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Visit Herne Bay

Reculver Country Park

Public Swimming Pool

Saturday Market




Midway between Herne Bay and Margate the ancient settlement of Reculver has a unique mixture of wildlife and history set close to a small beach with a traditional pub and holiday caravan sites.

A visit to Reculver provides an opportunity to:
  • Explore a Roman Fort and Saxon church.
  • Look for birds which stop off here on migrations between the Arctic and Africa.
  • Enjoy a day on the beach by the Towers.
  • Explore the surrounding countryside on way-marked walks.
  • Enjoy a drink at the King Ethelbert Inn.
  • A small Visitor Centre has displays on this fascinating history and wildlife. There really is something for everyone at Reculver.
Roman Fort
People have lived at Reculver for thousands of years. The Romans built a fort in the third century. It was the first of a series of forts built to protect the south east coast. Although half the fort has now been washed away by the sea the walls survive.

Reculver Church
An early Saxon church was built on the site of the abandoned Roman fort in 699 when Egbert, King of Kent, granted land for the foundation of a monastery The Saxon Minster later became St. Mary's Church of Reculver, the Towers were added in the 12th century.

The King Ethelbert Inn
The King Ethelbert Inn Is a traditional English Pub providing a warm welcome with fine food, beer and coffee. There is an outside seating area and children's playground.

Millennium Cross
The stone cross at the entrance to the car park was commissioned by Canterbury City Council with assistance from the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral to commemorate two thousand years of Christianity. The cross was carved from Portland Stone by the cathedral stone masons. The design is based on the original Reculver Cross, fragments of which survive in Canterbury Cathedral. There are other Millennium Crosses at Whitstable and Canterbury.

North Kent Maritime Heritage Trail
Reculver is one of a series of sites along the Kent coast from Chatham to Dover where visitor facilities are being improved with funding from the European Union. These sites will eventually form a linked trail.

The coastal cliffs between Reculver and Herne Bay are composed of soft sands and clays which were laid down in shallow seas 60 million years ago. The cliffs are up to 30 metres in height and clearly show the different geological layers

The coast at Reculver is eroding approximately 1 to 2 metres a year. When the Romans built the fort the sea was 2km away. The church was demolished in 1809 when parishioners were scared it was falling into the sea. The Towers, however, were bought and protected by Trinity House as a landmark for shipping. Today the struggle to protect the Towers from the sea continues and new sea defences were built in the 1990's.

A small bathing beach to the east of the Towers provides opportunity for swimming and relaxing on the sand.

Way-marked trails from the Visitor Centre provide an opportunity to explore the surrounding countryside, coast and marshland.

Each year thousands of birds visit Reculver stopping off on long migrations to and from the Arctic. In winter the site is good for Brent Geese and wading birds such as Turnstone. During the summer Sand Martins nest in the cliffs. The grassland on the cliff tops is one of the few remaining wallflower meadows and home to butterflies and Skylarks

Air Speed Record
Extract from the Herne Bay Press Saturday 10th November 1945

Jet-propelled Planes flash by at over 606 mph. Flying his Gloster jet-propelled Meteor aeroplane "Britannia" over the Herne Bay course on Wednesday, Group captain H. J. Wilson set up a world record air speed of 606.25 miles per hour, all the conditions of the world record being fulfilled.

Mr Eric Greenwood who later in the day made an attack on the record in his new bright amber coloured Gloster jet-propelled Meteor (unnamed, but which might justly be titled the Golden Gleam), also surpassed the 600 mph. speed, his checked average being 603 mph.

The course of 3 kilometres to be covered four times starting opposite the Miramar Hotel on the East Cliffs along to the Reculver Towers. Group captain H. J. Wilson's four runs were 604, 608, 602, & 611 mph. respectively.

The previous record had been made in Germany in 1939 at 469 m.p.h.

In the Macari Cafe on the corner of William Street and Central Parade (on the sea front) you can see the bronze plaques that were erected to mark the air speed course. One was on the cliffs behind the Miramar Hotel that marked the Western end, and one by the Reculver Towers that marked the Eastern end of the course. The plaques are now on the wall amongst photographs of old Herne Bay in the Macari's Cafe. They had to be removed from their original sites because of erosion of the cliffs by the North Sea

Bouncing Bomb; Dam Busters:
The 'Bouncing Bomb', the invention of Barnes Wallace and immortalized in the film 'The Dam Busters', was tested off the North Kent coast at Reculver. Several prototypes of the bomb were washed ashore in 1997 - fortunately these were recovered and found to contain no explosive material. A prototype is also displayed in the Herne Bay Museum & Gallery

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