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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.

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Saturday, 11 May 2019

Saturday Walk – [New] Orchards along the Medway Valley

Extra Walk 337 – East Malling to Maidstone
Length: 18¾ km (11.7 miles). Toughness: 3/10

09:55 Ashford Int. train from Victoria (Bromley South 10:12), arriving East Malling at 10:49. Buy a return to Maidstone stations.

There are direct trains back to Victoria from Maidstone East at xx:04 & xx:29. Alternatively, you could pay a High Speed supplement and travel back via Strood to St Pancras from M.West at xx:03 & xx:33 (or M.Barracks two minutes later). It's just over an hour on both routes.

The station at East Malling is rather nondescript but it featured in Michael Portillo's latest Railway Journey, where he visited the nearby Horticultural Research Institute. A boffin explained the modern method of fruit plant culture and you'll see the result of this research in the regimented rows of tightly-packed apple trees in some extensive orchards along the way. This new walk also features an attractive stretch of the Medway Valley, where you can contrast a couple of fine medieval bridges with their modern equivalents in Maidstone.

The New Years Day (South) walkers will remember the lunch pub, the Tickled Trout in West Farleigh. They squashed us into their bar area last time but hopefully it will be warm enough to make use of the patio and garden. At the end of the walk there'll be lots of choice for refreshment in Maidstone's town centre; a couple of places are suggested but we'd appreciate feedback on anywhere you try.

You'll need to bring the walk directions from the East Malling to Maidstone walk page.


Anonymous said...

A few walkers are intending to end the walk at East Farleigh (making the total distance about 9 miles or 14 km.
If you are considering this option, you will have some company.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for suggesting. Hope to join this short option

Tony said...

The down-beat weather forecast was for once accurate: periods of w=bright-sunshine-alternating-with-heavy-rain-showers met our group of n=26 walkers as we set off from East Malling (that's pronounced 'mauling' as the locals were quick to correct).

No sign of any blossom on the trees in the orchards en route but we were treated to the occasional patch of perky bluebells, fresh spring growth all around, rain freshened air and an invigorating herbaceous scent.

Changeable weather meant the lunch stop at the Tickled Trout was once again taken inside - one of our number having the foresight to phone ahead and book a table for twelve.

The afternoon's effort a very pleasant stretch along the banks of the river Medway, through Farleigh to our final destination where a breakaway group of two set off to check out the local Harvey's pub (The Pilot Arms - the only Harvey's pub in Kent), stopping briefly in The Society Rooms (a Wetherspoons pub) close the railway station. How did the rest of the group fare? Were there cakes to be had?

A new walk thoroughly tested - special thanks to the author.

Old friends reunited and friendships made anew.

Anonymous said...

Those who were at Maidstone East station a bit early for the 16.29 would have been treated to the sight of the steam train The Northern Belle pulling in to drop of passengers before continuing on her way. She was on a day long tour of the Kent countryside as a fundraiser for the Heart of Kent Hospice.

sylvia said...

Just to add to comments of this very pretty walk, a group of three discovered a very nice open air tea stop at Little Fant Farm. It's after East Farleigh on the section of the route that loops away from the river and it's a delightful spot with great views. It's usually only open on Sundays plus other odd days, including every day over the forthcoming half term holidays - we were lucky that it was being used as a wedding venue on Saturday. Teas, coffee, home made cakes, savouries, lambs, piggies, and little bridesmaids in wellington boots.