One of my favourite ambles out of Whitstable takes you east along the sea front to Tankerton. Whitstable Cycle Hire will outfit you with a bike, or just head east on foot – it’s only a mile. Despite it being a short walk, I usually flop midway for a read and snack. If this appeals, provisions can be found on Harbour Street; Harbour Books for the perfect read, a hunk of local, manchego-like ‘Kelly’s goat’ from the Cheese Box and some Marcona almonds from Brown’s superb delicatessen.
On your way out of town you’ll see ‘The Street’, a strip of shingle that extends out an improbable distance into the estuary, and the rows of jewel-coloured beach huts. As you keep going, note the grassy slopes above the sea wall – they’re actually a valuable nature reserve, home to a rare moth species and its sole larval food, hog’s fennel.
I strongly recommend you make a stop at JoJo’s, one of several culinary slam dunks in the area. It’s hard to get a table for their sensational tapas unless you book two weeks in advance, but there’s always space in the café for coffee and cake. If you keep going east you can visit the honestly-really-not-a-nudist-beach of Long Rock (snigger) where you’ve got an indecent chance of finding fossils if the tide’s out, from shark’s teeth to rhino bones.
Image courtesy of stëve on Flickr