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The Joys of Walking!

The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 09 Jun 2018 15:45

Thanks for the replies Ruth and Marie. :D

We headed down to Sandwich on the east coast of Kent for this weekend's walk. My wife had seen that there was a French Market there today and asked me to plan a walk that went through the town near the end so that we could have a coffee and a bite to eat, and get a few things for later. As some will know, Fred is French by birth and she was delighted to find her 'local' Auvergne cheese which is called Saint-Nectaire. For anyone who's not tried it, Saint-Nectaire is simply the best cheese there is. :thumbup:

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We parked by the beach at Sandwich Bay, which is a couple of miles outside the town. Driving there requires using a toll road which costs £7 - not cheap, but definitely worth it because the setting is fantastic - seemingly endless miles of beach on one side and a string of golf courses on the other. We stopped alongside Sandwich's Royal St George's, which apparently is quite well-known to people who like golf. ;)

Going inland involved crossing the golf course via a public footpath and we later returned across the golf course on another footpath. I do enjoy walking across golf courses! 8-)

Although the weather was pleasant enough, it was a bit overcast and my photos came out disappointingly drab. Oh well... here's a photo from our return crossing. The white signs are to keep walkers on the permitted route:

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We passed through some nice villages and hamlets along the way to Sandwich. Probably the most attractive was Worth with it's lovely old buildings, church and duckpond:

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The hamlet of Ham was next, and anyone who knows this part of Kent will be aware that there's a road sign with directions to both Ham and Sandwich. I'd hoped to get a photo but we didn't pass it. :cry:

The French Market in Sandwich was everything we'd hoped for. There were loads of stalls, entertainment and general French-ness. There were also lots of people and the car parks looked full, so we were pleased we'd not tried to park in town.

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As we were leaving Sandwich alongside the river, we discovered that there was also a medieval fair (fayre?) on today. Excellent stuff! :D

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Walking a little way from the designated footpath, but parallel to it, we saw a patch of what I'm almost certain has been called "Britain's Most Dangerous Plant" - Giant Hogweed. :shock: We didn't touch it!

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So, a very pleasant walk. It was just under 12 miles but mostly flat. And interestingly (according to my watch) we were below sea level for much of the time.
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Booked cruise: Marella Explorer - Caribbean, Christmas 2018
Booked walking holidays: Easter: Cotswolds; Summer: Kintyre & Islay
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Gillzajoker » 10 Jun 2018 10:49

Shame abut the weather, but the Market and Fair/'Fayre looked interesting.
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby tomvet » 10 Jun 2018 19:07

Excellent stuff Dave. Now tell all, did you and Fred enter the Groovy Grandpa and Funky Granny competitions?
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 11 Jun 2018 17:52

tomvet wrote:Excellent stuff Dave. Now tell all, did you and Fred enter the Groovy Grandpa and Funky Granny competitions?

:D To be honest Tom, I didn't notice the sign until I saw the photo. It wasn't a competition though, only a stall selling stuff (obviously for people like us ;) ). Talking about Grandpa... we've swapped one of my grandson-minding days from Monday to Wednesday which meant I was able to do a walk today.

Fred had an appointment in Dover so she dropped me off at nearby Whitfield so I could walk home to Whitstable. I did that journey about six weeks ago and followed the North Downs way to Canterbury, so today I used a different route. Studying the map I noticed a cycle route (National Route 16) between Whitfield and Canterbury so I followed that all the way then transferred to the cycle route from Canterbury to Whitstable (National Route 1).

The great thing about following cycle routes is that they mostly use quiet country lanes. Also, there are no fields with animals to cross, or dogs running free to pester me!

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The walk was 22.58 miles and it took me a fraction under 5hrs 30mns giving an average speed of 4.1mph which was quite pleasing especially since there were a few ups and downs:

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:geek: I like my charts and statistics! Canterbury is around the 4 hour mark and I was interested to see that the general trend is downhill - cyclists should note that this is the easier direction. Also, I can see where I stopped at a road crossing in Canterbury for at least a whole minute! Unlike my previous watch, my new one records my heart rate which I'm finding fascinating; my heart rate was quite low for the first hour then rose and stayed steady-ish for a couple of hours before rising a little - and the steep hill out of Canterbury caused a brief high reading.

