Walks in Time

The Sandwich Circular

Episode 2#

Part 1 – The Ramparts of Sandwich.

Every day l take a walk – you know it as The Brisker 25 on account of it taking roughly between 25 – 35 minutes. It is a good walk and one if l wanted to l can vary slightly. I tend to, if walking on what l call The Sandwich Circular start on a particular route and walk that one route, but if l am varying the route then l can pick and choose where l start and stop. In all The Sandwich Circular l walk mostly is roughly two miles in length, maybe slightly less or more but roughly that’s about right.

There is another walk called The Nature Trail[Town Trail] – this is a slightly longer walk of 5.3 miles and it can take around 3 hours to a stroller and 2 and a quarter hours to a walker. That is a fairly comprehensive walk that takes into consideration a lot of landmarks – however mine is smaller and more direct. I will cover this other walk another time.

The Brisker 25 takes me around the edges of Sandwich town and consists of Strand Street – The Butts – The Ropewalk – Mill Wall and The Bulwark and The Quay which leads back to Strand Street – a slight variation can allow me to walk occasionally on Upper Strand Street and through the centre of town back to my home instead of the usual route. That variation can knock 500 steps off my usual 3500 FitBit stepped walk.

Everywhere around the town are these Tourist Boards that display the history of Sandwich. I find them where l expect them and then l find many where l do not – it’s like an Easter Egg hunt for some of them – I am still to find the board for Mill Wall!

I find my particular walk very peaceful, it is steeped in its own history but more importantly as a smaller morning, afternoon or evening walk it is quite affordable with reference to time. It is a very popular walk with dog walkers, runners, shoppers and tourists alike – no cyclists are allowed on them which means you don’t have to keep your eyes alert or ears opened to the dingaling of a bell!

This particular walk of mine is a named historical walk because the sections all form part of the Sandwich Town history. ….

Each quarter or section of the circular walk formed up part of the Town’s main Defences in previous centuries. They were made into public promenades in the mid 19th Century [1850’s] at a time when public park’s popularity were at their highest and all four together – The Butts – The Rope Walk – Mill Wall and The Bulwark create and make for a lovely walk around the town itself. Each seperate walk has or did have at one point its own seperate recreation park ground attached. All four walks combined make up for The Ramparts of Sandwich.

On each of the quarters are ancient and aged and well matured trees such as willows, poplars and oaks further down and around.

The Ramparts, history informs us were first built in the 13th Century and are considered one of the healthiest archaelogical earthworks still standing in England today. For their time they were considered to be one of the wealthiest earthworks ever built. Long before the River Stour started to silt up and thus become ineffective for war and trade – Sandwich was considered during the 14th and 15th Centuries an extremely important and viable landing area for both national and international import and export.

The gallery below is a typical Brisker 25 route starting from the bottom of my street and joining Strand Street and walking all the way around the Ramparts to Strand Street again. I have two options of return to my street along Strand Street along the street itself or along the walled river moorings.

The walks themselves form part of the overall defensive structure of Sandwich Town known as The Ramparts and each earned their names respectively in connection to their own integral part of the town’s history.

The Butts had a strong connection to practising archers honing up their warring crafts and bow skills, whilst The Rope Walk was rumoured to be where all rope was made and laid in creation and The Mill Wall so aptly named after the Town Mill that once stood there. The Bulwark was the Town’s main defence wall and prevented attack from the seaward side of Sandwich.

The additional beauty to this walk around The Ramparts is that you are not nor ever restricted to purely staying on the circular walk itself – there are many side streets that lead off and take you into other parts of Sandwich and all have fascinating names too.

The algae covered waterways that you see in the photographs of The Butts, The Rope Walk and Mill Wall are actually the moated drains and it is open to fishing and of course wildlife and nature. But these drains are all around the Town.

There is also a cricket ground, children’s park and skate park off The Butts and across the moated drain, as well as a Bowling Green off Mill Wall and a children’s park off The Bulwark which form part of the original mid 19th Century recreation parks. Off The Rope Walk is a large car park and shopping centre.

Nature around the Moat Drains – in the mornings all the ducks gather under the Willow trees like it’s a Duck Convention or something.

The Ramparts themselves cover two thirds of the town’s defence circular and because of that they are classed as one of the most complete medieval earthenworks in Britain today.

Anyway – thanks for reading Part 1 of The Ramparts – hopefully it will give the reader a glimpse into Sandwich and over the course of the Town series you will come to learn like myself the history in which l now find myself living in.

See you next time!

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