Walking in Kent, self guided walks
Discovering Rural Kent Tour; self-guided:
This is a 7 day including arrival and departure days comprising of six night's accommdation and a 5 day circular walk, starting and finishing at the cathedral city of Canterbury. On leaving Canterbury, the walk winds its way through the Garden of England taking you through some of Kent's finest countryside. On average you cover 10 miles each day and your tracker is at the end of a phone to advise you about your walk and will meet you each morning to go over the route and provide you with your packed lunch.
This walk has been designed to help you discover the true heart of Kent, its countryside, history and local crafts. Special attention is paid to the county’s orchards, vineyards and hop-gardens. This circular walk detours off to find the nooks and crannies of the county seldom visited by tourists or the casual traveller. You are invited into the rural heart of Kent and its fascinating backwaters.
On arrival at Canterbury, you will be met by a tracker at your first night’s accommodation close to the cathedral and the ancient city of Canterbury. The first afternoon allows time to explore historic Canterbury and visit the shrine of Thomas à Beckett.
The walk leaves Canterbury following the footsteps of the Pilgrims to the Kent coast. The journey crosses Watling Street at Bridge into the chalk down-lands of the Elham valley, passing Oswalds House where Joseph Conrad spent his retirement.
As the walk follows the course of the Nailbourne it passes through the picturesque villages of Elham and Lyminge, which provide rest breaks in the journey through the Elham valley. You will visit St Ethelburga's Well at Lyminge. Before leaving the white cliffs of Dover behind as it follows the North Downs, the route passes through the village of Postling where Conrad wrote Lord Jim, until the beautiful market town of Wye is reached.
After Wye, the journey strikes north through the 5,000 acre Kings Wood to Godmersham Park, home of Jane Austen. It passes through Chilham, Kent’s prettiest village with its castle and square surrounded by timber framed houses and ambles along the banks of the Great Stour. The walk ends in Canterbury where the final night’s accommodation waits.
This is the ideal holiday for those who wish to proceed at their own pace and commence at a date and time of their choice. You will be met by a tracker each day, who will take care of your luggage and take you to your first night's accommodation.
The tracker will issue you with maps, literature about the walk, local history briefs and an itinerary for your holiday, along with useful tips on how to get the most from each day's journey. While you proceed through the countryside, staff will take your luggage to your next accommodation
We have gone out of our way to make sure that all the Inns, hotels and guest house accommodation we use welcomes walkers. Much of the accommodation is in local inns dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. You will find them to be friendly, with good cooking and comfortable bedrooms. Accommodation is located near to places of interest along the route and within walking distance of restaurants and public houses. All bookings include breakfast and a locally sourced packed lunch of Kentish food. Your luggage will be transported by a tracker to your next destination.
How this holiday makes a difference
For the 3 years running we have been awarded Silver accreditation under the Green Tourism Buisness Scheme (GTBS) as a tour operator promoting sustainable tourism in the South east of England. We are a family run operator based in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). We are committed to operating a Responsible Travel Policy (RTP) that is supportive and in sympathy with the local communities and environment. This is in line with the stated aims on all our holidays which invites its customers to ‘discover hidden Kent, its history and its people’.
In addition we are committed to an on-going reduction of its energy usage inline with the Annual Environmental Energy Plan (AEEP) for the business. We are committed to using recycled products wherever this can be accommodated within the needs of the business and will continue to adhere to its off-road 4x4 policy and continue to publicise the reasons to all customers.
We actively encourage all customers to use public transport to access the Kent Downs (AONB).We advise customers where they can purchase locally produced food and produce along the route of their walk and encourage them to use local services.
We also actively encourage customers to visit local social projects such as the Elham Valley Vineyards, run by the Fifth Trust Charity that provides work opportunities for people with learning disabilities. We also have encouraged people to walk the North Downs Way for the benefit of nationally recognised charities. Since 2002 we have organised charity walks on behalf of the Childrens Society, John Grooms and Christian Aid. .
We combine walking with stories of the landscape. Told both through the local food and architecture as well as through the history. Last year, during the close of season, time was spent researching and writing a book about the Pilgrims’ Way with the intention of producing a comprehensive overview of this important trackway that serves the route for our most popular walking holiday. The project was undertaken using material held at the Centre for Kentish Studies, the Cathedral Archives and University of Kent at Canterbury. The book was published by the History Press in July 2011 and carry’s the brand of the Kent Downs AONB and a forward by the Officer with responsibility for the North Downs Way National Trail. The intention is that both local people and visitors to Kent will benefit from bringing most of the historical information relating to this ancient trackway together into one accessible volume.
Undoubtedly such opportunities as those above exist essentially because of our co-operative links within the local community. As such research funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Kent Wildlife Trust to examine the history of Blean Woods is being undertaken at present and will continue this year during the close of season and hopefully the findings will again enhance the experience of those who come to discover hidden Kent, its people and their history in the years to come.