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The Joys of Walking!

Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby Camela » 08 Nov 2020 19:33

Last photo is lovely. Reminds me of when we lived in a cottage on the edge of a beech wood and Autumn/fall was stunning
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 07 Dec 2020 09:39

With lockdown at an end, we were able to resume weekend walking with our daughter and two grandsons yesterday. We'd treated the boys to proper walking boots and they had great fun testing out the waterproofing on a 5+ mile countryside amble! :)

Today, my wife and I went for a local 10k cross-country run and the second photo shows me walking near the top of the only significant hill on our route. ;)

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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Gillzajoker » 07 Dec 2020 12:35

It's great that the grandchildren are following in your tradition. Hill? Call that a hill???
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 07 Dec 2020 13:23

Gillzajoker wrote:It's great that the grandchildren are following in your tradition. Hill? Call that a hill???

I call anything a hill if the path rises - I tend to make mountains out of molehills... ;)
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 19 Dec 2020 17:29

We're sticking to local weekend walks for several reasons: we don't like to drive anywhere at the moment, we don't want to encounter other people, the weather isn't great in December, and (most importantly!) we've got into the routine of doing a cross country run on Sundays so an undemanding Saturday is a Good Thing.

Today, I decided to take my wife to see a nature reserve about 2 miles south west of Whitstable called Wraik Hill Nature Reserve. I've walked through it just the once - and that was at least 3 years ago - but my wife had never been there. Actually, Wraik Hill is one of those 'secret' places that most people in the area don't even know exists. The entrances aren't obvious: the one to the south off Wraik Hill (the road) is unwelcoming, with a broken steel rail blocking access to what was once a small car park, and the one to the north is via a gate off a rarely used footpath. There's another gate to the west off Pilgrim's Lane, which simply looks like a typical gate to a farmer's field. It's no surprise then that I didn't see anyone in the reserve last time and we didn't see a soul there today either.

But, having said all that, Wraik Hill Nature Reserve is well worth a visit for the views as well as the tranquillity of the place. From the top of the hill, there are wonderful views of Whitstable, the marshes toward Seasalter, and the Isle of Sheppey beyond.

To make a walk of it, we took a round-about route...

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...that included crossing a very muddy field. We don't usually go that way because it's not really on the way to anywhere we go locally, but my wife had put on her waterproof socks and gaiters and I was wearing my waterproof socks and trail shoes, so we quite fancied wading through a spot of mud (photo left).

Reaching the far side of the field we found the next footpath to be impassable. This path is so seldom used that hawthorn is growing through the gate, making it impossible to open, while the path beyond has also been taken over by that nasty plant. There was no (real) choice but to use the field edge (photo right):

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This information sign is set well back from the quiet Wraik Hill lane at the far side of an ex-car park which is now returning to nature. I took a photo because it gives a clue as to the location of another nature reserve nearby called Foxes Cross Bottom - the likely destination for our next outing!

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And here's the view from the top of the hill. Whitstable is to the right; the Isle of Sheppey is just behind my head; and the area to the left is called Seasalter Marshes. If I recall the story correctly, the only battle on English soil during WWII happened on the marshes when there was a gunfight between the crew of a crashed German plane and a local garrison. Apparently, the enemy surrendered and the aircrew were taken for a drink at a pub on the coast. Even more interestingly, that same pub has been frequented by Bob Geldorf who lives/lived near Faversham further along the coast:

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Wraik Hill is very undulating and muddy, and has a lot of gates. The last part of the nature reserve on our walk was through some very pleasant woodland:

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Just as an aside... we passed a building site on the way back, where some lovely fields with wonderful sea views are in the process of being covered in tarmac and brick. Believe it or not, the track in my photo is a public right of way that continues down to the town. I'm not certain, but I would have thought the construction company has a duty to ensure they don't make the PRoW totally unusable?

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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Gillzajoker » 20 Dec 2020 11:50

Definitely not my idea of a good time, but at least I enjoyed the photos, especially the
widescreen one with you in the foreground. And I also found the snippet about the battle :D
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 31 Jan 2021 22:19

Having taken the government's directive to stay home literally during the current strict lockdown, I've not been out walking and consequently I've not added any more walks to this topic for quite some time.

This afternoon, I formulated a plan that I wasn't sure I could carry out - partly because the process looked incredibly tedious (and it was!). But I persevered and... created a short video (lasting less than 90 seconds) that shows every one of my 995 walks in Kent (so far!) being added to to Google Earth - one at a time. :)

In the video, every Kent walk I've recorded since October 2016 appears on the map in order from first to most recent. The adding of routes appears to slow down with time for the simple reason that I've walked the same paths over and over again - and the closer they are to Whitstable, the more I've walked them. Also, I venture further afield in the summer months than in the winter and, of course, I've hardly ventured anywhere at all since last April.

Anyway, here's the video. Just click the image...




...or use this link: https://youtu.be/3oBhDttV6Ds :)
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Gillzajoker » 01 Feb 2021 12:36

Well, Dave, I've always been in awe of your fitness and stamina, and this video certainly
emphasis that, but I am also blown away by your IT skills. :D (I'm just past Stage 1 - how
to turn computer on and off!) :lol:
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 28 Feb 2021 16:32

This morning, my wife and I did our first walk together in 2021. :)

In line with the official guidance, common sense and consideration for others, we did a local walk directly from home. The route was planned to minimise the risk of encountering people, being mostly through woods and across fields. On the way, we managed to find a couple of woodland paths that I'd not walked before, which meets my criteria for doing a walk report. In fact, it's been so long since I last posted one that I'm including lots more photos than I usually do!

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Setting off down a local lane called Golden Hill and pausing briefly for a selfie in someone's mirror. The weather stayed quite misty until we were about 20 minutes from the end of the walk:

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In the distance, sheep in the field we'll be crossing on the way back:

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We spotted our first primroses of the year!

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Where Golden Hill becomes Bogshole Lane, we left the road and set off across the muddy fields and up to the local woods:

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Arriving at Clowes Wood (part of the vast Blean Woods), we saw a tractor spraying the field where rape was beginning to grow:

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We avoided the main paths through the woods, which have become very popular over the last year, and stuck to delightfully quiet, twisty tracks where we saw nobody at all...

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...although we did come across signs of human habitation:

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Here, we realised that we were in a part of the woods that we hadn't been before and it's perfect for trail running, so we'll be back!

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We walked beside a small stream for much of the way. As far as I know, the stream is nameless, but I can trace it for several miles from some high woods to where it reaches the sea at Swalecliffe. :)

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The second main area of woodland was Tong Wood followed by Ellenden Wood (again parts of The Blean) and the first bit was very muddy:

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My wife left her shoe in the mud and I asked her to wait for me to get a photo before she sorted herself out... ;)

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A pond in Ellenden Wood:

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We left the woods and began to head back towards home. I'd chosen to wear my non-waterproof HigherState trail shoes with non-waterproof Smartwool socks today, because I'd imagined the ground would be at least dry-ish. Instead, it was very wet and often muddy, but although my feet felt damp at times, it was never a problem. Who needs Gore-Tex boots anyway?

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And finally, with a low hill to crest and less than a couple of miles to go, the sun came out!

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We both agreed that our self-imposed isolation is at an end and that we'll go out for walks and runs at weekends from now on. We won't be driving anywhere to exercise just yet though...

(Incidentally, that was the 999th walk (or run) that I've recorded on Garmin Connect since October 2016 :) )
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby Camela » 28 Feb 2021 17:59

We have been enjoying spring flowers on our dog walks recently. Likewise, today we had underestimated the amount of mud we would encounter!
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