Cantii Way: map and GPX
Taking its name from the Celtic tribe which inhabited the area during the Iron Age, the Cantii Way combines quirky coastal towns and dramatic chalk cliffs with the rolling hills of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
This circular route uses traffic-free cycle paths, bridleways and quiet roads, and is ideal for touring and hybrid bikes. It’s perfect for a leisurely trip, with lots to discover along the way – from remnants of military defences to vibrant art trails and eco-friendly farms.
The ‘Garden of England’ is also a haven for food and drink connoisseurs, with a wealth of local produce to sample, fresh seafood, vineyards galore and the pointed white tops of hop-drying oast houses peeking through the trees.
Make the most of it by stopping off at our accredited Cycle Friendly Places to rest and refresh along your journey.
Parts of the trail use the North Downs Way riders’ route, which Cycling UK first proposed in 2018 and is now working with the Kent Downs AONB to develop as an official alternative route for the North Downs Way National Trail through Kent. The overlap between the two routes provides various options to extend or shorten your journey – and come back for more another time.
Download the route guide
Although the Cantii Way route is not signposted, most of this ride is easily navigated, either following the coastline or signed local or National Cycle Network (NCN) routes. Where this is not the case, the route follows straightforward trails, minimising head scratching and gazing at screens or maps along the way, so you’ll have maximum time to cruise and enjoy the scenery.
Ordnance Survey maps are recommended, although this simple route is easily followed on OpenStreetMap or Google Maps.
Most of the route is on tarmac or concrete surfaces. There are also a number of gravel, grass and dirt trails along the way.
Low-profile tyres are recommended, but in poor conditions we would recommend a little more tread, especially if using narrow tyres; or you may wish to use road alternatives to the dirt trails.
Whichever bike and tyres you are using, take care when riding off road in the wet, as the grass and dirt trails can become slippery and sometimes tenaciously sticky.
This is a predominantly flat ride, with only a few hills, meaning progress should be steady. However, be aware that the wind direction could affect your progress, either hitting you with a strong headwind or giving you the advantage of a healthy tailwind.
Recommended bike and kit
Although largely traffic free, the route mostly uses firm, hard tracks that are ideal for a sturdy touring, hybrid or gravel bike. A hardtail mountain bike (MTB) could be useful for riding the off-road sections, but would benefit from being fitted with low-profile tyres to keep drag to a minimum.
This route is ideal for e-cycles. Although there are few big hills, the added assistance along flat, straight sections (especially into a headwind) is an efficient and helpful use of the battery. There are also plenty of locations, such as at refreshment stops, where you could potentially recharge the battery during the day, if required.
Pannier racks or bikepacking bags are a good way to transport your cargo, as there are many facilities along the route, as well as excellent rail connections, and it is possible to ride the route safely and easily unsupported and with minimal baggage. Although you would be unlucky to suffer punctures along this route, bike shops are not always easy or quick to come by, so be prepared.
Top tips for a great ride
- Ride responsibly, showing respect for other trail users and the environment. Remember – Be Nice, Say Hi!
- Watch the weather forecast (including wind direction and strength) and plan accordingly
- Don’t rush: ride slowly/walk in the busy seafront areas or take an alternative route here
- A bell on the bike is useful along the busy promenade sections
- Don’t pack too much
- Make the most of the seafront shacks and cafés
- Leave no trace