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The Joys of Walking!

The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 09 Mar 2019 16:16

On Monday, I walked to Canterbury and back to look at walking shoes in Cotswold Outdoor. I'd only planned to browse, but ended up buying a really good pair that just happened to be reduced by £30. On Tuesday I was contacted by Cotswold Outdoor with the news that as a result of the purchase I'd won their monthly prize - a £100 gift voucher! :D

A less good event on Tuesday was that my PC died. More specifically, the boot drive containing Windows failed completely (it's an SSD to boot!), so the computer wouldn't start at all. Installing a new version of Windows 10 on one of the other drives wasn't too much of a problem, but I've spent many hours this week reinstalling and configuring stuff that I ought to have backed up more often than I did... :oops:

So that's why I didn't write up the quite interesting walk I did on Tuesday when my wife dropped me off at Teynham (between Faversham and Sittingbourne on the A2) and I walked home from there.

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I deliberately included Lynsted and Doddington on the above map so as to put today's map in context. My wife visited a school in Lynsted recently and loved the area - we hadn't explored the area north of Doddington before so that's what we did today.

We parked at the delightful old village of Rodmersham Green and did a 9+ mile loop to include Doddington and Lynsted, using very quiet country lanes and a few cross-field footpaths.

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I've been looking out for wood anemones - one of my favourite spring flowers - and today we spotted our first of the year. There were only a few in bloom, but it's a start!

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As usual, I wanted to link the walk with my growing network and that meant getting to the church at Doddington - the interestingly named 'The Beheading of St John the Baptist'.

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Heading towards Lynsted, with a wonderful Tudor farmhouse to the left...

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The church at Lynsted...

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...which is visible in this photo too.

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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby Camela » 09 Mar 2019 18:59

Yay, as they say!! There are genuine winners of these draws that companies have, well done. Also as I am great observer of architecture, I always enjoy seeing the churches that you photograph, Dave.
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby rdw123 » 10 Mar 2019 08:21

Well Dave you certainly brought back memories of the villages that I have visited over the years. Thanks. Lovely to see the anemonies, as you say it’s a start. Coltsfoot should be out very soon. A sign that spring is on the way although it doesn’t seem like it out there today. Cold and wet! Congratulations on your win.
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 11 Mar 2019 16:22

rdw123 wrote:Well Dave you certainly brought back memories of the villages that I have visited over the years. Thanks. Lovely to see the anemonies, as you say it’s a start. Coltsfoot should be out very soon. A sign that spring is on the way although it doesn’t seem like it out there today. Cold and wet! Congratulations on your win.

Hi Ruth. My wildflower knowledge is limited so I looked up coltsfoot and today I made a special effort to spot some... but without success. :(

My walk today mostly followed one of my favourite local countryside routes, but with a couple of variations. I did a short detour at Yorkletts to see what was up some unmade roads :D, and I took a hitherto untried footpath through the orchards between Hernhill and Boughton-under-Blean. I also chose paths through other orchards, so these became today's theme - I love orchards, at any time of the year!

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I took this photo near Highstreet because the view reminded me of the wonderful Windows XP wallpaper. It's a part of Victory Woods, which is a large open-access area.

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The footpath leading through orchards to Hernhill, with the church and houses just visible ahead...

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Looking back from the same path, with the wooded hill that I'll be returning over later...

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I love finding bridges like this one leading to the orchards south of Hernhill - it reminds me that some landowners do care about walkers. :D

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Leaving the orchards, I caught a glimpse of Mount Ephraim House.
Their website wrote:Mount Ephraim is a beautiful family-owned estate in the heart of the Kent countryside.

For over 300 years the Dawes family have lovingly cared for the house and gardens and today they present one of the breathtaking spots in the south-east of England. 10 acres of classical gardens lie within an 800-acre farm with stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Sitting at the top of the hill is the late-Victorian manor house...


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As with most of my walks, I returned home through my local woods.

I made a point of taking some less-used paths where lots of spring flowers can be found... but not just yet!

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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 12 Mar 2019 15:28

The walk I do more than any other is the 14 mile round trip to Canterbury. I do a variation of this route most weeks, so I reckon that in almost two-and-a-half years of hiking, I've done Canterbury and back at least 100 times!

As you probably realise, I never get bored with this route. It pretty much has everything - woods, a rural church, farmland, a farmyard, orchards, fine views, peace and quiet, my old university, and lots of alternative paths. Of the typical 14 miles to the centre of Canterbury and back, only about two miles are alongside roads, with the rest being footpaths and a cycle track that follows the Crab and Winkle Line - a railway line (now vanished) dating from 1830.

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I like to find a reason to visit Canterbury (other than just for the walk) and today it was easy... I'd won £100-worth of credit at Cotswold Outdoor and I needed to collect the card. (And I thought I might treat myself to something.) The wild and windy wet weather was a bonus!

