Author Topic: Completely covering Kent  (Read 7555 times)

Lazar

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #15 on: 14:49:09, 15/09/19 »
Fantastic photo's after a bit of advise, we are looking for somewhere next year for our annual 5 day walk. Over the last couple of years we have looked at having a base instead of moving on every day, could you recommend somewhere to base our self's looking for walks of about 14 miles a day circular or finishing where we can use public transport to get back to base. We will be travelling by train from our home town. Thanks

WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #16 on: 16:25:28, 15/09/19 »
Fantastic photo's after a bit of advise, we are looking for somewhere next year for our annual 5 day walk. Over the last couple of years we have looked at having a base instead of moving on every day, could you recommend somewhere to base our self's looking for walks of about 14 miles a day circular or finishing where we can use public transport to get back to base. We will be travelling by train from our home town. Thanks

Hi Lazar

I'm not sure I can be much help, but I'll have a try...

My wife and I did something like what you're planning in April this year. We wanted to do circular walks using the part of the North Downs that's in neighbouring Surrey, so we rented a cottage near the NDW and about halfway along the Surrey bit for a base. The cottage is in Westcott and is called Deerhurst Cottage (it was excellent!); the map shows roughly where it is relative to the NDW (in green):



If you prefer Kent, it's very easy to plan circular walks based on the excellent North Downs Way. The Pilgrim's Way, which mostly follows quiet, narrow lanes runs roughly parallel to the North Downs Way and usually less than a mile away from it. (I'll be posting more about this shortly!)

WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #17 on: 16:39:03, 15/09/19 »
...
I really wanted to disagree with your assertion ups and downs are important to serious walkers as I know it's not always true, your Kent excursions being an example but people who do a lot of walking do seem to like ups and downs.
...

Hi Rob. My assertion was only intended as a tongue-in-cheek observation about the emphasis that this forum seems to place on hillwalking as opposed to lowland walking. I think the Regions list on the forum menu supports this, as does (for example) the amount of discussion about boots (instead of shoes!).  ;)

Of course hills and mountains are great - I love Scotland, Wales and other bumpy regions - and reaching a deserted cairn and basking in the views (when not in the clouds) is fantastic. But, for me anyway, hillwalking is just another aspect of walking!

And just to show that I like ups and downs as much as anyone - here's my selfie from the summit of Cul Beag (in the Assynt) taken last month...  8)



But back to Kent in a moment!  ;)
« Last Edit: 16:45:29, 15/09/19 by WhitstableDave »

sunnydale

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #18 on: 16:47:25, 15/09/19 »
A lovely selection of photos Dave & interesting reading too O0
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WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #19 on: 17:33:22, 15/09/19 »
Thanks!  :)

Here's a brief account of today's Weekend Walk with my Wife...

The forecast was for blue skies and a temperature around 24C and that's how it turned out - a lovely last bit of summer here in the deep south. While I was scanning the map for ideas for a short walk, I spotted a place called Broad Street on a few miles of the Pilgrim's Way I'd not been along before. I also noticed that, although I've often claimed to have walked all of the North Downs Way in Kent, there was a 200m bit of the path nearby that I'd previously bypassed. Oh no! That needed fixing!

For those who aren't familiar with the Kent landscape, the North Downs Way (mostly) runs along a high, undulating ridge of chalk hills. The Pilgrims Way runs roughly parallel to the NDW and is the actual route to Canterbury that pilgrims once took. Pilgrims probably weren't particularly interested in undulating hills and so the PW follows a low-level path between delightful villages and hamlets - mostly on byways and quiet lanes. Nowadays, pilgrims and other walkers use the more demanding but extremely scenic high path - the NDW. The great thing for walkers is that together they make for excellent circular walks.

Today's shortish circular walk was as follows: Park at the White Horse Country Park at the top of Detling Hill; descend the steep hill past a castle ruin to Thurnham; follow the Pilgrim's Way to Hollingbourne where it meets the NDW at the Dirty Habit(!); and follow the NDW up a steep hill and back to the start.



