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The Joys of Walking!

The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 18 Apr 2017 15:31

This is where we stopped for lunch yesterday. We were in the woods near Charing in Kent and we found a suitable fallen tree amongst the bluebells. This is the life!

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We love walking and we do as much of it as we can. For me, that means three or four long walks a week on my own. Unlike me, my wife still has to go to work and so we can only go walking together at weekends and during the school holidays. This Easter, we managed to fit eight walks into the two weeks - not bad considering it was my younger daughter's wedding last week and we also looked after the grandkids on three days!

We had something of a theme for the holiday. We love the North Downs Way - a National Trail that spends a lot of its time in Kent and is only a few miles from us at the nearest point. For every walk but one, we included a section of the Trail - and we've decided to try to complete the entire walk before too long. We always plan circular walks so the NDW section is usually about a third of the whole walk with the rest being footpaths and single-track lanes. Working out a route can take a very long time!

Doing so many walks makes any kind of regular 'review' unrealistic so I'll post just one photo from each of our Easter walks...


Walk 1: The Wye Downs, Brabourne and Brook.

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Wonderful views from the high path, then down to Brook (where Fred once lived) and a very steep climb back to the car park above the Devil's Kneading Trough.


Walk 2: Challock, Boughton Aluph and other small villages.

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Lovely villages and hamlets with one highlight being a medieval manor by a lake.


Walk 3: Blean Woods and Harbledown.

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After several miles of walking through Blean Woods we ate lunch in the rather amazing No Man's Orchard near Chartham Hatch. Another highlight was Bigbury Camp - the site of an Anglo Saxon fort where (probably) the first battle against the Romans took place.


Walk 4: Samphire Hoe, the Warren and Folkestone.

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An absolutely spectacular walk along the top of the cliffs between Dover and Folkestone. That's a part of Samphire Hoe below us and I can see our car. We also explored The Warren at Folkestone - a wild nature reserve at the foot of the cliffs that feels almost prehistoric.


Walk 5: Sandwich, Deal and golf courses!

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The previous walk involved a lot of very steep climbs so we did a totally flat walk for the next (nowhere near the North Downs). We came along the coast from Sandwich to Deal, and returned inland. There's a very exclusive housing estate here which is surrounded by three golf courses. We enjoy looking at how the other half lives and this property would suit us nicely!


Walk 6: The Downs near Hythe and the Elham Valley.

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Fantastic views across idyllic countryside. This walk included a short section of the Elham Valley Way, which we intend to see more of soon.


Walk 7: The Downs overlooking Folkestone and the Channel.

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In two weeks of wonderful views, this walk probably topped the lot. And in addition to the fantastic countryside, one section of the walk gave us a bird's eye view of the entire Channel Tunnel complex - fascinating!


Walk 8: Westwell, Charing and Little Chart (first photo above!).

We've seen a great many lovely hamlets in Kent, but we think that Westwell is probably the most lovely we've seen so far.


So... why have I bothered to post all this? (I hear you ask!). Well, I think it's fair to say that our interest in cruising has waned somewhat recently. We've got a cruise booked for this Christmas and we'll probably continue to enjoy Caribbean sun on future Christmas cruises, but we love hiking and we plan to do as much as we can during our holidays. So we're off to the Cotswolds at Whitsun and the Outer Hebrides in the summer, and we're planning a full-blown walking holiday for the summer too. Of course I intend to keep this forum going for as long as members want it, but at the same time I can post bits and pieces about walking and hiking in this little corner...

:D
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Booked cruise: Marella Explorer - Caribbean, Christmas 2018
Booked walking holidays: Easter: Cotswolds; Summer: Kintyre & Islay
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby judgegeoff » 18 Apr 2017 18:53

Beautiful countryside Dave, thanks for sharing your photos with us. :thumbup:
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby rdw123 » 19 Apr 2017 07:04

Lovely photos that brought back memories of when I lived in Rochester. Hoping to go for a walk in the woods myself today to see the bluebells. Not so many up here in the Fens.
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby grannyM » 19 Apr 2017 11:06

Great photos Dave. What beautiful countryside views.

Glad you had such nice weather for your walks. We love a good walk (although probably not as far as you) but unfortunately recently it's not been as often as we would like. Sadly between the biting North winds and almost constant showery weather we have been very limited. :(
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Postby Gillzajoker » 19 Apr 2017 11:26

Gorgeous pics., Dave - and lovely to hear how much you enjoy it - I shall experience it vicariously through your posts (COPD so don't walk much). Yes, the Form is slow at the moment, so anything of a different interest to entice people back is all to the good. You'll have to get me off here kicking and screaming! :lol:
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Postby Trace » 19 Apr 2017 18:23

Fabulous Dave... I too walk a lot.. Walked 6.75 miles today, ( I wear a Fitbit)

I'm lucky as live near some lovely woods to walk our dog, also not far from the beach :)

Hope Oscar and Luca are well. And I hope your daughters wedding went well....... Any chance of any pics of the happy day?
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Postby Dave » 19 Apr 2017 20:09

Trace wrote:Fabulous Dave... I too walk a lot.. Walked 6.75 miles today, ( I wear a Fitbit)

I'm lucky as live near some lovely woods to walk our dog, also not far from the beach :)

Hope Oscar and Luca are well. And I hope your daughters wedding went well....... Any chance of any pics of the happy day?

Hi Trace

The kids are very well thanks. I'll see what I can do about some wedding pics... :D
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Booked cruise: Marella Explorer - Caribbean, Christmas 2018
Booked walking holidays: Easter: Cotswolds; Summer: Kintyre & Islay
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Postby Dave » 20 Apr 2017 15:13

Although it wouldn't be feasible to write up every walk I do I'd like to use this topic from time to time to highlight some of 'The Joys of Walking' that I (or we) experience.

Today I decided to walk through our local woods and return along the coast. We're extremely fortunate to live close to Blean Woods which is ancient woodland covering about 11 sq miles. I've explored the woods many times but I always manage to find an unexplored track along the way. You can see some of Blean Woods in the map below - it's the area of dark green - but there's still more to the south and south-west.

There are bluebells in the local woods, but they're not nearly as prolific as they are on the North Downs (especially near Ashford), so I was delighted to come across this wonderful display in East Blean Woods...

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The dense patch of bluebells covered only a small area, perhaps 100x100 yards, and if you want to find them here's the map! :D

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Booked cruise: Marella Explorer - Caribbean, Christmas 2018
Booked walking holidays: Easter: Cotswolds; Summer: Kintyre & Islay
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Postby Gillzajoker » 21 Apr 2017 14:59

Again, looks wonderful! :D
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Postby Dave » 21 Apr 2017 16:29

I usually look after the grandkids on a Thursday and Friday but my daughter is still on holiday so I've had a couple of extra walking days this week. :D

Today I parked at Bridge, which is a village just south of Canterbury. From there I walked south for a few miles on a local path called the Elham Valley Way, then I headed cross country to Shepherdswell where I took the North Downs Way back to Bridge. It was a big triangle - 21.2 miles.

We've been trying to learn about wild flowers recently and today I spotted one we hadn't seen before...

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It's an Early Purple Orchid and it's worth 25 points in our I-Spy book of wild flowers! :clap: (We take this all very seriously. ;) )

Much of the Elham Valley Way follows the Nailbourne - an 'occasional' or 'intermittent' river. Apparently it can be quite a torrent after periods of rain, but it can also remain dry for years...

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You might just be able to make out a stately home in the distance. It's called Charlton Park.

And a little further on I came across this strange and interesting... er, thing:

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