Parking: Middle Street car park in Deal (cost about £4) or parking area at Walmer, along Kinsdown Road (free I think, but worth checking).
Refreshments: Public houses and restaurants are plentiful in Deal and Walmer. Three Horeshoes public house in Mongeham.
Leave the car park by any of the alleys to the west, to Deal High Street. Turn right along the street, first on a precinct area, then on a road with traffic. After passing Stanhope Road on the left, turn left into St George's churchyard. Keep to the left, crossing West Street at the end, then follow Century Walk, a footpath. Turn right at the end into St Patrick's Road, then left into St David's Road. At the and of the road, turn left into Albert Road, cross the railway at a level crossing, then continue to Middle Deal Road, turning left into it. After 200 metres or so, bear right into Southwall Road. Bear right again further on, continuing on Southwall Road, following it as it bends right, then left. Walk to the left of some transformers, then a waste recycling site.
Where the road turns right, continue along a bridleway in the same direction into a more rural area. Keep to the right of two fields on a gravel track, turning left at the corner of the second, into Marsh Lane, an enclosed footpath (1). It can be muddy in places here, if there has been a lot of rain. Follow the footpath for 1km, bearing left onto a road at its end. Turn left at a tee-junction, to follow The Street. Follow the road right, at a corner with a bus stop, then keep along it into Sholden, passing the much understated Sportsman public house.
Cross the busy A258 – at the time of writing, there was a pelican crossing being prepared here. The other side of the road, continue along a footpath – just after the houses on the left, the footpath crosses a field diagonally. The footpath comes to an alley between houses, emerging onto Mongeham Road. Turn right onto the road and follow it for about 300 metres. Turn left at the Three Horseshoes public house (2), walking along the right side of its car park to a kissing gate at the corner. Follow the path just to the right of fences initially, soon bearing right to leave the perimeter of the field, towards another kissing gate.
Turn half-right to follow a path across a field in an almost due southerly direction, coming to a road. Cross the road, then follow a footpath along the right edge of the next field. Keep along the path as it goes through a gap in the border, to walk along the left edge of the adjacent field, going through a gap into the next field. Turn left after a house on the left, at a way-marker, then turn right soon-after to walk along a road into the little village of Ripple. Pass Ripple House on the left, turning left into the churchyard shortly after (3). Keep to the left of the church, bearing right towards a kissing gate at the far side.
Keep a boundary to the left at first which soon ends. Head towards another kissing gate, turning a few degrees left after it, to walk towards the corner of a wooded area – this is pretty well the only uphill gradient in this walk! Turn a few degrees right to follow the edge of the plantation, first to the left, then right. Where the boundary ends, keep on the same south-east course across a more open stretch. The path leads to the right of some trees near its end – turn left onto another path, which joins from the left. Pass a white house to the right with a rather prominent external chimney breast, just before going through a gap in the corner of the field.
Cross a road, going through a gate leading across a railway line. Go through a gate the other side, turning left immediately after, to walk through a belt of trees, following a path ahead. Walk diagonally across a field, doing a right-left to walk along the left edge of the field, with houses to the left at first. Follow the path to Station Road, turning right onto it. Walk into Walmer, coming to a crossroad junction. Go straight ahead into Grams Road – it may be easiest to use the Pelican crossing along the road slightly.
Continue along Grams Road, turning left into St Clare Road after some 200 metres (4), passing the magnificent church of St Mary further along. Turn left into Liverpool Road, soon looking out for a kissing gate on the other side of the road. Go through it, then walk along the right edge of a meadow, coming to another gate. Cross a road to follow a footpath on the other side, to a car park. This is the other starting point mentioned earlier – just follow the directions from here, if starting from this car park.
Make for a gap in middle of the far side of the parking area , then turn left onto a coastal footpath (5). This will take you back to Deal. There are a few things of note on the way to Deal – the first is Walmer Castle, just by the car park here. This is one of three in the locality, built in Tudor times. There is also Deal Castle (which you will pass later), and Sandown Castle, a bit further north from Deal. Not a lot remains of the latter though.
The Deal Memorial Bandstand is also passed along the return route. This is in memory of 11 musicians killed by an IRA bomb in 1989, at the Royal Marines School of Music, nearby. To find out more, go to http://www.dealbandstand.org.
Another thing to look for is the Deal Timeball. When it was being used for its intended purpose, the timeball used to fall from its elevated position at 13:00 each day, so any shipping in the area could synchronise their timepieces. It was electrically controlled from the Greenwich Observatory, where there is an identical system. More information can be found at http://www.dealtimeball.co.uk.
Anyway, continue to the pier, use the nearby Pelican crossing, then walk along any of the alleyways opposite, to come back to the car park.
Click here to get an OS map with the route highlighted.
Click here to get a GPX file to load into your GPS gadget. (Right click, then Save As).