Author Topic: Completely covering Kent  (Read 14398 times)

WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #30 on: 17:36:35, 28/09/19 »
Two updates in two days!

Following my drab, wet and windy solo walk yesterday, the sun came out for today's weekend walk with my wife. Well, for some of the time anyway.  :)

Three months ago I was walking beside the River Medway on my way to Tonbridge when I saw an impressive tower in the distance. I learned that it was the Hadlow Tower - built as a folly in the grounds of Hadlow Castle in the village of Hadlow. The tower was badly damaged in the storm of 1987 but later restored at a cost of about 4,000,000. It's the tallest folly in the UK and is now used as luxury holiday accommodation.

I'd originally seen the tower from a mile-and-a-half away and wanted to see it up close on a walk with my wife. Today's route also included a particularly pleasant stretch of the Medway Valley Walk. We parked in East Peckham and set off in an anticlockwise direction...



We passed some lovely houses along the way, including this huge converted oast house:



Walking through fields of what we decided was a salad vegetable farm, we were puzzled by the pinkness of some of the crops in the distance. The pink turned out to be protective netting, but the red was definitely red lettuce!



Arriving in Hadlow by the church, we had our first proper sighting of Hadlow Tower - well, the top part anyway:



We were a little disappointed that views of the tower are limited because it's in private grounds. Probably the best views were from the churchyard, and we could see some of the castle as well...



After a quick look around the village, we headed south across the fields to the River Medway. There are ten locks between Maidstone and Tonbridge and we passed three today. We didn't see a single pleasure boat on the river, but there were lots of canoeists and a couple of walkers at one of the locks:



This photo gives a good idea of what the Medway Valley Walk is like between Yalding and Tonbridge...



Another lock...  :)



An excellent walk which contributed a fair amount towards my never-ending quest to completely cover Kent.  8)

Agentorange

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #31 on: 18:43:19, 28/09/19 »


 

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...







Did you cross the dual carriageway or go through the little tunnel ?

WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #32 on: 18:51:10, 28/09/19 »
Did you cross the dual carriageway or go through the little tunnel ?

I crossed the dual carriageway and when I got to the other side I noticed I could have used a little tunnel!  :-[

Agentorange

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #33 on: 18:40:08, 29/09/19 »
I crossed the dual carriageway and when I got to the other side I noticed I could have used a little tunnel!  :-[

Yeah, it's not so obvious from the north side, can be rather muddy and in extreme cases has been known to flood. On the other hand you're not taking your life in your hands like you do crossing the road.

gunwharfman

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #34 on: 19:04:47, 29/09/19 »
I know the area well but not the footpaths. At Hadlow did you cross the Medway, where in Victorian time loads of hop-pickers drowned when the original bridge collapsed. My mother always made a once a year visit there for many years because one of them was one of her relatives.

When I started the GR10 walk in 2015 on the first day I met a young man who had just lost his wife in childbirth, she is buried in Hadlow Church and he was hiking the route to try to recover from his grief. His parents were looking after his baby. I often wonder what happened to him?


WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #35 on: 19:15:41, 29/09/19 »
I know the area well but not the footpaths. At Hadlow did you cross the Medway, where in Victorian time loads of hop-pickers drowned when the original bridge collapsed. My mother always made a once a year visit there for many years because one of them was one of her relatives.

When I started the GR10 walk in 2015 on the first day I met a young man who had just lost his wife in childbirth, she is buried in Hadlow Church and he was hiking the route to try to recover from his grief. His parents were looking after his baby. I often wonder what happened to him?

I didn't pass the spot where the hop-pickers drowned on this walk, but I did pass it a few months ago when I walked along the Medway path from Yalding to Tonbridge (and back). I didn't know how it happened until you just mentioned it though.


WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #36 on: 19:22:44, 30/09/19 »
I hadn't intended to do a walk report today, because I wasn't planning to visit anywhere I'd not been before.

I wanted to do just over 18 miles today, so that I would reach 300 miles for the month. (My monthly target is 250 miles and I don't often get to 300.)  So I thought I'd just head for Reculver by country lanes and paths and return along the coast.

As I was passing Broomfield I decided to investigate a narrow lane to the south that I'd previously ignored. I was glad that I did, because I came across a deserted BMX circuit which in itself wasn't very exciting, but it's owned by the council and was therefore open to explore. It's on a low hill that provided excellent views across farmland and I discovered that I could get to a path on the far side that I've walked before. Links like these can be useful when planning future walks!

As I left the BMX track to head for Reculver I noticed that my average walking speed was 4.2mph - a touch faster than usual. A couple of weeks ago I did 16 miles at 4.2mph (my middle distance PB!) so I decided to keep up the pace for the whole 18 miles and beat it. A bit further on I realised I'd probably get to 20 miles following my BMX diversion and later, as I was nearing 20 miles I decided to keep the pace going for the marathon distance. That meant going into Whitstable towards the end and doing lots of zigging and zagging and even a couple of loops, but I arrived home on exactly 26.2 miles. The walk took 6hrs 10mins making the overall average speed 4.25mph - a new long distance PB!  :)



I didn't stop to take many photos... this is the BMX track - quite impressive!