We took only a few photos today. Soon after setting off down the hill and crossing the NDW to begin the circuit:



The hamlet of Broad Street was quite idyllic, with about a dozen very, very nice houses in a leafy setting. Further on, we reached the Dirty Habit Inn at Hollingbourne where the PW and the NDW merge for a while. (We've stopped for coffee at the inn twice before on previous walks and it's very quaint.)



We passed a small herd of cattle on the NDW - always a pleasant surprise!:



It was very warm in the sun, so we stopped for a sandwich in the shade and enjoyed the view:



A fairly typical bit of NDW woodland. What I can't show though (because I didn't take the relevant photos) is the switchback nature of the trail for the next couple of miles - the path goes steeply down then steeply up then steeply down... and so on. But at least it's nice and shaded!



WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #20 on: 18:46:50, 17/09/19 »
I made a big stride today in my quest to cover Kent when I finally linked up Royal Tunbridge Wells with my network. I'd previously got as far as Tonbridge, so I wanted to start from there, and I was waiting for a really nice day to make the walk worth the tedious hour-long drive each way. I couldn't have asked for better weather - blue skies and temperatures in the low twenties!

I'd noticed that Tunbridge Wells has a waymarked circular route called... The Tunbridge Wells Circular Walk. Actually, it's more like a four-leaf-clover shape with four shorter circular walks making one long one around the perimeter. One of these 'leaves' is called the Pembury Circular (I know, this is getting tedious!) and it served my purpose perfectly.

I parked in the first car park I came across in Tonbridge and made my way across town to get to my planned route. Then I headed out of town to join the Pembury Circular at the nearest point. I'd decided that the clockwise direction looked the most immediately scenic so that's the way I went. Strangely, the circular walks disappear in Tunbridge Wells itself, with a note on the Explore Kent website saying to 'take the train' (from one end of TW to the other!). I don't do trains! Anyway, I like walking through towns, and especially ones as posh as Tunbridge Wells. Arriving back in Tonbridge, I realised I needed to get to the castle (to join this walk with the others) and that I had no idea where I'd left the car. So I used the 'return to start' function on my watch, which is proving quite useful...



I joined the Pembury Circular just outside of Tonbridge and the path immediately took me into the grounds of The Schools at Somerhill - that's three private schools in the beautiful grounds of Somerhill House, the second largest house in Kent (after Knole House in Sevenoaks). This is a gatehouse and the way in...



...and this is a lake!



The sun was behind the big house and I couldn't see all of it, but you'll get the idea. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I do like walking though the grounds of stately homes and golf courses on rights of way that are only for walkers.



I left the Somerhill grounds on a path through some lovely woods that led out onto farmland. This is the view looking back from the middle of a field:



Woods were quite a feature of this walk, which by the way, shared some of the way with the High Weald Landscape Trail. I took a few photos like this one along the way:



I walked through the grounds of another private school (Kent College) where girls were playing hockey (as they do in such places), then out through a really nice churchyard. Saint Peter's Church at Pembury dates back to Norman times:



Orchards were another feature of the walk. I've posted photos of apple trees before, but not of trees with fruit like this. I've no idea what it is...



Still heading for Tunbridge Wells I emerged from some woodland and was treated to this view - wonderful! So I took a photo...



I didn't bother with photos on my way through the town and I took hardly any on the way back to Tonbridge. But I did like the sunlight reflected from a stream that I crossed just before I finished the Pembury Circular...



And finally, a photo (albeit slightly blurred) of Tonbridge Castle - just to prove I got back!



This is an excellent route with a great deal to recommend it. There's a nice balance of woodland, farmland, orchards, meadows, sleepy hamlets and posh towns. The route is surprisingly up and down, with very few level bits, which provides regular scenic views over the rolling countryside. One thing I must mention though is that the final third of the Pembury Circular (between TW and T) is less impressive and a lot more overgrown than I was expecting. I think that's because it's not part of the outer Tunbridge Wells Circular Walk and isn't often walked. Starting from Tonbridge made for an 18.4 mile walk, but the loop part is advertised as 13 miles - if you take a train through Tunbridge Wells that is!

