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The Joys of Walking!

The Joys of Walking!

Postby Gillzajoker » 07 Jul 2019 10:20

What an interesting looking castle - And a lovely way to end your walk. :D
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 08 Jul 2019 17:40

Today I continued my quest to see all of Kent with a walk in the far north-west of the county. :D

As usual, I searched for a good place to park and found a small country park at Camer, near Meopham. By the way, as with some other villages in this area, Meopham isn't pronounced as you might expect... it's more like 'meppam'. I set off in a northerly direction because I wanted to join the Weald Way trail and follow it south as far as Trottiscliffe. And guess how Trottiscliffe is pronounced... that's right, it's 'trozli' of course! :?

I returned to Camer on a variety of bridleways and footpaths, making the 16.5 mile walk about 90% off-road.

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Rather than post photos from all along the walk, I thought I'd focus on two of the highlights - the chalk downs around Luddesdown ('Ludsdun') and the neolithic burial chamber called Coldrum Long Barrow.

I've passed through the Luddesdown area a couple of times before and been amazed by how chalky the land is, but today it was even more amazing...

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I've visited a few neolithic sites on my Kent walks, such as Kit's Coty House and Little Kit's Coty House near Bluebell Hill, but I didn't know about Coldrum Long Barrow until I (almost literally) stumbled across it as I was walking along the edge of a field. It's only accessible on foot so it's probably little known, but it's the most impressive neolithic site I've seen in Kent and well worth the effort of visiting...

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My photos don't do it justice because I couldn't get it all in - there are more stones than it appears!

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My route towards Trottiscliffe took me over and down a high ridge of the North Downs and going back over the ridge was a fair climb. At this point I'm heading along the side of a field, before turning left towards the ridge...

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Several miles later - crossing the final field!

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I've done several bits of the Weald Way now and it really is a lovely, scenic route. I will do more! :D
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby rdw123 » 09 Jul 2019 07:24

My education continues! Despite living relatively nearby I never knew the site existed. Walked nearby lots of times but never that way. Thanks Dave.
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Gillzajoker » 09 Jul 2019 12:18

Lovely to learn about the chalkiness of the area, but the Coldrum Neolithic site was fascinating.

The pronunciation of names is a mine field! In the olden days when I worked as a secretary, we were
always exhorted to take special care with the spelling of names, as this was seen as ultra important back then. Who could guess that Cholmondeley would be pronounced Chumly, or Featherstonehaugh
as Fanshaw? :lol:
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 11 Jul 2019 18:13

My quest to cover the whole of Kent continues unabated! :D

A few days ago I included some of the Weald Way in my walk (see my previous post). I'd done some bits of the Weald Way on other walks, but not the first few miles out of Gravesend. Actually, I'd never seen Gravesend town or its Thames waterfront before and it was time to pay a visit. So I decided to park at Shorne Woods Country Park and do a circular walk that incorporated the Weald Way and several hamlets and villages I'd not seen previously.

My route took me through Shorne, across country to the (disused) Thames & Medway Canal, along the waterfront in Gravesend to the start of the Weald Way, along the Weald Way as far as Sole Street, through orchards to Cobham, and back to the country park via the intriguingly-named Thong. :D

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Having walked through posh Shorne I followed a footpath into the countryside and had my first view of the Thames and Essex beyond...

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The footpath leading to the canal (which runs close to and almost parallel with the Thames) was rather more overgrown than I'd hoped. I was scratched and stung for about the first half-mile...

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...and I pushed through some much nicer vegetation towards the end!

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Finally, I crossed railway tracks and an ancient swing bridge and I was ready to follow the canal into Gravesend:

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The canal is rather pleasant:

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The path alongside the canal forms part of the National Cycle Route 1 (which also passes very close to where I live), but I saw no cyclists. The cycle path also enters Gravesend through the most unwelcoming and unattractive bit of Kent I've ever seen (note the cycle route sign on the concrete block). Welcome to Gravesend! :?

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It's hard to imagine, but the path into Gravesend got far less welcoming and I had to make a few detours, but eventually I arrived at the waterside. Phew! :D

There was a pleasant grassy park, a bevy of swans, a nice old pier, and a cruise ship across the Thames at Tilbury - CMV's Columbus.

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My short stroll along the Thames was quite excellent - I passed a light-ship...

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...and another antique pier:

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Heading away from the river, I reached the start of the Weald Way (although I saw no signs to indicate I had), and walked through and out of Gravesend. With the exception of the waterfront area, I wasn't particularly impressed with the place, which felt to me much more like part of London than a town in Kent. Still, at least I've seen it now.