I'd just passed through lots of orchards and then on to a quiet lane when I thought a photo of the scene with a house with a bell-tower was worth taking:



I love the view of Reculver Towers looking back from the clifftop path:



Whitstable Harbour, with an unusually high tide. It was beginning to look like rain, which I wouldn't have minded in the slightest by then!



I was extremely chuffed by doing an unplanned marathon in a good time. And not only did I pass 300 miles for September quite comfortably, but I also reached 3,200 miles in the previous 365 days for the first time ever.  :)

WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #37 on: 19:00:22, 03/10/19 »
The aim of my walk today was to complete the Darent Valley Path between the southern end of Dartford and Lullingstone. Last week, as part of a circular walk, I did the first (or last?) bit of the DVP which is in the Dartford area and, to be honest, it wasn't very attractive. Some weeks previously, I'd headed south from Lullingstone and that part was extremely pleasant, so I wasn't sure what the missing bit would be like.

One reason I joined English Heritage was to use their car parks and today I parked at Lullingstone Roman Villa near Eynsford. I walked along the quietest roads I could find to get to where I left the DVP last week and then followed the path all the way back to Lullingstone:



There were few highlights on the outbound road section, but the picturesque village of Eynsford was certainly one - I love fords and (appropriately) this one is across the River Darent:



The other highlight was passing a field where radio-controlled planes were being flown. I think that was it!

There are a lot of major roads in the Dartford area and I went under several on this walk. My collage includes the M25, the M2 and the A2.  :)



I had hoped that since I was joining the Darent Valley Path south of Dartford I'd be away from noise and busy-ness and into the countryside almost immediately. However, the walk didn't become properly rural until I had passed South Darenth. Here are a few rural photos...



I passed two very impressive viaducts - the first was in South Darenth (big photo) and the other was near Lullingstone. I also passed what I guess was once a mill and now seems to be a retail complex; I could see the chimney from a long way off on the outbound leg and was looking forward finding out what it was.



The village of Farningham was a real treat. The structure in the two upper photos is thought to be a cattle screen - to keep cattle on track as they forded the river.



The walk was 15.5 miles and I have to admit it didn't quite live up to my hopes and expectations (especially considering the hour's drive each way!). I enjoy walking alongside rivers but the Darent Valley Path only becomes properly delightful south of South Darent which is where the rural scenery and villages and castles and fields of lavender begin. So (and it's purely a personal view), should anyone be considering walking the DVP, I'd recommend sticking to the southern end.  :)

Agentorange

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #38 on: 22:21:35, 05/10/19 »
it has to be said the section from South Darenth down to Otford is without doubt the most pleasant section to walk. As I've already mentioned Shoreham especially has a number of nice routes converging on it.

Did you look in on Eynsford castle at all ? It's free and worth a few minutes of your time. I often go there if I have a couple of hours to spare and it's good weather. just simply crash out on the riverbank with a good book, a cold drink and a cheese and pickle sandwich  O0

I also like the fact that the DVP runs straight through the beer garden of the Lion in Farningham. The scond hand and antiquarian bookshop in Farningham is worth looking at. he often has a good selection of walking books and is strong on local history etc.
« Last Edit: 22:25:06, 05/10/19 by Agentorange »

WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #39 on: 10:33:53, 06/10/19 »
On a previous walk, I went through Shoreham on the Darent Valley Path towards Otford and walked along the high street on the way back to see more of the village. I agree that it's really nice. It's a long drive to get there, but I'll do a walk from Shoreham one day.

I didn't visit Eynsford Castle but I could see it in the valley below as I returned along Sparepenny Lane. I like castles!

I saw the bookshop in Farningham and even took a photo for my wife who loves old bookshops.  :)


WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #40 on: 18:14:00, 07/10/19 »
I love the White Cliffs of Dover and I've walked along the clifftop many times, but not for a few weeks. So I decided to do a walk from Dover today and I devised a circuit where at least half of the route would be new to me by taking lanes I'd not used before across the countryside to Deal.

I used my National Trust membership to park at the White Cliffs Visitor Centre, which overlooks the ferry terminal. I passed Dover Castle and went through some historic villages, including Guston, East Langdon and Martin, before arriving in a part of Walmer I'd not seen before. A footpath beside the railway line took me on to Deal and I returned along the coast to Dover. Although I hadn't planned to, I followed a cycle route called the Skylark Trail all the way from Dover to Walmer.



The Dover area is full of castles, forts and other military remains. Clockwise from top-left are: Dover Castle, Fort Burgoyne (not open to the public), Walmer Castle and Deal Castle. I love castles and Deal is probably my favourite!:



I mentioned historic villages... I bagged a few information boards.  8)



If you've ever sailed into or out of Dover, you'll probably have seen South Foreland Lighthouse perched high on the cliff:



Horses are often seen grazing along the clifftop in the many National Trust areas; I passed two small herds today. Below to the left is St Margarets Bay:



That's the ferry port in the distance, with the cruise port behind. Three cruise ships were in today:



This is Fan Bay. Just in front of me is the top of the steepest slope I've climbed in Kent. I went the long way round today!



