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The Joys of Walking!

The Joys of Walking!

Postby judgegeoff » 08 Sep 2018 18:29

As Pop Larkin would have said...………"Perfick". Great photos of fantastic countryside, thank you for sharing your walks with us. :clap:
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 10 Sep 2018 17:34

In less than three weeks' time we'll be in Snowdonia for a week of walking. With hikes up Mount Snowdon and Cadair Idris (and possibly others) on the to-do list, ascents of over 3,000ft are looking rather daunting!

So my walk today was partly about acclimatisation. We might not have any mountains in Kent, but we do have Dover - and Dover has a lot of hills and cliffs! :thumbup:

I parked at St Margaret's at Cliffe, which is about four miles east of Dover, and followed a reasonably quiet road to the National Trust White Cliffs of Dover Visitor Centre. Then I went down the steep slope to the ferry port and through the town to the foot of Dover's Western Heights, which is where the hard work began.

The map includes the elevation chart for the walk. Of course, being compressed like it is, the ups and downs look unnaturally extreme. It does give an idea of what it was like though - the total ascent for the whole walk was (according to Google Earth Pro) over 2,800ft, which isn't much less than that for Mount Snowdon. The maximum climb was about 43%, but I've yet to find out how that will compare!

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I took this mildly panoramic shot just before descending to Dover. The ferry port is to the left, there are two cruise ships in the distant cruise port, and Dover Castle is to the right:

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(By the way, the ships are Costa Mediterranea and Pacific Princess.)

I walked through the town to the foot of the Western Heights - five miles done and the first hill at last. But before ascending I chanced upon an interesting place I'd not seen before: Cowgate Cemetery. I did a lap of the ancient graveyard before tackling the very steep climb up to the Heights.

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To save me describing this area... ;)
The Western Heights of Dover are one of the most impressive fortifications in Britain. They comprise a series of forts, strong points and ditches, designed to protect the country from invasion. They were created to augment the existing defences and protect the key port of Dover from both seaward and landward attack. (Wikipedia)


Getting to the top from the Dover side is hard work! The climb starts with an old flight of concrete steps which gives way to rough steps cut into the ground. Eventually though, the top is reached and the views are fantastic - first over the town below...

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...and later over the sea (and the cruise terminal):

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I found my way down from the Heights (great areas of brambles on the slope needed some navigating) then crossed the A20 via a footbridge and climbed Shakespeare Cliff (which overlooks Samphire Hoe). Shakespeare Cliff was in the wrong direction, but the views from the top are amazing - and I wanted the exercise! :D

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I then followed the line of cliffs back to Dover, staying as close to the edge as I hoped was safe. :? On the way I came across a trig point that I'd not noticed before...

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Just before the final descent to Dover, I took another photo for the the wonderful view (which includes cruise ships ;) ):

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I walked back through Dover, sticking to the coastal path, and up past the ferry port to the White Cliffs - the next photo looks back the way I came.

I've walked along the clifftop many times before but always on a relatively level and relatively inland path (just visible far-right). Today though was about ascents and descents, so I chose a path close to the cliff edge which provided some significant undulations!

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This dip is called Langdon Hole (again looking back the way I'd come):

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And finally, I arrived above St Margaret's Bay (it's between the cliffs!). I went down to the bottom of the cliffs, then up a very steep set of steps to St Margaret's at Cliffe and back to the car.

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For anyone interested in doing this walk, it was about 14 miles. It's challenging, but the views are absolutely spectacular almost all of the time. :thumbup:
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Gillzajoker » 13 Sep 2018 13:58

Wonderful views! :D
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Postby grannyM » 14 Sep 2018 09:53

Another set of lovely photos Dave. Really nice views of Dover and the cliffs. Thanks. :D
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 15 Sep 2018 17:20

Today's walk with my wife was on the Isle of Sheppey. Although at its nearest point the island is exactly 3 miles from Whitstable as the crow (seagull?) flies, the journey by car to the start of our walk near Leysdown-on-Sea was exactly 30 miles! We had to drive to the road bridge which crosses to the other end of Sheppey, then drive the whole width of the island. That's probably why I've only done one walk there before, and that was more than a year ago.

It was a lovely sunny and warm summer's day today which made it perfect for seeing Whitstable and the surrounding area from a totally different perspective.

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About half of the walk was new to me and I learned something new too - Sheppey played an important part in British aviation history. We discovered this fact when we came across the Short Brothers Statue...