Dovegirl

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #21 on: 21:11:15, 17/09/19 »
I was interested to read of your Tunbridge Wells Circular (TWC) walk.  I've found some very good walking in the area to the west of Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells. When this spring I walked the TWC from Tunbridge Wells to Groombridge, which features in both the Speldhurst and Sussex leaflets on the Explore Kent website, the woodlands were carpeted with wonderful displays of wild garlic. 

I know it's Kent you're covering but it's well worth following the TWC just over the border in East Sussex, taking in Eridge Park, where I've been lucky enough to see a herd of deer, and the amazing sandstone outcrops of Harrison's Rocks and Eridge Rocks.

WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #22 on: 21:33:46, 17/09/19 »
I was interested to read of your Tunbridge Wells Circular (TWC) walk.  I've found some very good walking in the area to the west of Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells. When this spring I walked the TWC from Tunbridge Wells to Groombridge, which features in both the Speldhurst and Sussex leaflets on the Explore Kent website, the woodlands were carpeted with wonderful displays of wild garlic. 

I know it's Kent you're covering but it's well worth following the TWC just over the border in East Sussex, taking in Eridge Park, where I've been lucky enough to see a herd of deer, and the amazing sandstone outcrops of Harrison's Rocks and Eridge Rocks.
I'd love to go further afield into East Sussex but it's a matter of having the time - the further I drive, the longer it all takes. I should add that my wife works and I like to get home before she does!

Having said that though, today as I was enjoying those faraway border places it occurred to me that we might stay overnight sometime. Definitely worth considering...

Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #23 on: 20:10:32, 18/09/19 »
I know it's Kent you're covering but it's well worth following the TWC just over the border in East Sussex, taking in Eridge Park, where I've been lucky enough to see a herd of deer, and the amazing sandstone outcrops of Harrison's Rocks and Eridge Rocks.
Harrison’s Rocks are definitely worth a visit.

Agentorange

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #24 on: 21:22:46, 19/09/19 »
Re the fruit: Pears of some sort, or maybe quinces ?

WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #25 on: 21:45:34, 19/09/19 »
Re the fruit: Pears of some sort, or maybe quinces ?

They weren't pears... and my wife agrees that they're quinces.  O0

Agentorange

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #26 on: 21:48:09, 19/09/19 »
I had quince and pear crumble once, very enjoyable.

Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #27 on: 22:11:16, 19/09/19 »
They weren't pears... and my wife agrees that they're quinces.  O0
If you’d had a runcible spoon in your pack, you could have eaten some.

WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #28 on: 16:18:02, 21/09/19 »
I spent a good couple of hours yesterday planning our weekend walk - 12 miles, to include a stretch of the Medway Valley Walk and a visit to Hadlow to see the incredible Tower that I've only ever seen from a distance, with an hour's drive each way. But when my wife got home from work she reminded me that we're looking after our baby granddaughter all day Sunday, so perhaps a less time-consuming Saturday walk would be better! Hmm, how about an 8 mile walk around nearby Faversham instead?

So I came up with a sort of theme - we'd visit some heritage sites in the area and try to use paths and roads we've not walked before.

Faversham was once an extremely important producer of gunpowder. Although a mile or so inland, two creeks link the town to the River Medway and the Thames Estuary making the transportation of gunpowder to nearby naval bases relatively easy. There are reminders of Faversham's explosive history all over the area - mills, testing areas and huge brick walls (to protect residents!).



I'd seen signs to the Oare Gunpowder Works but hadn't been there. Checking the map, I discovered it's in some dense woodland and has a small car park, so that's where we started. We decided to look inside when we got back...



Chart Mill is by a stream in the middle of a housing estate. It's the oldest mill of its kind in the world and is where the gunpowder ingredients were ground and mixed. Sadly, it doesn't open until 2pm and the walls had suffered from graffiti. Oh well, moving on...



