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This Week's Walks - Archive

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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, 17 August 2019

Saturday Walk - Harvest Time in the Fruit Bowl of England: Teynham to Faversham

Length: from 13.6 km/8.4 mi to 29.2 km/18.1 mi, main walk is 24.7 km (15.4 mi)
Ascent/Descent: 90/84m (main walk)
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 ½ hours (main walk)
Toughness: 3 out of 10 (main walk)

Take the 09.10 Dover Priory train from  London Victoria (Bromley South 09.27), arrives Teynham 10.20.
Or take the 10.10 if walking the very short versions (or indeed take the earlier train and have lunch in Oare).
Or take the 08.57 Faversham train from St. Pancras I’nal (Stratford I’nal  09.04) and change at Rochester (09.33/09.53).
Returns from Faversham are on xx.02, xx.22 and xx.37 to Victoria and xx.30  and xx.58 to St. Pancras (High Speed surcharge needed). Buy a Faversham return (incl. High Speed Option if you want to travel on the St. Pancras trains…).

This is a flat walk leading initially through ‘The Larder of London’, or the ‘Fruit Bowl of England’, the area around Teynham, not only the home of English cherries, but also with plentiful orchards of apples, pears, plums, strawberries and raspberries, as well as foraging opportunities for cherry plums, elderberries and blackberries. The area also used to be a large exporter of timber, grain and oysters. The local brick earth and chalk make the area fertile for fruit, but also were the foundation for the many brickfields in Teynham, Conyer and Faversham, remnants of which are passed en route. The bricks were an important source in London’s Victorian building boom, and were transported to London by the famous sailing barges, ruined remnants of which can be seen on the walk’s Conyer Creek option.
From Conyer you follow the Saxon Shore Way along The River Swale, a tidal channel between mainland Kent and the Isle of Sheppey, and then along some creeks, with mudflats, salt marshes and fishing boats on the one side and the stark but beautiful landscape of drainage ditches and dykes, fertile meadows and windswept grazing marshes on the other, an unspoilt and tranquil haven for walkers, livestock and wildlife alike. Oare Marshes NR, passed late in the afternoon, is an internationally important birdlife sanctuary.
You finish in Faversham’s bustling streets past the stunning Market Place and its many caf├ęs and eateries.

Plentiful options enable walk lengths from as short as 13.6 km/8.4 mi to as long as 29.2 km/18.1 mi.
See the route map here.

Lunch: The Plough Inn in Lewson Street (6.1 km/3.8 mi, food 12.00-15.00), The Ship at Conyer  in Conyer (10.3 km/6.4 mi, food all day), The Three Mariners at Oare in Oare (11-12 km into the walk if taking one of the early morning shortcuts, food to 15.00), The Castle Inn in Oare (11-12 km into the walk if taking one of the early morning shortcuts).
Tea: Numerous options close to and in Faversham, see pdf page 2.

For walk directions, map, height profile, photos and gpx/kml files click here. T=swc.299

2 comments:

Thomas G said...

9 off the posted train, 2 an hour behind (1 had missed the train, the other always planned to walk just the morning (long, I think) version to lunch, then back to Teynham station along one of the shortcut routes, as he had walked most of the rest of the route a few weeks back on the very short mid-week version of this walk). n=11
We lost 3 of the group to a lower tempo early on (not sure what version of the walk they did), and only 1 of the rest walked the morning extension. Harvest time it wasn't quite yet (bolshy walk posting found out, for once, must be the lack of a good summer...) but certainly blackberries, apples, plums and damsons were in good condition for foraging, while the pears were deemed too hard for all but one of us. Kind of delayed by the foraging we got to The Ship Inn at 1 and had almost free choice of tables, settling for one on the first floor with views of marina and creek. The food and service were very good, as was the ale. We reunited with the picnickers and the late starter on the seawall for the second half of the walk: tidal estuary, mudflats, boats, reed beds, birds etc. The tide was close to high, so we saw no mud beds initially and no wading birds either. We spotted egret, kormorant and assorted smaller birds of unknown (to this author) provenance though. The twitchers with their mighty telescopes we got talking to around the bird reserve reported an Osprey (over The Swale), a Marsh Harrier and a Cuckoo (in a tree) plus a rare American Gull (whose name I forgot). By then we had seen 2 sheep having a fair old stramash (head-to-head stare-out then head-to-head clash, lasting quite a few minutes). Later on, in the garden of the brilliantly located tea stop The Shipwright's Arms in Hollowshore, unfortunately we also saw the pub's cat kill and eat a songbird (as they do, as much as cat lovers deny it).
The 'leaders' then led everyone on the long finish into Faversham, where we got to the train station just in time for the 17.58/18.02 trains to St. P and Vic.
The wind, as it was, came mostly from the right behind, the sun was out, and it was pleasantly warm. w=mostly-sunny-with-some-clouds

Anonymous said...

Napoleon’s gull from North America, probably. It was there a few weeks ago. Cherry orchards on the morning extension have all been picked but not picked clean, so provided a delicious feast.
The common name of the Bonaparte’s Gull honours Charles Lucien Bonaparte, a cousin of Napoleon Bonaparte who made important contributions to American ornithology while an active member of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia during the 1820s.