I wouldn't normally report on this regular walk, but today I spotted something really great... A signpost! But this wasn't just any signpost...

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My route to Canterbury goes through a farm and a number of footpaths criss-cross both the farmyard and surrounding farmland, but strangely there were very few signposts (finger posts or waymarkers). The exception was for what I presumed was the landowner's preferred way for people to pass through the farm. So some weeks ago I informed the relevant county council office about all the places where signs had mysteriously gone missing. :angel: As can be seen from the photo above, one has reappeared. :D More about the others in a moment...

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The Crab and Winkle cycle route goes through the grounds of the University of Kent and it's precisely 4 miles from my door to the edge of the university. When I started walking to Canterbury regularly I used to see if I could get to this point in under an hour - quite a challenge since there are a number of hills along the way and a final steep slope to the blue sign that marks the university boundary. I'm pleased to say that this isn't particularly hard to achieve nowadays, and last week I did it in under 56 minutes. 8-)

A photo of a weir and footbridge over the Stour in Canterbury:

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On the way back home, I decided to check out the other places I'd reported signs missing. :lol:

Very nice - a new waymarker post at a junction of a footpath, a bridleway and a byway.

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And probably the most satisfying new sign - a fingerpost pointing to an open pedestrian entrance to the farmyard, which was previously blocked.

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And down the adjoining lane, I spotted a new fingerpost pointing across a field. I'd not had reason to cross that field before, but I did today - just to give purpose to the new sign.

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Looking back across the field, I took this photo to show that the stile had been repaired too...

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Beyond the farm the path enters our local woods. During the winter months I usually follow the cycle track, which is mainly gravel and cinders, but today I fancied doing some of the twisting and more interesting paths through the woods.

It's been very windy recently and there are obstacles everywhere...

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...and it's rained a lot too. Great fun!

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The Joys of Walking!

Postby judgegeoff » 12 Mar 2019 17:42

You could have bought some wellington boots with your card Dave (and a snorkel!). :D :D :D
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby rdw123 » 13 Mar 2019 07:44

Call me sceptical, I am, but I think that the landowners were hoping that the “lost footpaths “ would remain so! Good on you Dave. Too many of our rights of way are being “lost”. Did you get wellies and snorkel and flippers?
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 15 Mar 2019 15:44

Dave wrote:
rdw123 wrote:...Lovely to see the anemones, as you say it’s a start. Coltsfoot should be out very soon. A sign that spring is on the way although it doesn’t seem like it out there today...

Hi Ruth. My wildflower knowledge is limited so I looked up coltsfoot and today I made a special effort to spot some... but without success. :(


Having never knowingly seen coltsfoot I've been quite obsessed with finding some this week. The main problem has been that, from photos I've seen, the flowers look extremely like dandelions. In fact, yesterday I took a couple of photos of what I thought might be coltsfoot, only to find that they were dandelions. :oops:

But today I found some! :clap:

Some photos I'd seen showed the elusive plant growing on stony ground, so I thought that the wild, stony ground at the foot of the steep slopes between Herne Bay and Reculver was worth trying...

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...and that's where I found coltsfoot this morning:

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Here's a close-up showing the distinctive flower stems (to prove they're not dandelions!):

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A bit further on, I noticed some of the cliff had collapsed. The sign (now near the bottom) had warned that it might... ;)

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I'd checked the tide times for Reculver and was pleased to find that I would arrive almost exactly at low tide, which meant I could walk the last stretch to the towers a long way out from the shore.

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The walk was 17.5 miles and there was a very strong wind from the east, which is why I returned home by an inland route. It was still tough going though!
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby rdw123 » 16 Mar 2019 08:37

Well done Dave. They certainly are coltsfoot. Coming home in the coach yesterday I saw some on the roadside somewhere and thought of you. Next up will be wild garlic and the very delicate dogs Mercury. Saw a lot of it in woods along the way in
Staffordshire but a bit early for it to be out. Happy hunting. Ruth
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 16 Mar 2019 14:58

For today's weekend walk with my wife, we drove just a couple of miles to a Woodland Trust site called Victory Wood (link). It was (and still is!) extremely windy so we kept to hedge-lined lanes, orchards and woods as much as possible.

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There were a lot of rhododendrons in the woods we passed through and I spotted a few early flowers...

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On the OS map this bridleway is labelled 'Red Road (Track)' which suggests to me that it might be an ancient route. Spring seems to have come early to this bit of the woods...

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We came down from the woods into Dargate and were greeted by a friendly troll...

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Victory Wood was established in 2005 to mark the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar and there are several structures relating to HMS Victory. A structure on the top of the hill in the far distance represents the ship and this post shows how far a cannonball could be fired. A surprisingly long way!

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