The next stop was Rye, for some groceries. Rye is a beautiful old town sat on the confluence of three rivers. It was originally almost completely surrounded by the sea. It is also one of the Cinque Ports, a confederation of ports along the southeast coast originally set up for defence and trade purposes. It has several very old buildings dating back over several hundred years. Two particular buildings, the Old Bell inn
and the Mermaid Inn have a lot of history, particularly with smuggling.
Michael had told me where the best place to park was. From there, a two minute walk put me in the centre of the town. I love Rye. I have visited so many times. Apparently, Mermaid Street is one of the most photographed streets in the country.
I had a short stroll around town and grabbed some groceries. Ideally, butcher and greengrocer are right next door to each other. I had a cup of tea and a sausage roll in a little café by the railway station, then headed back. I don’t like leaving Rowan cooped up in the truck for too long, even though she doesn’t mind. She’s very chilled with all that.
I had it in mind to try and park near Camber. Camber is known for the three miles of sand dunes. However, every car park has height barriers and all the verges are too narrow. Of course, it doesn’t help that a well known holiday camp is parked smack bang in the middle of the beautiful sandy beaches that nestle the western coast of the Walland Marsh. I kept going.
I then decided to head for Dungeness Point. I knew that there is a lot of open parking there. Dungeness is a very important nature reserve. It has an incredible diversity of wildlife, including a third of all plant species in Britain and many of the rarest invertebrates. Derek Jarmon lived in Prospect Cottage, which is also famous for the fact that it’s neighbour is Dungeness Nuclear Power Station, which is in fact, two stations! I plumped for parking by the lighthouse. The road there was very bumpy. I spotted the RSPB reserve. I thought about stopping, but then decided to continue on to the lighthouse. I turned off the main road to pick up the road to the lighthouse. I stopped in horror as a huge sign, the size of a house wall informed me that the entire land beyond is a private estate!
I turned round. Not wanting to go back on myself, I continued on. At Lydd on Sea I spotted a quiet little car park on the beach. I pulled in, sussed the place and parked up as discreetly as I could.