Just at the moment, tranquillity is something people need more than ever. But can it still be found in South-East England? I decided to look back at places I’ve been to in recent years that still possess remoteness, peace and quiet in this busy, built-up corner of the world.
My starting point was a tranquility map that has been produced by the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England. They have looked at factors like noise levels, visual intrusion, naturalness, and remoteness from roads and settlements. The end result charts tranquility across England – the deeper the green, the deeper the calm!
I looked more closely at those green patches we have in Kent and thought about some of the peaceful spots I’ve discovered. This is the first of six posts about these secluded corners.
A lost settlement on Romney Marsh
Perhaps unsurprisingly Romney Marsh is the largest green area in Kent on the tranquillity map, and there are plenty of out-of-the-way places to choose from on this unique peninsula.
Many are drawn to the other-worldly landscapes of Dungeness, but I find the visual intrusion of the power station too great; what’s more, word has got out about this remarkable place and it now gets many visitors.
Walland Marsh is the part of Romney that is most remote from roads and settlements, but it too is impacted by power generation – in this case a wind farm. Of course I’m all for renewable energy, but the turbines are just too prominent for me to feel that removal from civilisation.
My choice for a quiet corner of the Marsh is Eastbridge. Now, even people who live on the Marsh on reading this may be saying, ‘I’ve never heard of Eastbridge’! That’s because it’s a lost settlement. It once stood between Newchurch and Burmarsh but was abandoned in the Middle Ages. All that remains today is a ruined church.
The surrounding countryside is a patchwork of pasture and arable, home to hares, marsh harriers and scattered farmsteads. The power station and wind farm are distant on the horizon, instead the beautiful Lympne escarpment is the backdrop. The only thing that might disturb the quiet is the mystical call of lapwings or the distant whistle of a steam train on the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway.
Please check current restrictions before travelling to any locations mentioned.