Author Topic: Completely covering Kent  (Read 7546 times)

WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #75 on: 22:28:06, 08/02/20 »
Thanks GWM. And I must admit I'm a big fan of your slightly quirky posts.  ;)

WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #76 on: 17:40:04, 21/02/20 »
The problem with winter is that I tend to stick to local walks, but with the days getting longer I need to get back into exploring further afield. Dover's only about 30 miles away and I thought that a walk from nearby Samphire Hoe would get me back into the swing of things!

I worked out a 16 mile route in the area between Dover and Folkestone of which half would be new to me. The new bit would be inland, while the familiar bit would be along the high clifftop overlooking the sea. I've tilted the map to show Samphire Hoe and the cliffs more clearly...



I've mentioned Samphire Hoe before, but to recap: it's a nature reserve at the foot of 400ft chalk cliffs that was created using the 'diggings' from the Channel Tunnel. There's an information centre, a cafe and all-day car parking for only £2 - which is the main reason I've started lots of walks from there!

Samphire Hoe is reached by means of a single lane tunnel through the cliff - the tunnel is just visible on the right of the photo. The Channel Tunnel runs directly under the site.



The Dover area is very hilly and today's walk was made tougher than usual because of the strong westerly wind. I'd expected the return to be easy with a following wind, but it was so strong that it was more of a hindrance. The mud didn't help either!



The weather was cloudy and dull so it wasn't a great day for photos. I took this to show a lane that was typical of the countryside here...



I said the area is hilly and that can be seen from my 'glamping' photos...



I spotted my first flowering primrose of the year!  :)



I also came across a small slow worm on the path. I moved it to a safer spot (not that anyone else was out walking today!).



The path along the clifftop is part of the North Downs Way, and this is easily one of the best sections. A view of Folkestone from a trig point...



Further along and down below is a wooded area called The Warren - it's a fascinating place; the paths in and out are very steep so it's rare to see anyone there, and it has its own microclimate and feels like a jungle.



Just after I took the last photo, the wind changed gear as if a huge fan had been switched on. Suddenly, it was difficult to walk, although coming up the cliff and from behind at least the wind wasn't a danger, just a pain!

Every so often, the path went through a thick mass of undergrowth that provided welcome shelter...



...although the sheltered bits came with their own challenges - mud! This was the kind of mud that's too slippery to walk through, while trying to walk on one side of it means that you slip down to the middle, so it becomes a matter of straddling the path with one foot on either side - and the wider the path, the more silly you look!



The England Coast Path offers two choices here: inland to the left, or what is one of my very favourite paths - straight on along the cliff edge. There's a handrail for safety and today I had to hang onto it to stay upright in the wind.



A sound mirror high up on the cliff..



I had planned to follow the cliff-edge path back to Samphire Hoe, but the wind became too strong and I couldn't prevent my walk turning into a run, so I went a short way inland to follow a cycle track back.

The tunnel down to Samphire Hoe:



Despite the less than desirable conditions, I thoroughly enjoyed this walk. Actually, I suppose a little adversity adds to the fun, and it's always good when there's no one else about. The walk was a fraction over 16 miles and it took 4 hrs 9 mins, slower than usual but not bad considering the conditions.  :)

Dovegirl

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #77 on: 09:18:11, 22/02/20 »
Enjoyed your TR and photos    :)   I loved the fabulous views over the Warren when I walked the coast from Hythe to Dover last summer. I'd have liked to explore down in the Warren but kept to the clifftop path for the views.

pleb

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #78 on: 10:15:27, 22/02/20 »
Excellent mud and slow worm  O0
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WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #79 on: 15:08:23, 22/02/20 »
Enjoyed your TR and photos    :)   I loved the fabulous views over the Warren when I walked the coast from Hythe to Dover last summer. I'd have liked to explore down in the Warren but kept to the clifftop path for the views.

Thanks Dovegirl - I remember you saying you'd walked from Hythe to Dover.  :)

I've walked through the Warren twice, the first time on my own and the second with my wife. Here are three photos from each visit...