This was very much a town and countryside walk and, presumably because Faversham was once the wealthy centre of the nation's explosives industry, the town has some very elaborate buildings. These are alms houses:



Heading out of Faversham, we walked through the very pleasant churchyard of St Catherine's at Preston-next-Faversham:



Then we walked for more than two miles alongside the busy A2. Not the most appealing of ways perhaps, but we'd never walked along there before and we wanted to visit Maison Dieu. This was a heritage walk after all!

Maison Dieu is a hospital, monastery, hostel, retirement home and royal lodge commissioned by Henry III in 1234 (according to Wikipedia!) and the A2 was formerly Watling Street. A fascinating building to see - but only from the outside today because it too opens at 2pm!



Just before we returned to quiet country lanes, we went into a field to visit Faversham Stone Chapel - and this was definitely open. ('Stone' refers to the area, not what it was built with.) It might not look much, but this is the only Christian building in England that incorporates a Roman mausoleum in its structure. Roman brickwork can be seen just to the right of my wife's right elbow.



After some field walking we arrived at Luddenham Court where the farm has a de-consecrated church dating from the 12th century in the middle of the farmyard. It's called St Mary's Church and it was open, so we had a look around!



We left Luddenham Farm by way of a corn field and headed back to the gunpowder works.



We had a quick look around the gunpowder works, which was very interesting, then drove home in time for lunch. Perhaps we'll do Hadlow next weekend...

WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #29 on: 16:37:42, 27/09/19 »
The Darent Valley Path follows the River Darent from the banks of the River Thames near Dartford to the Greensand Hills near Sevenoaks.

I'd previously walked the southern part of the path, where it passes through some lovely Kent countryside, and I wanted to complete it all. Studying the map, I decided to split the unwalked section into two circular loops - one of which would be in the Dartford area, and that's the bit I did today.

I parked in the Darenth Country Park which is near the A2, although getting there proved more difficult than I'd expected. I left the A2 and was only two minutes away when a slight misunderstanding between my satnav and me resulted in me rejoining the A2 and heading for the Dartford Crossing. I narrowly avoided Essex (and the toll!) and, with a fair amount of luck, eventually found the country park.

The Darent Valley Path starts in a remote and desolate spot and getting to it without actually using the path itself involved walking through built up areas and along an unappealing track across Dartford Marshes. I reached the path near a huge flood barrier and headed south along the river, going through the centre of Dartford, and getting as far as Brooklands Lakes before heading back to the car.



The weather wasn't too bad to start with, but it began to drizzle as I reached the marshes. This is Joyce Green Lane, which ends at a shooting range and becomes a rough track to the Thames. I passed a quarry and lots of derelict buildings along the way:



Here I'm at the start of the Darent Valley Path, although there was nothing to confirm that. I was pleased that no shot fell from above as I took a photo of the Dartford Crossing (the Queen Elizabeth II bridge) to the east:



Heading west along the path I soon reached the flood barrier. The waterway is described as the Dartford Creek, so I've no idea where it becomes the River Darent (or perhaps it's both?).



The path alongside the river is on the top of a high bank, which was nice because I had good views across the marshes but I was walking into a strong breeze, which was less good. I crossed a dual carriageway as I left the marshes behind and immediately saw an impressive display of fly-tipping...



Looking back to the riverside development I'd just passed - as the rain decided to get serious!



Then I went through some industrial areas and crossed Dartford's town centre. While the high street wasn't looking especially attractive today, the huge Central Park beyond was extremely impressive (but I forgot to take a photo of it).



The River Darent flows through the park and under a busy road on the other side through some rather nice tunnels. There was even music playing inside the path tunnel!



I emerged from the tunnel into an area called Brooklands Lakes, but that's as far as I was going along the Darent Valley Path today. My next and final walk along the DVP will be between Lullingstone and these lakes and I'm certain that the route will be a lot more picturesque!



Speaking of picturesque... On the way back to the car, I took a photo of where I was earlier when I missed my turning and found myself heading for the Dartford Tunnel!