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The Joys of Walking!

The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 07 Sep 2019 15:40

Just a very brief update from today's weekend walk with my wife...

We parked in the lovely old village of Eastry, a few miles west of Sandwich. We did a circuit through Finglesham, Northbourne and Betteshanger, following the White Cliffs Country Trail for much of the way, with the return to Eastry being along a bridleway on the line of a Roman Road.

The weather was overcast with occasional drizzle, so we didn't take many photos.

In fact, I wouldn't have bothered with this post at all... except that we finally found the legendary signpost! :D

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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Gillzajoker » 08 Sep 2019 10:16

And now it's preserved for posterity! :D
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Postby Dave » 09 Sep 2019 18:55

I'd hoped to do a circular walk today between Tonbridge to Tunbridge Wells but it's a long drive and the weather forecast was for rain so I decided to wait for a sunny day when I can take nice sunny photos!

Instead, I found an area closer to home with villages I've not passed through before, which include Tilmanstone, Eythorne and Elvington. I'd also spotted somewhere called Knowlton on the map that looked intriguing being a hamlet at the end of a no through road.

I didn't mind the prospect of rain. I bought a new waterproof jacket a few weeks ago (a Rohan Vertex), which had only seen a little drizzle so far and I was looking forward to testing it some more. :D So I parked in Eastry, where my wife and I started our weekend walk from on Saturday, and set off on the 15.5 mile loop...

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The walk was mainly on quiet country lanes, which was just as well. I wore my non-waterproof walking shoes (Merrell Cham 7 Slam Luna, since I'm mentioning gear for once - what a mouthful!) and within seconds of taking this track my feet were soaked. And I'd decided not to bother with overtrousers so my legs were soon soaked too.

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I always like to do a lap of churchyards and there were a few on this walk. I always take photos as well - the top two are of the church at Tilmanstone (the yew tree is enormous), bottom-left is the church at Elvington, and bottom-right is the one at Chillenden:

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At Eythorne, I passed a railway station of the East Kent Railway. Trains run between here and Shepherdswell where the station is right by the North Downs Way.

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Although not much evidence remains, this area was an important coal mining region and The Miners' Way Trail is a circular heritage walk of about 27 miles:

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I was very pleased that I paid a visit to Knowlton Court. The estate is full of quite amazing properties and I believe it's owned by the Fox-Pitt family (of equestrian fame). There were lots of trees and I couldn't get a very good photo of the big house, but this might give an idea of what the place is like...

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Not far from Knowlton is Chillenden Windmill - apparently it's an open-trestle post mill and the last one built in Kent. I went up the stairs but the door was locked.

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The rain came down incessantly for over two hours before easing to a fine drizzle, but it was a very good outing all the same. My feet might have been wet, but the jacket was great - the most breathable one I've had yet! :D
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby Camela » 09 Sep 2019 22:57

Dave, what are you going to do when you run out of Kent walks....move?!!
"Won't you let me take you on a sea cruise"
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Postby Gillzajoker » 10 Sep 2019 11:36

Lovely photos, Dave .....but what happened to the waterproof socks????? :D
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 10 Sep 2019 14:51

Camela wrote:Dave, what are you going to do when you run out of Kent walks....move?!!

:lol: I don't think I'll ever do that... or that!
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 10 Sep 2019 14:52

Gillzajoker wrote:Lovely photos, Dave .....but what happened to the waterproof socks????? :D

Oh Gill, have you learned nothing from my posts? Waterproof socks are for boots, not shoes. ;)
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 10 Sep 2019 18:56

In addition to my explorations of Kent, I do at least three walks each week from home. I rarely mention these because they mostly cover the same old ground and I hardly ever take photos - and I do like to put photos into a walk report!

But I'll make an exception today. I noticed this morning that, since I began recording my walks less than 3 years ago, I'd reached 7,999 miles. So almost as soon as I set off I would pass a significant milestone, and I decided to celebrate by taking photos and reporting an otherwise entirely typical local walk.

