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Bradshaw’s Guide

Ashford to Canterbury, Ramsgate, &c.

Ashford and Canterbury Branch

At Ashford, the line branches off to Canterbury, Whitstable, Sandwich, Deal, Ramsgate, and Margate, and, from the accommodation it affords to the towns through which it passes, and the exquisite beauty of the scenery along its route, will not suffer in comparison with any line of similar length in the kingdom. It follows throughout the meanderings of the river Stour, and traversing the most fertile district in the country, has one uninterrupted panorama of luxuriant fertility during its whole length.

On leaving Ashford, the little villages of Brook and Wye are passed in succession to the right, imbedded in a valley sheltered by rising hills, and thickly studded with lofty and umbrageous patches of woodland.

Wye

The town of Wye is close to the river Stour, and consists of two main streets.

Emerging from a tolerably deep cutting, we next trace to the left a most charming and picturesque village, and shortly reach

Chilham

Chilham Home or Manor is a noble building, situated in beautiful grounds, which command extensive views over the entire Vale of Ashford and the Stour.

Thence the windings of the Stour, spanned ever and anon by some rustic bridge of wood or stone, enhances the romantic beauty of the landscape, and we seem to be for many miles treading the sylvan labyrinth of a miniature Rhine-land.

Shortly afterwards, the towers of Canterbury Cathedral rise into sight, followed by the lofty buildings of the city itself, and whilst watching the course of the railway to Whitstable, which branches off to the north, the accustomed warning sound of the whistle rings in our ears, and we glide beneath the commodious structure of the station at

Canterbury

The appearance of Canterbury, from whatever part approached, is exquisitely beautiful, and as we enter, symbols of its antiquity stare us in the face everywhere.

Canterbury and Whitstable Branch

Canterbury to Whitstable

Whitstable

The town, though rather mean in appearance, and irregularly built, has a bustling and thriving appearance, from its fishing and coal trade.

Canterbury to Deal, Ramsgate and Margate

Quitting the Canterbury station, the line proceeds through a similar fertile tract that which accompanied its progress thither. Cattle gluing knee-deep in luxuriant pastures, farm-houses, cottages, and orchards on one side, and sunny fields, rich in corn and clover, sloping down on the other; these are the chief characteristics of the route for the next eleven miles.

From Sturry the main line proceeds in an east-north-east direction, through a highly cultivated country, and enters the Isle of Thanet, near Grove Ferry, where the railway crosses the Wausum, and, proceeding five miles further, reaches the Minster Junction Station, whence a branch line diverges to the ancient towns of Sandwich, and Deal, and the other, the main line, proceeds to Ramsgate and Margate.

Minster Junction

Many of our readers may not be aware that this spot, and the whole neighbourhood, is the classic ground of England, and replete with historical associations of surpassing interest.

Deal Branch

After leaving Minster, the line crosses the Stour by a double swing bridge built on a new and ingenious principle. Each line has its bridge; one turns to the right on a pivot on the side of the Minister branch, and the other to the left, from a pivot on the side of Ash, which is the next parish. By this arrangement greater stability is obtained, with a nicer power of adjustment. This bridge is considered a curiosity by engineers, and it will well repay examination. It far surpasses the celebrated bridge at Norwich.

The line then proceeds over Sandwich flats past the hamlet of Saltpans. At this spot the memorable ruins of Richborough come fully into sight; and shortly after the train sweeps round the sandy hill on which they stand. This was a celebrated Roman station, which guarded the southern entrance of the great Roman haven, the area of which is now in the hands of agriculturists, and Corn now waves where Caesars once bore sway. The remains of a Roman amphitheatre are still very apparent. In the centre of the great quadrangle is the celebrated prostrate cross, built to commemorate the introduction of Christianity into England. It is placed on the top of an immense heathen altar, and marks the spot on which Augustin preached the gospel No monument in the kingdom equals this simple cross in interest, yet few have been treated with greater neglect. We commend it to the care of the clergy of Canterbury, the successors of Augustin and his eighty monks.

A short distance further, or four miles and a half from Minster, is the station of

Sandwich

Sandwich was the theatre of more stirring and important historical events than perhaps any town or port of our island.

Seven miles beyond Sandwich, the train reaches the terminus at

Deal

This town stands close to the sea shore, which is a bold and open beach, being defended from the violence of the waves by an extensive wall of stones and pebbles which the sea has thrown up.

From Minster to Ramsgate the line is on a tolerably steep incline.

Kent and the Kentish coast have long been celebrated for their delicious climate and exquisite pastoral scenery, and the railway passes through a fine panorama of marine and picturesque views, until it reaches

Ramsgate

Nowhere is the accommodation for bathers more perfect than at Ramsgate, whether the green bosom of the Channel be selected for a plunge, or a private bath chosen instead.

Four miles distant from Ramsgate, the traveller readies the terminus at

Margate

There is not, in the whole range of our sea-side physiology, a more lively, bustling place than this said Margate.

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