Continuing our ‘Out and About’ series, with independent reviews of local attractions and amenities.
Standing atop the promontory overlooking the sea between Herne Bay and Birchington, the two towers of the ruined twelfth-century church at Reculver dominate the skyline.
The Roman occupation of Reculver from the first to the fifth century has left its mark on the landscape, still visible today in the remnant of the third-century Roman fort, seen in the remaining walls and earthworks. An Anglo-Saxon monastery was built on the site after the Romans left, which in the tenth century became the parish church of Reculver. Re-building of the church two centuries later included the construction of the tall towers which still remain.
The current site includes reasonably-priced parking (with an overflow site opening up during the busy summer season), toilets and visitor centre, and is part of Reculver Country Park. The towers are now a part of English Heritage, and on rare occasions are open to the public to ascend the narrow stairs and access the walkway for a truly magnificent view over the coast.
Otherwise, access to the ruins of the church and the outside of the towers is free. There’s also a pub next to the car-park, the ‘King Ethelbert Inn,’ which has occupied the site in various incarnations since 1830.
Reculver is also famous as the location of test-runs for prototypes of the ‘Bouncing Bomb’ used in the ‘Dambuster’ raids on the Ruhr in Germany in 1943; four prototypes were recovered from Reculver in 1997.