This area is long associated with the Russell Thorndike’s famous ‘Doctor Syn’ novels – tales of a swashbuckling smuggler known for wearing a scarecrow disguise.
Fit, experienced cyclists could cover the entire route in a day, but with good rail links along the coast, it is easy to tackle in stages.
For a rewarding and relatively gentle day out, the 9 mile section from Dover to Deal, which runs along a stunningly scenic coastal cliff path, is perfect.
To avoid the climb and Dover’s traffic, take the train to Martin Mill and cut 2 miles across land. Join National Route 1 at St Margaret’s-at-Cliffe and then enjoy the tremendous run down to Deal, past its impressive Tudor castle on the seafront
Alternatively, from Dover head 7 miles towards Folkestone on the Chalk and Channel Way for rugged views from the famous White Cliffs. But be prepared for steep climbs as the route drops back to sea level (and some on-road cycling) at both Dover and Folkestone.
From Folkestone to Rye (32 miles) the journey becomes flatter. Leaving the centre of Folkestone and the beautiful Lower Leas Coastal Park, you can follow the seawall which is almost totally traffic-free for 6 miles.
The path leads you to the Royal Military Canal at Hythe. From Hythe, National Route 2 moves a few miles inland taking lanes through the picturesque villages of Romney Marsh including Burmarsh and Old Romney.
This is perfect if you fancy a leisurely weekend bike ride and the great news is that you don’t need to bring a bike with you thanks to a great click2cycle bike hire scheme which allows you to hire a bike from a choice of locations along this stretch including Hythe Station at the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway,
After passing the historic town of Lydd, it’s back onto a traffic-free cycle path. Following most of the way into Rye and rejoining the road only at Camber with its stunning wide sandy beach and dunes.