Doing a local walk doesn't need a reason, but I'm always happy to have one. Yesterday, I discovered that I needed to replace the heater in my aquarium and since there's a garden centre with a fish section about 7 miles away, that was good enough for me. Even better was that 6 miles of that is through wonderful woodland.

My route is shown on the map below with the garden centre being south of Herne Common. The return part of the route is convoluted because I have targets to meet(!) and I wanted to do over 15 miles today:

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Exactly 0.6 miles into the walk I reached Brooklands Farm and the cycle path south to Canterbury. I love this spot because most of my local walks head towards the woods from here before going their various ways. The woods in question are collectively known as The Blean, which is one of England's largest areas of ancient woodland. The Blean covers over 11 square miles and is about 18 miles across east to west. We'll be there in another half-mile...

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There are several claimants to the title of being the first passenger railway in Britain, including the Crab and Winkle Line that opened in 1830 and ran between Canterbury and Whitstable. The tracks went straight through these woods and I'm following a path where trains once ran...

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After about a mile of a gentle uphill gradient the path reaches a winding pond. There was a stationary engine here that helped pull trains up the slope, but only the pond remains. Well, except for the rubbish left by some indescribable, er, person.

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A lovely waymarked trail called the Big Blean Walk passes through The Blean for about 27 miles. I've walked it all, but piecemeal during other walks.

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I took this photo because I like this spot, especially in winter. It's a great place for holly...

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And I took this photo because I remember someone saying they love heather - here's some heather!

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This is the view along the very long and very straight path that can be seen on the map. Despite it being designated as a footpath, it has a name: New Road. Perhaps it was a road once (animals used to be driven through the woods to the coast a long time ago), but I'm not sure about the history of this path. It's very nice though. I was going to say that I hardly ever meet anyone along here, but about halfway along I passed a group of Woodland Trust volunteers drinking cups of tea!

Just before the end of New Road, the path passes the side of a wildlife park called Wildwood and animals can sometimes be seen through the undergrowth. The park has two bears and their enclosure is close to the path. As I passed by once, I saw a bear through the trees. I knew there were bears there, but I've often wondered what someone who didn't know they were passing a wildlife park might think... (Incidentally, Wildwood was in the news recently for breeding Scottish wildcats.)

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The garden centre is only a short way along a busy road near Wildwood but walking along the road involves a blind bend which is dangerous, so I went the slightly less dangerous way in the opposite direction to make my way across fields and arrive at the garden centre from a lane behind it. Someone has made a feeble attempt at blocking the path across the field:

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There's a really nice house on the aforementioned lane so I took a photo.

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I bought an aquarium heater then went back down the lane towards a small wood near the village of Herne. I walked through the wood...

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...and arrived in the village:

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Returning towards home, I followed lanes but crossed farmland whenever possible. One of the few remaining crops in fields at this time of the year is corn - I love corn fields despite getting quite lost in one once!

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From here, a solar farm can be seen. We have a lot of them around here and although I'm generally in favour, they have their downsides too.

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And finally - one of my favourite buildings in nearby Chestfield. It's called The Barn and it's a posh restaurant surrounded on three sides by Chestfield Golf Course. I'm not a fan of golf, but I do enjoy crossing golf courses on public rights of way.

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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby rdw123 » 11 Sep 2019 07:57

Lovely photos Dave. Its a great area, just a pity about the moron who dumped their rubbish. Why do they feel the need?! The trees will soon take on their wonderful autumn colours. I love the colours but not the idea that it will soon be winter, I hate the winter. Happy hiking.
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Gillzajoker » 11 Sep 2019 10:17

Dave wrote:
Gillzajoker wrote:Lovely photos, Dave .....but what happened to the waterproof socks????? :D

Oh Gill, have you learned nothing from my posts? Waterproof socks are for boots, not shoes. ;)


Doh! :oops:

Really enjoyed all those photos, Dave - and the interesing and informative commentary! :D
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