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The Joys of Walking!

The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 13 May 2019 18:20

I did a brilliant walk today in the glorious sunshine, and I took a lot of photos along the way. I've managed to whittle them down to a modest 17 for this report though.

Yesterday, while I was wondering what to do today, it occurred to me that now we're in May there might be a ship in Dover, which would give me a reason to make the trip. It turned out that there would be two ships in - Viking Sun and Saga Sapphire - so I planned a walk to include the cruise terminal. This is supposed to be a cruising forum after all! ;)

As usual when I do a walk in the Dover area, I parked at Samphire Hoe; it's impossible to ever get bored with that wonderful place. After the 400ft ascent from sea level to the clifftop, I went across farmland to Church Hougham then along a high ridge to the outskirts of Dover. I went down a long way and up another very steep hill - following the North Downs Way to near Guston. Then it was down again and up again to the top of the White Cliffs. I checked out a brand new harbour wall near the cruise terminal before going along the harbour wall by the terminal to take some ship photos (like I used to in the old days!). Finally, I crossed a shingle beach and went over one last cliff before returning to the car.

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There are few better sights than the cliffs at Samphire Hoe. You can also see the long, steep tunnel ahead, which is the only way in and out of the place...

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After leaving the clifftops, I headed inland to Church Hougham. There is supposed to be a restricted byway going across this field, but there was no sign of one. So I reluctantly trudged through the wheat (the church spire of the church at Church Hougham is just visible to the left of centre):

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On the other side of the field I found the end of the 'byway' (thanks to GPS) and received my first nettle-stings of the year!

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Arriving in Church Hougham, with a nice photo (if I say so myself) of the spire and a rape field:

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As I like to do, I did a lap of the churchyard...

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Between Church Hougham and Dover, I followed a very straight and extremely nice path along the top of a ridge. After a couple of miles, Dover appeared below, with the castle beyond...

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A few miles further on, I passed the Duke of York's Royal Military School. The school is at the top of Jubilee Way - the long, steep road leading from the docks to the A2. I took the photo for Skier Pete who attended this rather posh school, but I'm not sure he follows my walking blogs... ;)

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The busy Jubilee Way is to the right of my photo looking back the way I came. It's so much nicer walking across Teletubby countryside down to the docks though!

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Along the way, I caught a glimpse of Dover Castle from a new perspective...

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Of course, the final stretch of path to the White Cliffs came out of the woods near the foot of the cliffs, so another climb was needed. However, the views in this area are fantastic! Oh look, there's Viking Sun (left) and Saga Sapphire in the distance...

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As can be seen from my map, this part of the walk wasn't strictly necessary but there really is no better viewpoint than the clifftop on a clear, sunny day!

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As I headed towards the cruise terminal I discovered that the ongoing redevelopment of Dover Harbour has included a new harbour wall (to enclose a new marina), so I walked out to the end - and back.

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Then I went to the old harbour wall that runs behind the cruise terminal. The last time I passed by, it was closed and I wasn't expecting it to have reopened - but it had, so I walked to the end to take some ship shots...

The almost brand new, and very luxurious, Viking Sun (I can see the 'infinity pool'!):

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And a somewhat older ship - Saga Sapphire: ;)

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I decided to head back to Samphire Hoe across the shingle beach which, as ever, was very hard work. I remembered doing this a year or so ago and saying never again! It was the most direct route though - with only that cliff (Shakespeare Cliff) between me and the car:

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Looking back to the harbour and the ships from the top of Shakespeare Cliff:

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And finally, it's all downhill from here. That's Samphire Hoe below, and I can just make out the nuclear power stations at Dungeness - 20 miles away!

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This was an excellent walk of almost 18 miles - about 10 miles of which was on previously unwalked paths - and wheat.

