There is evidence that the area around Reculver has been used as a settlement site for almost 2000 years. During the Iron Age period a farmstead existed here and in AD 43 when the Romans invaded, they built a small earthen fort here. Sometime in the 3rd century, a more substantial stone fort was built to defend the Wantsum Channel against the Saxons. Reculver was still several kilometres from the sea and the Channel was an important routeway for ships around the Isle of Thanet. The fort fell into disrepair over the next 200 years and it wasn't until the 7th century that a monastery and church were built in the ruins of the fort. The monastery was destroyed by the Vikings but the church later became the Parish Church and in the 12th century, when the church was enlarged, the distinctive twin towers were added.
By the early 19th century, the church had been abandoned as coastal erosion had placed it right next to the sea. People partly demolished it and used the stone to build a new church further inland. The distinctive twin towers were preserved by Trinity House who wanted them to continue as a daytime navigation mark for shipping.
Today, the remains of the Roman fort, the Saxon church and the twin towers are a Scheduled Ancient Monument run by English Heritage. Close by are the modern additions which include three caravan parks (mainly with large static caravans), an amusement arcade, a shop, a public house and the Information Centre run by the Kent Wildlife Trust. There are a scattering of houses and farm buildings along the coast with most development concentrated from Bishopstone Glen westwards.
Reculver is a popular place for visitors and the small local population is boosted by some 100,000 people who visit during the course of a year. The Reculver Country Park which covers 40 hectares of land around Reculver manages the visitors, providing general information to the public and an education service with guided walks for school parties. The cliff-top area is used mainly by walkers and bird-watchers but people also come to picnic, fly kites, sit on the beach and, particularly outside the main holiday season, enjoy the peace and quiet of this beautiful location.
RECULVER LINKS - for those who want to find out more, some Internet links and useful addresses are given below:
Reculver Country Park
Saxon Shore Forts
Kent Wildlife Trust
Tyland Barn, Sandling,
ME14 3BD Tel.: (01622) 662012
Canterbury City Council Offices
CT1 1YW Tel.: (01227) 763763
Kent Area Office,
Orchard House, Endeavour Park,
London Road, Addington,
West Malling, Kent,
ME19 5SH Tel.: (0645) 333111
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