Gravesend stretches right up to the A2, a very busy 2x4-lane road, but once I crossed over it on a footbridge everything changed. I was back in the wonderful countryside again! For me, this photo sums up the Weald Way... :thumbup:

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I reached the point near Sole Street where I joined the Weald Way on Monday to head south, and set off for Cobham. The track was mostly through lovely orchards...

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From Cobham (which I've visited before and reported on), I followed a typically perfect wooded bridleway to the A2, and on through country lanes to Thong (very small and nice) and back to the country park. This is the view towards the Thames from somewhere between Thong and Shorne:

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The walk was 17.4 miles and the waterfront and country areas were extremely pleasant. And now I've seen Gravesend... ;)
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby Camela » 11 Jul 2019 19:33

I also like lightvessels Dave! They look reassuring. We used to sail out of the Hamble and the old Calshot vessel was our signpost to the estuary.
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Gillzajoker » 12 Jul 2019 10:26

From your otherwise lovely pics., I can see why you were lwss than enchanted with Gravesend. Still, you can tick it off your list now! :D
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 16 Jul 2019 18:56

It's been a little while since my last update. My daughters organised and hosted the Maidstone Vegan Festival at the weekend and so we had the grandsons for a couple of days, although once they'd gone we managed a local walk around nearby Graveney Marshes. Yesterday I did one of my regular walks to Canterbury and back and broke my speed record for the outbound section - 6 miles at an average speed of 4.3mph or 14mins per mile. :D

Probably it was due to yesterday's exertions along with the 26C temperature that today's walk was more tiring than it should have been. But it was excellent all the same.

Still focused on my aim of visiting every part of Kent on foot, I chose an area that I'd neglected so far - the countryside and villages to the south of Maidstone. The problem has been my unwillingness to drive through Maidstone, but it had to be done!

I parked in a free car park by the church in Linton and followed a waymarked trail called the Greensand Way as far as Ulcombe. The Greensand Way runs along a high ridge that provides fantastic views. For the return, I descended to the foot of the ridge and made my way back across farmland and along narrow lanes. The walk ended at a little over 17 very hot miles!

This area is quite probably the most scenic and picturesque part of Kent I've seen so far. :thumbup:

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Setting off along the Greensand Way from the churchyard at Linton:

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The area is full of orchards, and this photo gives some idea of the views from the ridge:

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I passed a goat sanctuary...

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The farmland isn't all covered in orchards - here the path goes through a field of corn:

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The route occasionally took me through woodland and there were some very steep sections too. Near here, I had a little difficulty finding the correct path and I climbed these steps twice!

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I passed several churches and took photos of them all. But I'm including lots of photos today, so just the one at Sutton Valence will have to suffice:

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Sutton Valence is as perfect a village as ever I've seen - I passed above it on the outbound section and through it below on the return...

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Another view of Sutton Valence from the Greensand Way:

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Nearing Ulcombe, I walked through a field of... courgettes?

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Here, I've descended through Ulcombe and my route takes me through varied farmland. Here's my absolute favourite crop - strawberries!

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There are some extremely posh schools in the area - I think this is Sutton Valence School:

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A lovely rural scene, with hay being cut in the distance:

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I did a quick lap of Sutton Valence Castle:

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Soon after leaving the castle I was treated to yet another wonderful view of Sutton Valence...

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Much of the land between Sutton Valence and Linton is part of the Linton Park estate. This area is a deer park and there are deer in the photo, although they're some way off!

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Still on the Linton estate, I had to get past a herd of cattle. Most moved away as I approached, but one stood its ground and I went by carefully!

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On the hill in the distance I could see the big house. It has a very big garden!

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And finally, it was a long steep climb up to Linton and I was pleased to reach the churchyard where my walk had begun several hours earlier...

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As I think I've suggested, this is a fantastic area. My walk today didn't connect with any previous walks, so joining it up with my others is the next challenge... :D
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby Camela » 16 Jul 2019 22:59

Dave, what happens when you've exhausted all the walks in Kent? Do you move to Sussex?
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby rdw123 » 17 Jul 2019 08:19

I agree SuttonValence is a lovely area which we used to enjoy walking in. I can understand your reluctance to drive through Maidstone though. It always used to be a nightmare! I have been buying a lot of strawberries which have come from Kent. They were always good from that area. Lovely photos which brought back memories. Thanks
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