Exploring the Historic Reculver Towers of Herne Bay

We love nothing more than a stroll around Reculver and Herne Bay. It’s a great place for exploring and taking a walk along the spectacular seafront. The thing I like about Reculver is that it’s got everything. It’s got a walk up the hilly Country Park on the Left, which leads you into Herne Bay. On the right, the towers and past that, the shingle covered shore with a long, flat walkway leading you into Margate. On the other side of the walkway you can see the marshes, which are a perfect place to bird watch. 

IMG_2925 Exploring the Historic Reculver Towers of Herne Bay

Reculver is a coastal village in the south east of Kent. It’s located just east of Herne Bay and is the home to the Medieval Reculver Towers and Roman Fort.

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There is a large car park , a small cafe selling ice creams in the summer and a large outdoor play area with picnic benches. There is also a lovely pub there called the King Ethelbert. They have seating outdoors for the summer and lovely hot mulled wine for the winter months. 

IMG_6513 Exploring the Historic Reculver Towers of Herne Bay

On the left hand side of the Towers you will find Reculver Country park. It covers 26 hectares and has a large array of plants and wildlife including habitats for insects and birds along the eroding cliffs. It has been classified as internationally important by Natural England as a Special Protection Area and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. 

IMG_6131 Exploring the Historic Reculver Towers of Herne Bay

The Towers are part of the English Heritage and can be seen right across the coastline from Herne Bay to Birchington. They are listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

IMG_2918 Exploring the Historic Reculver Towers of Herne Bay

Reculver is the site of one of the earliest Roman forts, built to protect against Saxon raids along the Saxon Shore, after the Romans invaded. The Romans conquered Britain in AD 43. After they landed and settled, they prepared for invasion from the Saxons. The best place they found to protect them was at Reculver, which looked out onto the Wantsum Channel. This is a strait that separates the Isle of Thanet from Kent and connects the English Channel and the Thames Estuary.

During the 1st and 2nd Centuries they think a Roman Settlement was built at Reculver which probably was based around a harbour. The fort itself was built around the 3rd Century, which was apparently surrounded by two ditches. The walls of the fort and two of the four gates are still standing now. 

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By the 5th Century the Romans stopped defending Britain and the fort at Reculver became abandoned. An Anglo- Saxon Monastery was built on the site in 669, reusing what was left of the fort’s defences. The church of St Mary, they think, was used as a monastery up until the 10th Century and then it became the Reculver parish church. The church was re-modelled in the 12th Century and this is when the twin towers were built. This church was partially demolished in 1805 and some of the stone was used to build another church in Hillborough, but the twin towers were left standing. 

IMG_6109 Exploring the Historic Reculver Towers of Herne Bay

During the Second World War Reculver shoreline was used as a testing site for Barnes Wallis’s bouncing bombs. Bits of these bouncing bombs have been found at Reculver. Barnes Wallis invented a bouncing bomb that could be used to target strategic dams in 1942. His bombs were successfully used during the Dambusters raids in 1943. 

IMG_6144 Exploring the Historic Reculver Towers of Herne Bay

Reculver is great for cycling as it’s got a long, straight, flat walkway and perfect for family days out and picnics by the sea. It’s so tranquil there and abundant with wildlife. The kids and adults alike, will love climbing over the huge rocks that cover the coastline, and exploring the ruins of the fort. It’s great for fossil hunting too along the beach. Sharks teeth and fossil shells can be found in the area apparently. 

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It’s also a great area for bird spotting. You can even spot rare birds such as the Glossy Ibis, the Red Backed Shrike and the Western Cattle Egret. You can also see Masked Shrike, Common Cuckoo, Yellow Wagtail, European Stonechat, Sedge Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat and the Common Tern amongst many others.

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My advice is to take your camera, as there are some stunning pictures to be had and sturdy shoes for climbing, if you are going exploring on the beach. It is very wide open here and can be very bracing in the winter months so wrap up warm. Take some change for the car park and the local pub, The King Ethelbert, serves great lunches if you are hungry after your walk. It’s a great day out and plenty of space to walk for miles or sit and watch the world go by, looking out onto stunning sea views. It’s so peaceful and tranquil here. Definitely one of Kent’s gems and well worth a visit. 

Written by Sally Laker

Sally Laker grew up on the Isle of Wight and studied music at Chichester University. She worked as a store manager and medical administration assistant before going full-time with her cake-making business, Sally4Cakes. In 2014, she was named Home-Based Businesswoman Of The Year at the Kent Women In Business awards and in 2017 won Home Based Business of the Year at the Independent Business Awards Kent .
In 2016 she made the wedding cake for Gregg Wallace's marriage to Anna, which was featured in Hello Magazine, along with all the major UK newspapers and even on the TV !!
In 2019 Sally retired from her cake business and now works for a local business, Interpreting Matters, who help to provide sign language interpreters for deaf adults. She still bakes for family and friends in her spare time and is enjoying having time to explore the beautiful Kent countryside for the Baldhiker

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