There really is nowhere quite like Dover! :thumbup:
Dave

Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
Remaining land-based holidays 2019: July - Peak District, August - Harris and Highlands, October - Brecon Beacons
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Gillzajoker » 14 May 2019 11:59

Wow, quite a walk there, Dave - and what photos! You have excelled yourself there! :D
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 14 May 2019 13:33

Gillzajoker wrote:Wow, quite a walk there, Dave - and what photos! You have excelled yourself there! :D

Thanks Gill! :D
Dave

Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
Remaining land-based holidays 2019: July - Peak District, August - Harris and Highlands, October - Brecon Beacons
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 20 May 2019 19:08

I chose the Hoo Peninsula for today's walk because it's somewhere I'd not been before (although I'd come close a few weeks ago on a couple of Dickens walks near Higham). Browsing the map, I discovered a cycle route in the area called the Heron Trail so I decided to do it exactly as signposted - but on foot.

Strangely, in over 17 miles and despite there supposedly being about 300 heron and 100 egrets nearby, I didn't see a single heron or egret all day. Not one!

I passed some castles and churches though, so I suggest the route is renamed to the Castles and Churches Trail...

This map shows where the Hoo Peninsula is, just in case you've not heard of it. It's formed by the Thames to the north and the Medway to the south. The map also shows that I went further north in Kent on a walk than I've ever been before. :D

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And the zoomed-in map shows that that northernmost point was the village of Cliffe.

I parked in a car park at Upnor very close to Upnor Castle (which is really a fort that once guarded the Medway).

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Cycle routes are very easy to follow!

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Just before Cliffe, I walked past a huge lake where I expected to see hundreds of herons and egrets. I saw one swan (the small white speck just right of centre).

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Cliffe was quite nice and had a very impressive church:

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Cooling Castle looked even more impressive - at least, the bit I could see did. Sadly, it's privately owned and not much more than the gatehouse can be seen from the road...

Cooling Castle is a 14th-century quadrangular castle in the village of Cooling, Kent on the Hoo Peninsula about 6 miles (9.7 km) north of Rochester. It was built in the 1380s by the Cobham family, the local lords of the manor, to guard the area against French raids into the Thames Estuary. The castle has an unusual layout, comprising two walled wards of unequal size next to each other, surrounded by moats and ditches. It was the earliest English castle designed for the use of gunpowder weapons by its defenders. (Wikipedia)


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...well, there's a also a tower a bit further on:

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This is Cooling Church. Although the castle and church are a long way from the Thames, they were once on the coast - and the path called The Saxon Shore Way passes through the village.

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I did a short detour into the RSPB sanctuary near Cooling where I thought there might be a viewpoint. There was - all the way across to Essex!

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The next village was High Halstow, which unsurprisingly was situated atop a high hill. Apparently it's famous for its herons...

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Nope, still no herons. But it does have a very nice church.

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Of the three villages so far, I thought Cliffe was okay while Cooling and High Halstow were really quaint. Next was Hoo Saint Werburgh where probably the best thing about it was its name!

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And finally... I returned to Upnor and went down to the river where I could see Chatham Dockyard on the other side:

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Upnor Castle is owned by English Heritage and I've been inside before when I was a member. Today, I just took a photo of the main entrance - and another of a wonderful house nearby.

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Overall, this was a very pleasant and interesting walk, and following a cycle route made it very easy. The countryside that I saw was extremely varied, with orchards, soft fruit (orchards?), crops and animals, and some of the villages were very picturesque. Although I stuck to country lanes and the occasional cycle track, I noticed many tempting footpaths in the area so I'll be back for another visit before too long!
Dave

Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
Remaining land-based holidays 2019: July - Peak District, August - Harris and Highlands, October - Brecon Beacons
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby rdw123 » 21 May 2019 08:31

Lovely photos Dave that brought back some memories. There used to be a big heronry on the RSPB reserve at High Halstow when I lived down there. They are quite shy birds so perhaps they have gone elsewhere to nest. In the recesses of what passes for a brain I seem to remember one to the castles being owned by a singer, possibly Jools Holland. Whether that’s right or not I don’t know. The memory plays funny tricks after a while! The training ship Arethusa used to be moored at Upnor, I remember that well.
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 21 May 2019 09:01

rdw123 wrote:Lovely photos Dave that brought back some memories. There used to be a big heronry on the RSPB reserve at High Halstow when I lived down there. They are quite shy birds so perhaps they have gone elsewhere to nest. In the recesses of what passes for a brain I seem to remember one to the castles being owned by a singer, possibly Jools Holland. Whether that’s right or not I don’t know. The memory plays funny tricks after a while! The training ship Arethusa used to be moored at Upnor, I remember that well.

