20 May 2020

Traces of War - Part Two

Today's run was in an attempt to see the first three waypoints on the list. 

One at Littlestone I had glimpsed but had nowhere to park the bike. The second at Greatstone and the third in the churchyard in New Romney.

Once again using the Traces of War website for inspiration.

I bypassed the Redoubt at Dymchurch again. Nowhere safe to park as the gravel off-road parking was full of cars. A portent of things to come.  It's a hot day and there are beaches all along our coast line.....

First stop in Dymchurch itself at St Peter and St Paul Church. I parked outside and took a photo. The road after the church is "private". I made sure I didn't tresspass!


Before entering the churchyard to the right on the entrance.  In the end I walked around all the yard until I found a solitary CWGC grave obscured by bushes.


It looks as though it in maintained pretty well.

I took another of the war memorial outside the church in a little triangle of land bordering the main A259 coast road.


I mounted up and continued through heaving Dymchurch to my next stop to see the Phoenix Caisson at Littlestone.

When I say heaving, Dymchurch has a huge sandy beach. When the tide is out in the Bay the water can be half a mile from the land.  Plenty of space for the thousands of visitors who had filled all the car-parks and who were not socially distancing around the cafe and chip shops. As I waited for the green light at the pedestrian crossing I could smell chips and vinegar in the air.

At least Folkestone & Hythe District Council will be pocketing £1.60 an hour from all those cars.....  :)

At Littlestone I found a small gap big enough to back into and walked across the road and the grass to the low sea wall.  Finding a place where I could see the caisson clearly without overlooking some  sun worshipper using it as a lean-to was difficult.  

The caisson is about 150 yards off the land and beached. literally.  At full low tide the sand goes much further out.  I needed a better camera with me to get a decent photo though. Today there was a foot of so of water surrounding it.

Longer lens needed!

Next stop New Romney. Greatstone was a no-go.  The picture on Traces of War shows the monument and flag at the back of a car-park.  The car park was full to heaving and I could see where it was. I'll give this one up until later in the year when the tourists have effed off home.

It was hot and even in my Joe Rocket mesh jacket it was too hot.  Church Road New Romney is a long road and "no entry" from Station Road that leads from Littlestone passed the RHDR station to the A259.

I went along the high street and in at the far end. The church appears on the right. Parked I took a long walk around the very large burial ground.  Once again I came up empty. I couldn't find the CWGC graves(s).  It was hot and walking about I seemed to have attracted the (unwanted) attention of a local.  Watching me from the pavement bordering the site.

In the end I took a few pics and left.





Today was only just over 20 miles but with all the walking about churchyards I was out for well over an hour.

I'll check out the CWGC site and see if they have any idea where the burials sites I missed actually are!

TomTom recorded track


19 May 2020

Traces of War - Part One

Today's post-lockdown ride was out on the Traces of War route I had planned.  I wasn't going to do all of it as it was gone 4pm or so before I got going.  

I had amended the route to include the Redoubt. It's called the Dymchurch Redoubt., built in the middle years of the Napoleonic War when there was the idea that Nappy would invade us.  I didn't stop as it is only half a mile from my house.  Actually, the Redoubt is part of the Hythe Ranges and is about 100 yards in Hythe not neighbouring Dymchurch.

The second stop should have been the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery grave site in the churchyard in Dymchurch but TomTom forgot to tell me about the waypoint and the LS2 bluetooth was inaudible.

I continued through Dymchurch itself.  A small seaside resort with caravan parks and amusement arcades.  All closed as they haven't been allowed to open yet. Oddly, as a sunny day, the place was packed and social distancing looked rare. Expect another peak in Covid-19 infections and deaths soon....

My first stop was the Phoenix Caisson in Littlestone.  It is part of the Mulberry Harbour that was towed across the English Channel to supply the invading Allied armies after they has stormed the beaches on D-Day in 1944.  This bit broke free of its tow and ended up about 100 yards off the coats in Hythe Bay. The tide goes out way beyond it and I guess that's why it is still there 76 years later.

I couldn't stop as there was nowhere to park. I did see it over the sea wall and will go back.

I never found the US monument down the coast in Greatstone. TomTom was being reluctant to speak out loud and I couldn't see it. Another re-visit planned for that one.

In the end I went along the coast towards Dungeness and looped back to the A259 after Lydd.  I was lucky enough to get to the church at New Romney.

St Clement's (photo below) is a really attractive marsh church. It also has a CWGC grave site.

St Clement's Old Romney


I took a photo of the grave site and will send it to Traces of War in case they want to update hteir page.

I also stood in reflection for a minute to recognise this young man's sacrifice.  Only 19 years old.

From here I set TomTom for Home and missed off the other five or six Traces of War waypoints.

In all I was out about an hour.  I set record on so that I could see the track of my journey,  Not quite the loop I had planned but it was good to get back in the swing of things.

TomTom track of the ride. 34.1 miles
I may go out tomorrow to see if I can get the places I missed out and get some photos of them.



References:

https://historicengland.org.uk/whats-new/news/phoenix-caisson-in-kent-designated-part-of-the-mulberry-floating-harbour-used-in-the-d-day-landings/

Lockdown - Flickr Album

Bored in lockdown. Decided to add some photos to my Flickr album.


My R3R

18 May 2020

First ride since lockdown started

It started off as a lunchtime pull the bike out and Solvol the rusty bits! It was warm and sunny. By three after midday I was getting bored.  Pepé was out and shining from the polish.

There were no calls on the helpdesk and I need to have my lunch and visit the supermarket.  Togged up I left and decided to try the Sainsbury's at Folkestone.  Bigger store, more choice?  I had the list of what was needed in my pocket.

For the fashion conscious I was wearing the Joe Rocket mesh jacket, black Kevlar lined cargo trousers, my old boots and the black LS2 helmet. 

I took London Road out of Hythe, A20 and then M20 to the Hawkinge turn off, then down through Folkestone on Black Bull Road and out to Park Farm.  Sainsbury had a queue too long and so I headed back along the coast to Waitrose in Hythe. Parked up. No queue to speak off and straight in.

Once done I had a short ride home.  The first ride for 8 weeks or so.  Enjoyed thoroughly.


17 May 2020

Lockdown is relaxed

Actually it was relaxed last Wednesday. Amazingly the main A259 that passes about 100 yards behind my house had less motorcycle traffic along it than during lockdown.




It seems that some people were out when it wasn't allowed unless important or essential.




So I planned to go out over the weekend.  Didn't happen.  Around here the roads were as packed as a normal pre-Covid weekend.  Despite biking associations asking riders not to go out in groups or congregate in large number, there were loads of groups on the A259, some with five or even seven bikes one behind the other.  Now Joe Public thinks what a load of twats bikers are.




I am working from home today, it's hot and sunny so maybe I'll get out for a wash and brush up, use my Solvol on the chrome go for a short ride.




I have a route planned in my TomTom that has some places on it from the Traces of War  website. (https://www.tracesofwar.com/sights/7799/Dymchurch-Redoubt.htm)





Hopefully I'll get out later today.  More to follow.

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