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In July 1909 they created Shellbeach Aerodrome on unobstructed marshland near Leysdown-on-Sea on the Isle of Sheppey... (Leysdown Parish Council)


...and this plaque nearby:

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Moore-Brabazon learned to fly in 1908 in France in a Voisin biplane. He became the first resident Englishman to make an officially recognized aeroplane flight in England on 2 May 1909, at Shellbeach on the Isle of Sheppey with flights of 450 ft, 600 ft, and 1500 ft. (Wikipedia)


The south-eastern corner of Sheppey was once an island in its own right called the Isle of Harty. Harty has only one road leading to it, and the area feels very remote. There's a pub, a church, some farms and a couple of houses, and a big national nature reserve.

Until the early 1950s, there was a small ferry operating between Harty and Oare (near Faversham) and some traces are still visible. It's almost compulsory to walk down the broken concrete ramp and out past the water's edge and look across to the mainland which is just half-a-mile away at this point. Having said that, Fred's photo is from the end of the ramp looking back towards me (right) and an old hulk (left!) on the mud.

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We visited Harty's small church and had lunch behind it where the views across to the mainland were wonderful:

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From Harty, we followed the sea wall for about three miles to Shellness, which is the closest bit of Sheppey to Whitstable. On our left is the nature reserve and on the right are the boggy marshes:

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As I think I mentioned in a previous post, the hamlet of Shellness is one of the least friendly places I've come across. The ramshackle group of houses are surrounded by fences and walls and signs telling people to keep out. If Shellness was in the least bit attractive or upmarket I might understand (a bit), but it's not. Anyway, the tide was quite low and we were able to do a loop around the outside of 'private' Shellness by sticking to the beach. :D

Whitstable is in the distance - exactly 3 miles away ;) . The boat is a genuine Thames barge called Greta (it's often moored in Whitstable Harbour); Greta was built in 1892 and is the oldest active Dunkirk little ship!

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Oh, and in the far-left of the photo is smoke from a fire in an industrial unit near Margate - about 20 miles away. We could see the smoke for much of the walk and wondered what it was from - we found the answer on BBC News when we got home.
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Gillzajoker » 16 Sep 2018 10:10

Good to see photos of places you minght not otherwise come across :D
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Postby Dave » 17 Sep 2018 16:05

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(360 degree panoramic view from the middle of a cornfield!)

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Following our walk on Saturday on the Isle of Sheppey, I decided to continue with the theme of 'isles' by doing a solo walk on the Isle of Thanet. Actually, Thanet isn't an island nowadays, but it was until just a few hundred years ago. Even as recently as 1953, Thanet was cut off from the mainland when the low-lying land flooded. Since then though, strong sea-walls have been built and what was once the Wansum Channel is low, flat farmland and marshes.

Anyway... Thanet isn't high on my list of places to walk, but while browsing my map for ideas I spotted a footpath going right through the middle of Thanet Earth. What? You've never heard of Thanet Earth? :o This is from the Wikipedia entry for this amazing place...

Thanet Earth is a large industrial agriculture and plant factory project consortium on the Isle of Thanet in Kent, England. It is the largest greenhouse complex in the UK, covering 90 hectares, or 220 acres (0.89 km2) of land. The glasshouses produce approximately 225 million tomatoes, 16 million peppers and 13 million cucumbers a year, equal to roughly 12, 11 and 8 per cent respectively of Britain’s entire annual production of those salad ingredients.

Wow! This I've got to see!

I parked on the sea front at Minnis Bay. It was another very warm and sunny summer's day! 8-)

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I headed inland towards the lovely old village of St Nicholas-at-Wade. This bit of the route more-or-less follows what was once the Thanet coast when the land in the photo was sea. In the very far distance is Reculver Towers (slightly left of centre) - a Roman fort that guarded the northern end of the channel.

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From St Nicholas-at-Wade I headed for Thanet Earth. The footpath leading to it goes across this field, but it had been ploughed up. Just in case the farmer responsible for ploughing up a public footpath is reading this... you have two weeks to restore the path or you can be charged with causing an obstruction. ;)

I trudged across the field towards the greenhouses on the top of the rise...

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...and eventually arrived near one. So far, so good. And they're very big!

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Then I encountered a problem that I've not had before. There was a very large field of corn between me and where I wanted to go and there should have been a footpath going through it. But there wasn't! There was no way I was going to re-trudge the ploughed field to go around so I spent a very long time forcing my way through the corn. The problem with corn is that it's planted in tight rows which are easy to walk between, but cutting across the rows is hard work. There was always the temptation to follow the rows, but that inevitably took me off-course and I was constantly trying to get back on track. My GPS showed where the path should have been but following it was almost impossible.

