Backup Only

This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Saturday First Walk - A bluebell pilgrimage to Canterbury

Book 1 Walk 28 Chilham to Canterbury
Length 17.7km (11 miles)
Toughness: 3 out of 10

9.22 train from Victoria (9.39 Bromley South) to Chilham, arriving 11.15


10.08 Southeastern High Speed train from St Pancras International to Ashford International, arriving 10.46, changing there to the above train, which departs Ashford at 11.03

Buy a day return to Canterbury

For walk directions click here

Blean Woods, in the afternoon of this walk, is reputed to have fine bluebells, and the suggested lunch pub in Chartham Hatch was surrounded by apple orchards last time I was there (though this was years ago and apple orchards have a regretable habit these days of disappearing). The bluebells should, touch wood, be at best and the apple orchards may be in flower, though given the subarctic weather we have had this week I am less confident about that.

Since it is a long time since I did this walk I have no up to date information on the lunch options - if anyone has, maybe they could post a comment. Recent "fully booked" debacles have made me wary of saying anything and it is with a heavy heart that I have to report that at least one 26-strong Meet Up Group is known to be in this area today (but starting from a different station and much earlier in the day). However, I note that two options are given in the walk directions (a third pub mentioned in the book, the Plough in Upper Harbledown, is now closed) and so hopefully one will do. If someone wants to be public spirited and make an initial booking for 6-8 people, that would be nice.

At the end of this walk you arrive in cheerful, bustling Canterbury which is groaning with tea, drink and dinner options (and tourists). See walk directions for some suggestions.

Trains back:

- Those who have paid the high speed supplement will skip happily to Canterbury West, where the 25 past takes you directly to St Pancras in 56 minutes, or the 45 past requires a change at Ashford for a journey time of 1hr 09 minutes

- Otherwise, the fastest trains are:
      - the 09 from Canterbury East to Victoria (1hr 44 mins)
      - the 45 past from Canterbury West to Charing Cross (1hr 37 mins)
      - the 48 past from Canterbury East to Victoria (1 hr 33 mins)

I have not checked these ad nauseam into the evening, so perhaps cross check with your smartphone app before you travel.

For those that don't know the city, Canterbury West station is to the north of the centre and Canterbury East is to the south. Why they are not called Canterbury North and Canterbury South is a mystery to me.


Marion said...

This is a fantastic walk and the reviews of this pub at Chartham Hatch on trip adviser are great but the best thing are the views from the Terrace over the orchards if the weather is kind. Remembering this from 20 years ago when doing this walk with Kensington and chelsea ramblers you will definitely need to book and I hope to join you if I'm not working.

Walker said...

N=14 on this walk on a day of w=warm-sun. There were fearsome clouds always to the west, and as we approached Canterbury to the north also, but only while at tea did it rain. It clouded up during lunch on the idyllic garden terrace of the Chapter Arms but these dissipated afterwards. After weeks of fully booked pubs, this one was mysteriously empty. I can't imagine why as it is a lovely place with beautiful orchard views and nice food. They huffed and puffed a bit about serving us food in the garden but managed it.

All seemed very springlike. I saw one swallow, several butterflies including three orange tips, and there were lots of wood anemones. But why is this considered a bluebell walk? Only a few very small patches in Blean Woods and a nice area of bluebell and stitchwort in the grounds of the University of Kent. Just before this we also found a perfect little bluebell wood but this was off piste, a little way to the left of the walk route. Otherwise zilch The apple blossom was also not out but at least one could see lots of orchards where it soon would be.

One could forgive everythingvin the lovely sunshine, however - everything except the 300 metres of mud hell as you exit Blean Woods - truly the worst mud experience on any SWC walk and this when the rest of the route was baked dry and hard. What this ghastly quagmire is like in winter God knows. As it is one of our party sank in up to her knees and nearly lost a boot. A blot on an otherwise very pleasant day.

Marion said...

Further to above report the boot was actually lost to the mud and had to be retrieved manually. In order not to repeat the terrifying experience 2 walkers tried a detour viz a wooded copse where they encountered a pair of mating goats. The male full of testosterone tried to attack and was only held off by holding its horns rodeo style wedged between a tree and the legs of our brave pair. No amount of thrashing with a branch and shouting deterred it until distracted by the bootless walker on the other side of the barbed wire it attempted to chge the fence lifting it's posts.