Activities – Be Active in Deal & Walmer
If angling is your interest, and it is the most popular participation sport in the country, Deal is the place to come. The depth of the water makes fishing from the beach a practical option and is free. The pier provides an opportunity to reach deeper water for a small fee or boats can be chartered for fishing offshore. Fishing becomes a spectator sport as promenaders take an interest in what is being caught on the pier or stop to watch the spectacle of boats being launched from the beach (if they’re up early enough) or winched ashore at the end of the day. Dover Sole, Pouting, Skate, Bass, Whiting, Dab and Cod are among the most common catches. Deal Angling Club (1919) organises competitions for juniors and adults that attract competitors from afar including the British Open Shore Championships with a prize fund of £6,000. There are a number of shops on or near the seafront from which bait and tackle can be bought. Coarse fishing is available at Cottington Lakes between Sholden and Fowlmead for Carp, Pike and other freshwater fish on purchase of a day ticket.
Deal is perhaps more widely known as a place to come for Golf. The Royal Cinque Ports club at the north end of town is a links course that hosted the Open in 1909 and 1920 and will be a qualifying course for the Open from 2014. If you are in the area to play here or the adjoining St.George’s or Prince’s courses, Deal has plenty of accommodation for you. On the cliffs at the other end of town is the Walmer and Kingsdown club, which offers a different challenge with extensive views across the Channel to France, and is a little less formal. If you haven’t yet progressed to the full game there is a putting green open in the summer on Walmer Green.
When landscaping of the spoil tip from Betteshanger Colliery was completed in 2007 a national standard high specification tarmac road-race track described by British Cycling magazine as “the best in the country” was included in what is now Fowlmead Country Park. The 3.5 km circuit is regularly used for competitive events and there is a separate BMX track. A number of signposted cycle routes for leisure or long distance run from or near Deal taking in the sights of the nearby countryside. Cycle hire is available in Deal from our member Mike’s Bikes, in the Deal station building.They have bikes for individuals, families and groups of friends visiting Deal and the surrounding countryside and beaches.
Deal has a heritage of walking as a leisure pursuit. As Deal’s shipping trade disappeared steps were taken to promote it as a seaside resort and buildings were cleared to give access to the beach and the Promenade was laid out and a pleasure pier built. Strolling on the prom and along the pier is probably the most popular leisure activity in Deal today, just as it was over 100 years ago. The pier is a quarter of a mile long with a cafe at the end and the Promenade extends for 3½ miles from Sandown to Kingsdown. From there you can continue across the cliffs to St.Margarets Bay and then Dover which is all part of the Saxon Shore Way long distance footpath that goes all the way to Hastings, and Gravesend in the other direction. If you don’t want to go that far the Visitor Information Centre has guide leaflets to walks around and out of Deal and Fowlmead Country Park can be accessed via Southwall Road.The White Cliffs Countryside Project arranges a program of guided walks in the surrounding area which are listed on their website and leaflets from the Visitor Information Centre. Or plan ahead with route listings available in commercial publications by mail order
The Timeball and Telegraph Trail links the Timeball Tower in Deal with the timeball at Greenwich for which you can view a map.
Use the GPS function on your phone or a dedicated device to find hidden caches many of which contain token treasures for children. In addition to many caches placed in and around the town the Chamber supports a geotrail, completion of which entitles you to a collectible geocoin. To start hunting find co-ordinates on Geocaching.com and find yourself taken to hidden corners you would never think of otherwise.
The main attraction of Tides in Victoria Park is the leisure pool with wave machine, water slides, and jacuzzis. The main pool is entered from a shallow beach, which makes it ideal for children but some exercise swimming is possible at the deep end. Tennis and a gym are also available at the complex and assorted clubs use the sports hall. In the summer the beach is suitable for competent swimmers and paddlers of all ages. A sea swimmimg race is held annually in conjunction with the Regatta. Some (fool)hardy locals swim daily all year round and many more do so (briefly) on Boxing Day. From May to September more paddling can be done at Walmer paddling pool for children, and swimming too if you’re short enough. Admission is free.
There are no slipway facilities at Deal so boats need to be launched from the shingle beach, which means that most sailing is in dinghies. Help with launching is available to visiting members of other clubs at the Downs Sailing Club when it is open. The club runs competitions throughout their season and an extensive training program for children and beginners. Check their events schedule for open events, which have in the past included national events like the Topper Open, the National Schools Sailing Association and most recently in 2008 the Buzz Open.
Deal Walmer and Kingsdown Amatuer Rowing Club competes in the Coast Amatuer Rowing Association champions against clubs from Herne Bay to Southsea. They all come to Deal for its Regatta which is held in close proximity to the towns carnival procession at the end of July. The best vantage points for spectators are the north side of the pier and near the clubhouse on The Marina.
The highlight in the history of Deal Town FC was their 1-0 defeat of Chippenham in 2000, the last FA Vase final at the old Wembley before it was pulled down. The first team currently play in the Kent League Premier Division but success in cup competitions draws teams from further afield. The main entrance to their Charles Road ground is off St.Leonards Road from the B2058 Manor Road end. At a lower level there are a number of park and pub teams playing in local leagues.
Deal and Betteshanger Lions 1st XV play in London Division 2 South East against teams from Kent, Sussex and London. Their home ground is The Drill Field accessed off Canada Road to which admission is free. The club has strong youth section as well as 3 more senior teams. We encourage visiting spectators to make the most of your day by arriving early enough to see at least some of what Deal has to offer.