I was walking along the clifftop when I noticed a steep path descending, so I investigated:



The path wasn't well used and zigzagged a long way down the cliff:



At the bottom the way was very overgrown:



On that occasion, which must have been late winter or early spring, I found my way to the beach then headed back up the cliff at the Folkestone end.

With my wife, we did things differently. The weather was perfect and we'd stopped at the excellent little café at Capel-le-Ferne. It's at the top of the cliff and a path from there winds down into the Warren and, after coffee, that's where we went. We followed any paths that seemed to lead towards Folkestone...



Looking up at the cliffs:



The Warren is extremely undulating and there are a great many steps...



On the way, we met someone who told us he lives in the Warren - presumably sleeping rough because there's nothing habitable there!



Dovegirl

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #80 on: 18:29:59, 22/02/20 »
Interesting to see the photos of the Warren. Looks quite an adventure!    :)   It reminds me a bit of the Hastings to Fairlight coast in East Sussex

WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #81 on: 18:25:03, 25/02/20 »
Today's walk was in an area that was mostly new to me - the rural North Downs between Maidstone and Sittingbourne. I parked at the White Horse Country Park at the top of Detling Hill where I was pleased to find the ticket machine still not working. The country park is high up on the North Downs Way and I've started several walks from there before, but never towards the north-east.



As you can tell from my map, the walk got off to a shaky start. I wanted to take a path across some fields towards Friningham but there was no sign of it and the ground was extremely muddy, so I tried to follow a couple of other paths - only to come to fences topped with barbed wire. So I headed down to Thurnham, followed the Pilgrim's Way for a while, before crossing a relatively easy field (but again with no sign of a path) up to where I wanted to be. So I'd added a couple of miles to my walk and a fair amount of ascent before I'd really got going!

Anyway, here's a photo I took before I realised I'd need to take a detour...



Heading down the hill towards Thurnham, I passed the North Downs Way on my right:



...and here I'm crossing the field that finally took me back up to the top again - my first photo was taken from that field up in the top-right!



The area is very sparsely populated with just the occasional farm. Heading north-east, I had the wind behind me and the way always seemed to be going downhill. I imagined that the return section would be harder going (and it was). There's a lot of flint on the North Downs!



Near Deans Bottom, I passed an impressive living fence:



Deans Bottom is one of the larger hamlets in the area; I took the photo of it looking back from the top of Deans Hill...



This is Bicknor Church - the only church I passed today:



The Hucking Estate, which is owned by the Woodland Trust, occupies a very large part of this area and visitors are welcome. I went along this lane to get there...





My plan was to cut through the Hucking Estate to get to the North Downs Way, which I would follow most of the way back to the country park. Just before I reached the NDW I saw a signpost to a viewpoint and a NDW link, so I set off to investigate. The problem was that there were no further signs (and no viewpoint marked on the map), so I simply followed paths that would at least get me back on track. I never found the viewpoint, but along the way I came across a family of wild boar - it was a bit surreal because I could see what looked like large animals from a long way off...



I like this photo because it's very North Downs-ish.  :)



The next five miles or so were quite tough! I joined the North Downs Way at what is probably its most challenging section - with a seemingly endless series of steps up followed by long flights of steps down, which you know will be followed by yet more steps up! 



And, of course, the path was extremely muddy and slippery after all the rain we've had, and of course it started to rain quite hard... (I like this photo because you can see streaks of rain.)



There isn't a lot to see of Thurnham Castle (and I've seen it before), but I hadn't taken this route until today. The slopes were steep and the mud was slippery!



As I arrived back at the country park, the rain stopped and the sky cleared. I had a great view across much of southern Kent from the trig point:



I thoroughly enjoyed walking in this area (and I always love walking on the North Downs Way), but it was relatively tough going. I did 17.2 miles - much of which was on very muddy paths - and the ascent totalled over 2100ft, which is quite a lot for a walk in Kent.  :)

sunnydale

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #82 on: 12:15:27, 26/02/20 »
More nice photos there Dave O0
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WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #83 on: 12:35:04, 26/02/20 »
More nice photos there Dave O0

Thank you!  :)

WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #84 on: 16:30:29, 03/03/20 »
Last Tuesday, I parked at the White Horse Country Park at the top of Detling Hill and did a circular walk in the lovely rural area between Maidstone and Sittingbourne. This very scenic bit of Kent is bisected by the busy A249 road that connects the M2 to the north with the M20 to the south. I stayed to the east of the A249 last week, so today I did a walk on the west side.  :)

I followed the North Downs Way west in order to cross the A249 at Detling where there's a footbridge called Jade's Crossing - named in memory of a girl who was killed crossing the road (several other people have also died crossing here) - then I set off for Stockbury, a village I'd not visited before. I looped around to just north of Boxley where I joined the Pilgrim's Way and followed it back to Thurnham. I did a bit of sightseeing in Detling along the way and ended with the very steep climb up to the country park.

The walk was exactly 18 miles. The route as planned was 17.2 miles, but before I set off this morning I discovered that an 18 mile walk would get me to the very neat figure of 3,333 miles in the last 365 days. That's why I visited the church in Detling and did a lap around the car park at the finish!



Almost the same photo as last Tuesday when I passed the North Downs Way. Today though I followed it. It's nice and dry just here, but it soon became very muddy and slippery.



Taking a breather at the top of a long, steep flight of steps: Detling in the distance:



A horse...



Quite some time later on the way to Yelstead. This area is quite close to the Medway Towns conurbation but the M2 motorway acts as a barrier and the countryside here is very quiet - a mixture of woods and farms on rolling hills. The ground in this photo of coppiced woodland is covered in bluebells - it'll be a fantastic sight in a few weeks...



One of many really nice properties I passed...



Stockbury is very pleasant:



An example of the rolling landscape - this was between Stockbury and Farthing Corner:



Much later, I took this photo from the Pilgrim's Way. I like neat rows...  :)



Two photos of the church in Detling:



And finally, a panoramic shot of Thurnham - just before I started climbing the steep hill back to the car:



Edit: I almost forgot - the screenshot from Garmin Connect:  :)


« Last Edit: 16:42:28, 03/03/20 by WhitstableDave »

gunwharfman

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #85 on: 19:31:03, 03/03/20 »
I know Detling when I was a teenager I used to go out with a girl from there. I also know the narrow road that goes to Thurnham and I've visited the ruins of the old Roman fort many a time with her. There is (if it's still there) a pub in Thurnham, two sisters used to run it in the 60s and they only allowed certain 'high class and/or important' people in and a scandal there once made it to the Daily Mirror. A high up Police officer was involved but I just can't remember the details of it? I'm going to see if I can find the details on the internet.

When I was very young Mum and Dad used to go cherry picking in Boxley with us four children in tow. I have one memory of it, having to stay in a dark old shed for days whilst they worked, I had the measles but we still needed money to live. I remember my Dad having to cut down a route through tall stinging nettles to get to the doorway. Those were the days! I expect if they did this today they would have been arrested for 'child cruelty' or something similar?

WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #86 on: 22:09:10, 03/03/20 »
Hi GWM, that was interesting - thanks!

My final photo shows the pub in Thurnham; it's called the Black Horse Inn. I've not visited it though.

I could see the church in Boxley from my walk today and I remembered passing through the village last year on a circular walk from Detling Hill and going through Mote Park in Maidstone.

WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #87 on: 17:16:12, 09/03/20 »
I had an excellent walk this morning - so good that I took loads of photos. I wanted to include as many as possible here, so I've grouped them where appropriate in order to save space. I know how tedious it can be to have to scroll through interminable lists of photos!

Studying Google Earth yesterday, I found an unexciting area that I still needed to visit -  the housing estates of Sturry and Hersden, a couple of miles east of Canterbury. To make the walk a little more desirable, I parked at Grove Ferry Picnic Site by the Great Stour (river) and did a circuit taking in some of the most attractive villages I know. These are Wickhambreaux, Ickham, Littlebourne, Fordwich and Westbere. Although I've visited them all before, I worked out a route that used some lanes I'd not walked before and I made a point of seeing parts of the villages I'd not seen before.

Going clockwise meant that the housing estates would come near the end of the walk. A circuit was particularly appropriate today because it went all the way around the outside of the Westbere and Stodmarsh marshes. The Great Stour runs through the marshes between Fordwich and Grove Ferry, as does a railway line, making the area impossible to cross north-to-south. So that's explained that!