Although I didn't realise it when I decided to follow the cycle routes, I discovered I'd walked about three-quarters of the route between Whitfield and Canterbury before on some previous circular walks so I didn't take many photos today. But I hadn't taken a photo of these signs before :D ...

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I think I took a photo of this lovely little house at Fredville (!) before, but I had to take another just in case...

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And I really like this ancient house at Adisham...

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And finally - a sign I pass at least once a week: :D

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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 16 Jun 2018 15:30

For this weekend's walk, my wife and I drove to Grove Ferry about 7 miles east of Canterbury. There's a car park and picnic area by the Great Stour river which makes it the perfect place to do a river, lakes and marshland walk. Instead of my usual satellite map I've used the OS map because it better shows the watery setting.

From Grove Ferry at the top of the map, we set off on a clockwise loop heading across the Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve to the Little Stour river which we followed to Wickhambreaux. From there, we headed for the lovely village of Stodmarsh at the south-west end of the reserve. We walked between a large lake and reed-covered marshes to the Great Stour which we followed back to Grove Ferry.

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The path beside the Little Stour was quite delightful and obviously only very rarely trodden...

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...which is good - except that the way was frequently overgrown with nettles and big prickly things:

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Nearing Wickhambreaux we stopped for a few minutes at a really nice weir. I took this photo standing on the third section:

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Wickhambreaux not only has a cool name, but it's extremely picturesque. I wish we'd seen the wisteria in bloom!

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Some time later, we arrived in Stodmarsh and stopped for coffee at the Red Lion. :D

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And finally, a photo of the Little Stour's big brother - the Great Stour:

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At 9 miles, this was an easy and beautifully scenic walk. :D
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby rdw123 » 17 Jun 2018 07:51

Lovely photos Dave. Hope your trousers were thick to combat the prickly thistles!! It’s a lovely area.
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Gillzajoker » 17 Jun 2018 09:09

Wonderful pics. - beautiful area! :D
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 18 Jun 2018 17:20

Following our very pleasant river walk at the weekend, for my solo walk today I decided to do a fair stretch of the Medway Valley Walk in the Maidstone area. I planned the route so as to link up an earlier 'orphaned' walk so the south that I did with my wife a few weeks ago. To show what I mean, I've left my previous walks in this area on the map and put lots of arrows on today's route... :geek:

I parked at a really nice country park called Cobtree Manor (shown by a red dot) near Aylesford and made my way to the River Medway which is just a few hundred yards away. I followed the Medway Valley Walk path through Aylesford before heading for Larkfield (where I lived for 3 years about 50 years ago!). Although I commuted from Larkfield to my school in SE London during that time, my brother went to school near East Malling and I tried to see if I could find it - hence the odd bump in the top-left part of my route!

From near East Malling, I took country roads to the Medway just south of East Barming where I rejoined the Medway Valley Walk and followed that all the way back to where I started nearly four hours previously. The overall distance was just under 16 miles.

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Arriving at Aylesford:

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Just outside Aylesford, I was treated to a view of Aylesford Priory on the opposite bank:

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I didn't take any photos again until I reached the Medway at East Barming (or at least, none worth showing!). This is the river - with a swan in the distance, and an angler to the right... ;)

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Coming into East Farleigh:

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A few hundred yards further on and looking back, I took this shot of a tourist boat waiting to enter a lock:

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As I neared Maidstone I passed many riverside blocks of flats with balconies (I expect they're called 'luxury apartments'!) and as I arrived in Maidstone town I was treated to a fantastic view of The Archbishop's Palace, which just happens to be where my elder daughter was married. :D

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I'm not a big fan of the town of Maidstone (Kent's County Town) and from the map I was expecting to have to walk through an urban area. But it wasn't like that at all. The riverside path spent only a few hundred yards near the busy bit and then I was back on the peaceful tree-lined riverside trail. A mile or so outside the town I caught a glimpse of Allington Castle - it's a private estate and I'd not even realised the castle was there... :thumbup:

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Nearing the end of the walk I passed through the Allington Lock area where there's a restaurant and a big car park, so my photo was to remind me of this good place to start a future walk!

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So, a surprisingly pleasant and extremely scenic walk. I've really changed what I'd expected the area around Maidstone to be like; it's a great place for a stroll! 8-)
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Booked cruise: Marella Explorer - Caribbean, Christmas 2018
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