The Saxon Shore Way long distance footpath was originally opened in 1980. It follows the coastline of the South East as it was about 1500 years ago, long before the North Kent Marshes or the Romney Marsh came into existence, when the cliff lines to the north and south extended further into the sea and when the Wantsum Channel provided a thoroughfare for boats between the Isle of Thanet and mainland England. The Way takes its name, the Saxon Shore, from a line of fortifications built along the coastline as it was in the 3rd century AD, towards the end of the Roman period. In this time of crisis Saxon invaders came from the southern regions of modern Denmark and in response the Romans built a line of defensive forts along the coast to repel the newcomers. Places visited on the route from the beginning in Gravesend include Medway and the Hoo Peninsula, Rochester, Gillingham, Sittingbourne, Faversham, Whitstable, Herne Bay, Sandwich, Deal, Dover, Folkestone, Hamstreet, Appledore, Rye, Winchelsea and Fairlight Cove before the route ends in Hastings.