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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, 21 April 2018

Saturday walk - Canterbury Circular - wood anemones, bluebells, maybe apple blossom

Canterbury Circular or to Sturry
Length 22.5km (14 miles) or 18.3km (11.4 miles)

Catch the 9.09 Southeastern High Speed train from St Pancras International (9.16 Stratford International) to Canterbury, arriving 10.08.

Buy a day return to Canterbury if intending to do the full walk, or to Sturry if you want to finish there (or keep your options open)


Bekesbourne to Sturry or Canterbury
Length: 12.1km (7.5 miles) or 16.3km (10.1 miles)

Catch the 10.07 From Victoria (10.23 Bromley South) to Bekesbourne, arriving 11.43.

Buy a day return to Bekesbourne, which should be accepted from Sturry.


Toughness: 2 out of 10 (largely flat) for both walks

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

This is the old Bekesbourne Circular walk which last year had a bit of a makeover, following an outing with the midweek walkers and an idea from Stargazer. This is its first Saturday outing in its new format.

The route from Bekesbourne to Sturry is as it ever was - a very gentle trundle across Kentish apple orchards (which may just be showing some blossom, but no promises: apple blossom is very variable in its timing) and through some achingly pretty villages with lovely pubs. On the section before Fordwich (Sturry) there are some bluebell and wood anemone woods.

The new bit is a start and finish in Canterbury, walking through the historic heart of the city in the morning and ending by approaching it along the River Stour. This open up new options:

- for those starting in Canterbury you can either do the full 14 mile circuit or end in Sturry (Fordwich) after 11.4 miles and take the train back from there.

- for those starting in Bekesbourne you can either just do the short but very pretty 7.5 mile walk to Sturry, or have a longer 10.1 mile walk into Canterbury.

There is a reasonable chance that those starting from Canterbury might arrive at Bekesbourne just as those starting there are arriving (the longer walkers have 1hr 35 minutes to cover 4.1 miles: a brisk pace, but this is flat ground and easy walking on hard tracks for the most part). Otherwise both groups should arrive at lunch at more or less the same time. To give us all a chance to meet up, I suggest we aim for the Duke William pub in Ickham (reached by a small diversion) which is the largest of the possible lunch pubs on this walk, and (according to a 2016 report) ideal for groups.

For tea the Fordwich Arms has a lovely garden beside the Stour and does tea in pots but has no food apart from salty snacks. The George & Dragon just down the road also has a garden and does puddings all afternoon. In Canterbury, if you can hold out that long, you are spoilt for choice. The walk directions have a few suggestions.

Trains back from Sturry are at 37 past* to Charing Cross (1hr 47) - or you can change at Ashford  for St Pancras (1hr 17 minutes). * until 19.37: after that at 34 past till 22.34

Trains back from Canterbury as follows:

- 25 past from Canterbury West to St Pancras for high speed ticket holders (56 minutes journey time). You can also get the 42 past Charing Cross train and change at Ashford for the high speed (1hr 12 mins journey time)

- 09 and 48 from Canterbury East: the 48 takes 1hr 33 and the 09 1hr 44

- 42 past from Canterbury West to Charing Cross (1hr 42 minutes)

- 06 past from Canterbury West to Victoria - but this is very slow - 2 hours  T=3.121


Anonymous said...

Anyone interested in doing the late start short cut?

Anonymous said...

Depends on who you are

Anonymous said...

A few of us will be doing the late start from Bekesbourne. You are welcome to join us.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Early on in the guide there is a (keep your options open) reference. How do we do that, please? New to group. Thanks.

Walker said...

You can finish the walk "early" (after 11.4 miles, so not that early!) at Sturry if you want. If you buy a day return to Sturry (slightly more expensive than one to Canterbury), you have the right ticket for both the outward and return journey: this keeps your options open: you can either finish at Sturry or go on to Canterbury if you want. But if you are sure you will do the whole 14 mile Canterbury Circular walk, then it is cheaper just to buy a day return to Canterbury. That is what I meant.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Walker.

Walker said...

Perfection. It does exist and this was it. W=Lovely-hot-sun. Beautiful villages. Fields of yellow oilseed. Fresh green tree foliage. Verge flowers. Loads of wood anemones, sadly now going over. A decent display of bluebells before Fordwich. Varied birdsong. No mud for the first time this year. Two glorious afternoon stops in pub gardens, one alive with chirping sparrows, the other by the River Stour in Gordwich.

16 were reported on either start for this walk, making w=32 in all. Charmingly, the Canterbury starters had just passed the railway line when the Bekesbourne train rattled over, so the later starters were just a bit behind the early ones and we all - or a substantial contingent of each group - came together to have lunch at a big table in the garden of the Duke William pub. It was nice for fast and not so fast, early and late-starting walkers to come together in this way and walk together in the afternoon. The pub staff were lovely. As one walker said: “You knew as soon as you came in that this was going to be a nice pub.”

Some stopped at Sturry. At least some of went on to Canterbury and had dinner in a pub.

When you are researching walks and writing them up, it is a day such as this that you dream of. Thanks to all the people who turned up to make it so memorable.

Mr M Tiger said...