One of our walks from May 2013 –
We did invest in basic walking kit, however, Linda & I were caught on the hop this time, the forecast wasn’t great, so we layered up but also made the mistake of wearing jeans…way to hot when the sun came out, together with the more strenuous stomps uphill, causing us to overheat..big time ! So off to London to buy lightweight walking trousers. Just digressing slightly here, Covent Garden has numerous ‘outdoor activity’ type shops. Well worth a visit.
So as I said, Sunday turned out to be a wonderful warm sunny day, here and there a slight breeze, which was actually quite welcoming as we hiked up the steeper slopes.
We met in the village square at Chilham:
Chilham is a village and parish in the English county of Kent. It has been a location for a number of films and television dramas. It is quintessentially English, Tudor style properties, cute tea room, small souvenir shop and naturally a pub are based around the main square. Chilham Castle overlooks the square and surrounding countryside.
There has been a castle at the site of Chilham, on the edge of a wood, in the heart of Kent, for over eight centuries; perhaps thirteen or more.
It has changed hands many times, having been home to a host of colourful and sometimes eccentric families. Held from time to time by Kings of England, it was also once occupied; briefly, by the heir to the French throne on his way to invade London (he wasn’t successful).
The house that was built in 1616 on the site of the ancient castle, and bears its name, has since 2002 been the home of Stuart and Tessa Wheeler. I believe that some days the gardens are open to the public but check first.
We left the square behind us and headed off across open fields, through bluebell lined woods, I was slightly un-nerved at the start when told this was probably the time snakes may be on the path basking in the sun ( really ? or just scaring the what’sit out of a novice walker).
I was surprised at how many different woods we passed through, Church Wood, Down Wood past Woodsdale Farm then Coneyearth Wood. Karen was unhappy about the trees that had been felled in some areas, leaving it bare just with the odd oak here & there.
The next stage was along the Stour Valley Walk which took us through fields of goats & warnings about bulls, luckily not spotted (!) & up country tracks into the village of Crundale, we headed up a hill to find a spot to picnic with views across the countryside, towards Wye which was to be our next stop. How many shades of green are there ?
Crundale is a village and civil parish in the Ashford District of Kent in southeast England. The village is located on the North Downs, about halfway between Ashford and Canterbury.
The parish is a small one, and many of its activities are shared with the neighbouring parish of Godmersham. Its population is about 150 persons. No shops or pub (!) just a traditional red BT phone box…please put me right if there is more here than nicely appointed homes.
Terry selected this spot, in the middle of the footpath, Karen said why in the middle of the footpath, what if other walkers wanted to get by.. Terry said the hundreds of walkers that would pass us..were after all.. walkers.. so he was sure they would be able to cope with the deep 6″ grass just in front of us… (We’d barely seen a handful of walkers all day & no-one passed us by, let alone tried to step over us) however, we did see in the distance a trail about ten walkers going up the hill the other side, looked like a stream of ants….So they ‘could’ have come our way.
As a thought when does a walker, become a hiker ???
Refreshed or was it feeling lazy after lunch… we started off along the hillside towards Wye, though weird metal gates (not made for fat people) over stiles, a bit high for those with shorter legs, overhanging branches to catch the taller of us, as we negotiated our way along the route. More woods, Warren Wood, Marriage Wood and Beech Wood, then past Wye College, the graveyard at Wye Church and making a stop to buy ice creams in the village of Wye (plus a toilet stop!)
Leaving Wye behind, retracing our steps back through the graveyard past Home Farm near Bilting, our ‘experienced’ walker/guide then led us along a narrow very overgrown footpath, at every step I expected Indiana Jones to appear, left to make my own decision I would never have guessed that this ‘was’ actually the footpath that we were meant to be on… we then ventured up a very steep, exhausting calf screaming (in my case) incline stopping halfway for water and wondering if we’d make the top. All the visits to the gym were of no help !
We pushed on to the top to be greeted with masses of scented bluebells. The home stretch along the North Down Way, bluebells filled all the spaces between the trees and Canterbury Cathedral could be seen in the distance from our viewing point. Worth it in the end !
As we neared Chilham, we walked along Mountain Street and past the Chilham Castle grounds, more people along this section, up until then we’d only passed a handful of other walkers, really felt we were away from it all, not really just outside Canterbury.
Click the link to see our route on the OS website.
It was about a five hour walk, 12.9 miles (20.76km) it felt much further.
All in all an excellent stomp for a Sunday.
- No snakes spotted