Well fancy that... I had no idea I was so close to someone famous! :D
Wikipedia wrote:The ownership of the castle is split three ways; the barn is used as a party and wedding venue, the inner ward was owned for many years by the Rochester Bridge Wardens, and the house's current occupant is the musician Jools Holland.
Dave

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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Gillzajoker » 21 May 2019 14:14

Lovely photos of beautiful villages there, Dave - shame about the herons and egrets! :D
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 27 May 2019 13:14

I originally planned yesterday's weekend walk with my wife as a solo walk. I wanted to link up an 'orphaned' group of walks around Cranbrook with my main network and I also wanted to go through Tenterden, which I hadn't seen since the 1970s and remembered as being really nice. Those requirements made for a 20+ mile walk and a long drive and I wasn't expecting Fred to be keen, but when I tentatively asked if she wanted to do it on Sunday she readily agreed. :D

The first map shows how the walk linked up with the four-leaf-clover group to the west:


(Click to enlarge.)

We parked in Biddenden and set off across pleasant meadows. We soon entered some very extensive woodland and it was about 5 miles before we left it and crossed the posh grounds of Benenden School. It was there that we joined a waymarked route called the High Weald Landscape Trail, which we followed for about 8 miles all the way into Tenterden. We returned to Biddenden via country lanes and across more meadows. The total distance was exactly 21 miles.

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Leaving Biddenden:

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Me in a field full of buttercups:

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As we entered the woods, we came across a novel sign... :shock:

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The woods north of Benenden are collectively known as Hemsted Forest, which is mostly open access and very pleasant:

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One of the many great advantages of walking is that public footpaths can cross otherwise private land such as golf courses, country estates... and extremely posh schools! Benenden School is a private boarding school for girls set in 240 acres of glorious countryside and includes Princess Anne in its list of famous ex-pupils. We were able to walk right through the middle of the grounds...

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We stopped in Benenden for coffee before heading for Rolvenden where we had our sandwiches in the churchyard:

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This is the idyllic view as we left the churchyard. The High Weald Landscape Trail is well waymarked, clear and easy to follow:

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Everywhere in this south-western-most part of Kent is picture-postcard wonderful. This is the view soon after leaving Rolvenden Layne:

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We had a treat as we neared Tenterden - a train of the historic Kent & East Sussex Railway went past us. Sadly, it wasn't a steam train, but it was special all the same:

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Soon after, we arrived in Tenterden and I wasn't disappointed. In fact, and in my very humble opinion, Tenterden is probably the most attractive town in the whole of Kent. We stopped at one of the many coffee shops before setting off on the final leg of the walk.

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With a mile still to go, we reached the 20 mile mark - only the second time that Fred has achieved the feat, so a little celebration was well-deserved! :thumbup:

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Interestingly, in the area where we walked there are at least 12 place names ending in -enden as well as some areas and woods. It's thought to be derived from an Old English word for 'woodland pasture'.
Dave

Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
Remaining land-based holidays 2019: July - Peak District, August - Harris and Highlands, October - Brecon Beacons
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby judgegeoff » 27 May 2019 14:50

Great photos Dave and very well done to Fred for achieving a 20 plus mile hike. I always enjoy reading your reports and they always remind me that we live in such a beautiful County. :clap:
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 27 May 2019 15:12

judgegeoff wrote:Great photos Dave and very well done to Fred for achieving a 20 plus mile hike. I always enjoy reading your reports and they always remind me that we live in such a beautiful County. :clap:

Thanks Geoff. I guess you'd consider Tenterden to be local to you, being less than 13 miles away as the crow flies...

I probably mentioned it at the time, but I thought I'd visited Tenterden on a walk a year or so ago. I'd come via High Halden and arrived at the southern end of St Michael's - thinking it was Tenterden - before heading north again. I was very disappointed! That's why I wanted to see all of it, and properly, this time.
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Remaining land-based holidays 2019: July - Peak District, August - Harris and Highlands, October - Brecon Beacons
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