This is a photo of the view from the middle of a seemingly never-ending cornfield! (And by the way dear farmer - your corn is causing an obstruction!!)

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At long last I emerged and I was able to marvel at the size of the greenhouses. There were several large reservoirs too, for obvious reasons.

225 million tomatoes a year! Wow!! :lol:

Less good was discovering that my watch didn't like the cornfield either and had stopped recording my walk. I've marked the gap with a circle on the map above. I was disappointed that I wouldn't be able to see the route I'd taken through the maze of maize. :cry:

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Leaving Thanet Earth behind, I found that the next footpath across a field had also vanished under the plough. This seems to be the norm for Thanet fields. :roll:

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Further on, I took this photo of potatoes (top half of the picture). The tractor on the far right was in the process of 'digging' them up...

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Only the other day I was thinking that I hadn't suffered a doggy incident for months and perhaps I've been too hard on the little bundles of joy. Today I had two incidents. The first was a minor issue involving two big jumpy dogs, but the second was almost an attack! Fortunately, the attacker was Jack Russell -sized but it nipped my leg in its snarling assault. It was accompanied by a much bigger dog which was also aggressive but which stayed back. I was on the bridleway in the photo below and I was passing a small farmyard when the two dogs took exception to my presence. The owner was there but the smaller dog took little notice of her shouts to leave me alone. As I walked on, I could feel that my ankle was wet so I checked for blood, but it was only doggy drool on my trouser leg. :evil:

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Continuing along the same bridleway, I passed a couple of horse-riders (which is always nice), and then Margate came into view. Like many of the towns in north-east Kent, Margate has just the one big block of flats (it's the thing sticking up on the horizon). I think they're eyesores, but they can make useful way markers! ;)

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I took a photo to prove I got to Margate...

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...and then I followed the twisting coastline back to Minnis Bay. The tide was out and this part of the walk was very scenic, although Thanet's chalk cliffs aren't quite in the same league as Dover's! ;)

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The walk was something over 16 miles - plus whatever I did in the cornfield. I've done the coastal section before and I'll certainly do it again, but the part between St Nicholas-at-Wade and Margate was new to me. That bit will be a once only! :lol:
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Gillzajoker » 18 Sep 2018 10:49

Apart from enjoying your observations and pics., we have been educated as well! :D
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Postby Dave » 18 Sep 2018 12:18

Gillzajoker wrote:Apart from enjoying your observations and pics., we have been educated as well! :D

Thanks Gill, I aim to please! :angel: :lol:
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Postby Dave » 20 Sep 2018 15:51

Today was another of those days when my wife visits a school in the morning and another in the afternoon. This can be perfect for me because I get a lift to the start of my walk and I aim to meet her 4-5 hours later for a lift home from the end. Today I was able to use this facility to walk from Dover to Hythe. :D

I planned a walk of just under 16 miles which followed the North Downs way from Dover to near Newington and then I turned left onto the Elham Valley Way for Hythe. Simple!

The route was very hilly and hard work - especially because there was a strong south-westerly wind which meant I was always either being buffeted from the side or walking straight into it. But it also meant there were very few people around to spoil the solitude. :D

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This photo is from roughly half way between Dover and Folkestone. In the foreground is a sound mirror and on the clifftop behind is a pillbox. The famous Clifftop Café and the excellent Battle of Britain Memorial are on the cliffs in the centre. And Folkestone is in the distance.

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The grass in this photo taken a bit further on shows how windy it was. At least the wind wasn't blowing towards the cliff edge though!

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The North Downs Way goes right through the Battle of Britain Memorial site:

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A trig point on one of the many hills overlooking Folkestone:

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Probably the highest point on the walk was Castle Hill. It was quite a slog going up and I was delighted to find a herd of Highland Cattle near the top. I skirted the animals...

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...and came up behind the one standing at the very summit. I couldn't not get to the top, and it didn't seem too bothered by my company. :D

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A little way down the hill was a trig point. (I would have expected it to be at the top. :think: )

In the distance is the Channel Tunnel complex and the tunnel goes directly below where I'm standing - you can see the entrance...

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The North Downs Way runs along the line of hills which overlook the Channel Tunnel complex. I came across another trig point... :D

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In fact, trig points had become something of a theme for this walk. I crossed a golf course between Newington and Hythe and discovered a fourth!!

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At last I arrived in Hythe. Although I only needed to walk a short way along the seafront, it was tough going - straight into the wind. I stopped and had my sandwich and arrived at our meeting point exactly on time. :angel:

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