This dip is called Langdon Hole, which is easier to cross than Fan Bay!



It was an excellent and varied walk at a touch under 18 miles, which I highly recommend! I think it's worth mentioning that I actually prefer the clifftop to the west between Dover and Folkestone, mainly because there are far fewer people around. The advantage of the eastern side that I did today is that it's much more open and offers a wide variety of routes - both moderate and challenging!  :)

WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #41 on: 17:32:08, 14/10/19 »
Today is a special day for me because I've been recording my walks for exactly 3 years to the day.  :)

When I got my first GPS watch on 15th October 2016, I went for a short walk and viewed the results on Garmin Connect when I got home. I also discovered that I could export the track to Google Earth and see exactly where I went. I've been uploading and recording my walks ever since!

Although my wife and I have had lots of walking holidays both in the UK and abroad, something like 90% of my walks have been in Kent. As time has gone by, Google Earth has become an increasingly important tool to help me decide where I need to go as I work towards covering the whole county. I know I can never achieve that, but having something to aim at helps keep me motivated. Of course, the problem is that I need to drive ever further to do walks in the empty spaces.



Covering Kent is my long-term aim, but targets provide my daily motivation. Within a few months of starting to record my walks, I thought that 10,000 miles in 4 years might just be possible - with a great deal of good fortune! - and that led to monthly and weekly targets. Other targets include doing a total of 30 miles on Monday and Tuesday because that gets the week off to a good start, and beating the distance for the same month the previous year. Occasionally, I also try to beat my personal best for distance in a day or speed over a certain distance. Targets are very important things!



So far, so good. Fingers crossed!  :)

One more thing...

I gave up smoking in May 2016 after about 45 years as a 20-a-day smoker. Back then, I walked occasionally and thought that 6 miles was quite a distance, and I'd stop a couple of times along the way for a fag - just to relax and admire the view of course. In 3 years, I reckon I've saved at least 10,000 (at 2016 prices - I've no idea what cigarettes cost now!) and at 67 (later this week) I've honestly never been fitter in my life than I am now. Obviously, the lesson I've learned is... walking is much cheaper than smoking!  ;)

WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #42 on: 17:06:07, 15/10/19 »
Today's circular walk linked a previous route near Bethersden, which is to the south-west of Ashford, with walks to the south when I was doing the Royal Military Canal and Saxon Shore Way near Romney Marsh.

I parked in Hamstreet and followed the Greensand Way for a couple of miles through very muddy woods and fields before using roads and byways to visit Bromley Green, Shadoxhurst, Woodchurch and Kenardington - none of which I'd seen before.

As walks go, this one was okay. Things got off to an irritating start when I got stuck in a terrible traffic jam in Ashford where it took me 20 minutes to get from one side of a roundabout to the other! The weather wasn't as good as I'd hoped it would be and some of the roads after Woodchurch were too busy for my liking. Having said that, the first few miles were excellent and I enjoyed sploshing through the mud, and the villages I saw were all really nice. I didn't chance returning through Ashford, instead I went via Hythe which made for a long but pleasant drive home.



I didn't know that the large wood outside Hamstreet is a National Nature Reserve...



I was wearing my brand new trousers for the first time and they were soon covered in mud, which is a good thing! My almost new Salomon GTX shoes had a good workout too and they coped perfectly.  :)



Most of the Greensand Way is much clearer than this...



This is an unrestricted byway I walked along some time later; it looks as though some people have had fun in their 4x4s...



The rain prevented me from taking many more photos, but I always like to bag churches. This is the cute little church in Shadoxhurst...



...and this is the big impressive church in Woodchurch.



That was the first walk of my fourth year exploring Kent on foot.  :)

gunwharfman

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #43 on: 18:14:05, 15/10/19 »
I'm impressed, I'd like to walk more in Kent and Sussex but at the moment family responsibilities are a bit dominant. I've earmarked Thursday to cycle along part of the South Downs Way for a day so I'm just hoping for a bit of reasonable weather.

I was in Maidstone on Monday, a couple of hours to get there (normal) but it took me 3.5hrs to get home! I sat in stationary traffic on the M25 for such a long time, my car and everyone else's pumping out all of the usual fumes and as I looked around me it still surprises me how many people still smoke. Not only smoke but they keep their windows closed as well. I took the advice of a R4 programme that I heard a few weeks ago, I opened my windows a few times to let the outside air flow through. According to a researcher, the air pollution inside our cars is worse than being on the outside and children in the back breathe in the worst air because their windows on balance are rarely opened.

I like your maps, a good way of displaying your walks.

WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #44 on: 19:14:27, 15/10/19 »
...
I like your maps, a good way of displaying your walks.

Thanks GWM.  :)

I record walks with my Garmin Vivoactive 3 watch and sync to Garmin Connect and from there I export the tracks straight to Google Earth. I'm sure other GPS watches and handhelds can do likewise...