a traffic island; turn right
here through cauliflower country. At the end of the road you will come
to a crossroads, where you should turn left into Cottington Road. Mind
the sharp bend a little further on (where there used to be cherry orchards)
and pass under the railway bridge. Immediately after the bridge, to
your right, you will see the golf club – part of the modern day
phenomenon of a great many people dragging trolleys of clubs, whilst
wearing clothes in bad taste, in the pursuit of pushing a small ball
into a hole – and, opposite this, a house that was part of the
‘celebrated Atkins lavender fields’. I have never seen this
sight and I’m not sure when the lavender disappeared. Here you
will find the letterbox, attached to the low wooden fence that partly
encloses St. Augustines cross. In 2000 A.D. many pilgrims travelled
here to celebrate the Christian faith.
There is a rumour that a member of the golf club passed on, which tells
that the Saint’s memorial was erected by the owner of a café
who wanted something to ‘pull in the punters’. I like this
place as it is so unassuming, surrounded by the pastimes and travellers
of today’s world and, in the summer, you can often see people
enjoying their packed lunches. The site of St. Augustines landing also
brings into focus Thanet’s former status as an island.
From here travel onwards to Cliffsend. Just as you enter, before you
reach the church and village hall, there is a turning to your right,
Foads Lane. At the end of the lane you can see the sea. Look to your
right and see the towers of Richborough decommissioned power station,
a huge decaying pile of modernity. Behind the grey stacks turn the white
sails of a modern wind turbine.
Turn Ramsgate. On your right is a place to park, pause and picnic with
views across the sea and a fenced area that housed a replica viking
ship, recently sent for restoration.