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The Joys of Walking!

Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby rdw123 » 06 Dec 2019 08:47

Lovely photos Dave. Kent is not quite as hilly as where I was last week, Madeira. It’s lovely though.
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 07 Jan 2020 15:19

It's five weeks since I last updated this topic and I'd hate for anyone to think I've given up exploring Kent, so I must post something - no matter how unexciting! :)

The problem is of course, that short winter days aren't conducive to driving long distances to do walks, so I stick mainly to familiar local routes.

Today though, an opportunity arose to do several miles of previously unwalked paths. My wife was driving to a meeting in Sittingbourne, so I went with her and walked home. The route was simple: alongside the A2 (London Road), alongside the A299 (Thanet Way) and alongside the A2990 (Old Thanet Way).

The novel part was that I'd not walked the first seven miles of the A2 between Sittingbourne and Faversham before! After Faversham I could have taken quiet, scenic routes, but I decided to make this a Major Road Walk. Well, why not?

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A rare peaceful moment on the A2:

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Path alongside the A299 dual carriageway:

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The A2990 - nearly home!

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The walk was 17.5 miles, it took just over 4 hours and, except for a short detour needed to cross the dual carriageway via a bridge, the whole walk was alongside mostly busy roads. But despite that, it was an enjoyable morning. I've driven that route dozens of times, but walking provides a completely new perspective - it's more 'real' than when whizzing past in an insulated box!

My photos aren't very exciting, but I took this much nicer one on my walk yesterday. I did a familiar 20+ mile loop between home and Reculver Towers - here they are from the eastern side...

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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Gillzajoker » 08 Jan 2020 14:24

Certainly something different for you. Like the last photo, though. :D
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby rdw123 » 09 Jan 2020 09:01

The A2 did look quiet for a change. All the traffic must have been on the M2. The view looks familiar but it’s been a long time since I drove that way. Happy hiking.
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 28 Jan 2020 16:52

I've walked 294 miles so far this month, but today's was the first walk where I've driven to the start and driven home afterwards. It really is the time of year for local walks!

Today though, I needed to go to the garden centre near Ramsgate and I also wanted to visit a store at Westwood. So I parked at the garden centre, took a less than direct route to Westwood, then did a circuit to visit Thanet's other main towns - including Margate and Broadstairs.

The Isle of Thanet (or just Thanet!) is a place of real contrasts. There are extremely posh areas, with some of the most expensive houses I've seen, not far from some of the most deprived areas I've seen (in the UK of course). There are farms that are surrounded by urban streets. There are wonderful sandy beaches and impressive chalk cliffs and tacky amusement arcades. There are lighthouses, forts and castles, and grotty industrial areas. I could go on!.. But despite all that (or perhaps because of it) it's a fascinating place to explore and my route was mostly new to me.

Where I parked is marked on the map with a green disc. The 'extension' near Westgate-on-Sea was added to ensure the walk was of a reasonable length.

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The agriculture on Thanet isn't particularly diverse - the crops are mostly cabbages and cauliflower, especially at this time of year. Most of the walk was on pavements and good paths, but I crossed some muddy cabbage fields too (or perhaps they were cauliflower fields...).

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Arriving at the North Kent coast near Westgate:

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Margate: The Turner Contemporary art gallery is on the far left. The brown blocky building on the right is the entrance to Dreamland, Margate's popular amusement park. The huge sandy beach is quite amazing!

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A smaller beach near Kingsgate, with a chalk arch in the centre of the photo:

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At the top of the hill beyond the field of brassica is North Foreland lighthouse, the twin of South Foreland lighthouse that can be seen from the sea at Dover.

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The walk was 16.6 miles and very satisfying because of the sheer variety of sights on offer. :thumbup:
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby Camela » 28 Jan 2020 17:08

Interesting walk Dave. Mr P often mentions visiting Dreamland Margate when visiting relatives there in the 60s!! I was unaware of the Turner Contemporary despite loving the man's works, many of which I've viewed in conventional galleries. It seems his association is somewhat loose, a bit similar to the Turner Prize.
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Gillzajoker » 29 Jan 2020 11:53

Looks a lovely peaceful area - and you had a nice day for it. :D
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 29 Jan 2020 19:00

I wouldn't usually write up a local walk that I've done variations of many times before, but it was sunny so I took lots of photos and I had a target to try and beat!

I collect my two grandsons from school on Wednesdays so I limit myself to a morning walk of up to about 15 miles. Today, I decided to walk along the coast to Herne Bay and return through Blean Woods. Before setting off, I checked the tide times because there's a shingle strip at nearby Tankerton that's only exposed at low tide and I like to see how far out to sea I can get. Low tide was at the ideal time of 9.29am and so a record was on the cards! :)

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It's about a mile-and-a-half to the coast at Tankerton and as I arrived at the top of the grassy slopes I could see that the tide was a long way out...

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The Street, as the shingle strip is known, is about half-a-mile long. I could see someone kite-surfing and someone on the shingle taking photos of them...

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I reached the end of The Street at 9.24am. I thought I had 5 minutes before the tide would be as low as it would get, but after about 2 minutes I realised it was actually coming in!...

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There was nothing for it but to splosh out as far as I could in a desperate attempt to beat my previous best distance. My Salomon walking shoes did surprisingly well but there was a brisk wind and the waves were coming over my ankles. I turned back and took a photo...

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When I later checked the distance, I found that it was identical to my previous best attempt. Oh well, another time...

Further down the coast I crossed Long Rock, which is an SSSI and popular with bird watchers. I took the photo looking back to Tankerton Slopes, which are visible in the distance.

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This is the promenade between Long Rock and Herne Bay, the outskirts of which can be seen ahead. Also visible are the forlorn remains of a pier a long way out to sea:

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The seafront at Herne Bay - gardens, pavilion and clock tower all looking good in the January sun!

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This is the Amy Johnson Bronze statue on the promenade. Amy Johnson died when her plane crashed off Herne Bay in 1941.

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At the far end of Herne Bay is another statue - Sir Barnes Wallace tested the 'bouncing bomb' here...

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Leaving Herne Bay, I headed inland to the village of Herne. This is Herne Mill:

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The centre of quaint Herne:

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About a mile past Herne I reached Blean Woods, which I would be walking through for about the next 5 miles. The South East of England has more woodland than any other region, and Kent has more Ancient woodland than any other county - by definition, Ancient woodlands have existed for at least about 400 years and are very different from the northern conifer plantations that some call forests! ;) The Ancient Blean Woods covers about 11sq miles and I'm extremely lucky to have it right on my doorstep.

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The conifers here don't grow in perfectly straight lines...

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A nice open track lined with silver birch and broom:

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Less than a mile to go. This track leading to/from a farm has to be my favourite walking spot, simply because about half of all my walks start or end here. :)

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The walk was quite excellent - a little over 15 miles in 3h 44m in lovely crisp sunshine and I was back in time for an early lunch. :)
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby rdw123 » 30 Jan 2020 06:59

Lovely photos Dave. You will need to go back to Blean in a couple of months for the bluebells.
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 30 Jan 2020 08:50

rdw123 wrote:Lovely photos Dave. You will need to go back to Blean in a couple of months for the bluebells.

Thanks Ruth. I'm looking forward to the bluebells, but I think wood anemones come first. Can't wait!
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