One of my ‘things I’d like to do’ in my 30 before 30 was to hike in my local area. The other weekend we didn’t manage a ‘hike’, but we did go on one of the Kent walks I’ve wanted to do for a while.
Stretching for only 3 miles between Chartham and Canterbury is the Great Stour Way (as it is known and signposted). Hugging close to the bank of River Stour, the path took us through meadows (with wildlife!) and beautiful village houses that went straight to the top of my dream house list.
Where to start
We parked up in Canterbury and caught the train to Chartham (only one stop away) from Canterbury West station. Alighting from the train, we turned left and walked past the tiny Shop on the Green and Chartham Village Hall. The path is tucked just behind here.
Although I was looking to do more Kent walks to get out in the fresh air and discover some of the county I grew up in, this Chartham to Canterbury walk also taught me some interesting history lessons too. I knew Canterbury was bursting with history, but this sleepy little village is too and was mentioned in the Doomsday book. Or, more precisely, it was Chartham’s corn mill as it was recorded as early as the 14th century.
Walk, run or cycle
Apparently this walk is a stunning one in spring, but we were taking a stroll in a slightly frostier October. I would argue though that this walk is just as pretty with the colours of autumn. With burnt red and orange leaves, the trickling river stour and some gorgeous countryside houses, I thought I had walked into the Pacific Northwest. (Okay not quite, but it was still quite picturesque…)
Thankfully, the same route is part of a cycle network so I didn’t have to dig out my Wellies either. I could follow the cycle path that weaves and winds through the meadows and fields, without getting my shoes dirty. Not only cyclists but joggers use this path too and I don’t blame them, with views this good I’m tempted to come back with my running shoes. (It’s roughly 5k too so it’s perfect to run!)
Despite it being on the cold side, we saw a number of families along the route, with some even hosting their own photoshoot beside the river. As the path nears Canterbury a few picnic tables are scattered around too. It makes a one of the best (and not too strenuous) family walks in Kent, with cows and sheep to spot on the way.
We started from Chartham because we wanted to end in Canterbury for something to eat. Walking through Westgate Gardens (which was built over a Roman road), usually feels a quiet green escape from the city. But compared to the walk we’d just finished, it felt like some of the hustle and bustle had still seeped in from Canterbury.
It’s definitely made me looking forward to planning more Kent walks next year! (When the weather warms up again…)
Can you recommend any Kent walks? I’m looking to explore more so please leave a comment below!