Looking across the marshes from the area near Grove:



Some photos of Wickhambreaux. The river here is the Little Stour, which runs roughly parallel to the Great Stour for a while. There are a number of large, old watermills along the Little Stour:



Not far from Wickhambreaux is Ickham. Ickham is very quiet and boasts some magnificent houses. There's also an excellent pub called the Duke William where my wife and I stopped for coffee a few years ago.



I left Ickham by a small lane and ignored the Road Closed: Flood warnings. The road really was flooded! Even if I'd been wearing waterproof shoes, I wouldn't have chanced it, so I backtracked. (A couple of cyclists arrived at the water at the same moment as I did and they backtracked too... I thought that was a bit over cautious!)



Next was Nargate Street on the edge of Littlebourne. Another converted mill stands by the Little Stour - there's an information sign here that tells how the water is exceptionally clear due to the chalky ground. Interestingly, the intermittent river called the Nailbourne, which runs through the chalk but rarely over it, becomes the Little Stour when it flows above ground.



A lovely old thatched house and oast-houses at Elbridge:



The cattle are out in the fields again! I passed lots of cows with new-born calves - and one bull with a ring in his nose...



I spotted my first flowering wood anemones of the year. And I spotted my first flowering cow parsley too.  :)



Two photos from Fordwich, England's smallest town. The building on the left is the town hall, England's smallest town hall.  :)



If these photos look familiar, it's because I walked through Westbere a few weeks ago with my wife. Today, I arrived at and left the village by lanes I'd not previously used.



Arriving back at Grove Ferry. The Great Stour is higher here than I've ever seen it.



The housing estates at Sturry and Hersden weren't worth photographing but at least I've been and seen them. The walk was 15.6 miles and about half of the route was new to me. An excellent outing!

WhitstableDave

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Re: Completely covering Kent
« Reply #88 on: 16:58:06, 16/03/20 »
On a walk last year I touched on the Hoo Peninsula for the first time, passing through High Halstow to the north and Hoo St Werburgh to the south (Google labels it Hoo). Today I delved deeper into this mysterious part of Kent.

My Kent walks all have to touch (it's a thing I have!), so I parked in Hoo St Werburgh near the Medway estuary and set off for Allhallows by the Thames estuary. I planned my route to stick to the farmland and villages in the centre of the peninsula and leave the marshes to the north and south for another day. At the eastern tip of the Hoo Peninsula is the Isle of Grain - an industrial area in the marshes that I also intend to visit.



I didn't know what to expect of the area, but I did know about the industrial bits and I'm familiar with other parts of Kent that border marshes, so I went with lowish expectations. It turned out to be much nicer than I'd imagined, with some lovely hamlets and small villages, and wide open farmland with extensive views in all directions. Hoo is also extremely quiet and peaceful - a benefit of being a peninsula is that there's no through traffic!

A field of onions:



The view in the opposite direction towards marshland and industry:



St Peter & St Paul's Church, Upper Stoke:



All Saints Church, Allhallows. Incidentally, Allhallows means All Saints...



After having passed through several sleepy, picturesque villages, Allhallows was disappointing being a bit like Leysdown on the Isle of Sheppey - but with more houses and fewer caravans. But I walked through it and out the other side because this was where I would reach the Thames... across some fields, over this stile, then onto the sea wall!



The Thames, with Southend-on-Sea in the distance:



I took some quiet lanes after leaving Allhallows and came across this strange sight in a field. There's nothing on my maps, but it looks a bit like the nuclear bunker on a hill near Whitstable...



There's a lot of rapeseed on Hoo and some is already starting to flower:



And finally, the church at High Halstow. High Halstow is famous for having a great many herons (and makes a big thing about it), but, as on my other walk through the surrounding area, I didn't see a single one. 



This was an interesting area to explore and I thoroughly enjoyed my 16.2 mile walk - a reconnaissance really, because I was checking out areas that need further exploration!

Oh, and it's been a while since I included the latest map of my Kent walks, so here it is...  :)



The west and south-west is still in need of attention!