Post image for Canterbury Ways: The Stour Valley Walk to Upstreet

Canterbury Ways: The Stour Valley Walk to Upstreet

April 5, 2015 · 12 comments

An easy walk across Canterbury and then alongside the marshes and (illicitly) the Great Stour

Date Walked: 25th October 2014

Distance: about 7 miles

Map used: OS Explorer 150 Canterbury and the Isle of Thanet

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Canterbury was our base for two weeks; Anne and I thought it a great place, so it’s only right that I show you a few sights. The Cedar House, where we were staying is on the North-West side of the city and the Stour Valley Walk crosses through the city centre.

Turning right at the end of our road at St Dunstans Church, the A290 crosses the railway line at a level crossing and becomes a Ring Road just before the West Gate.

West Gate, Canterbury, photographed by Charles Hawes

There’s a great Mexican restaurant on the corner

On the other side of the gate, the city is immediately transformed to a busy shopping street with dozens of places to eat (plenty of chains and independents) and where you are as likely to hear French being spoken as English. I must have walked down this part almost every day of our holiday and I loved it.

The Stour is crossed almost without noticing it bar the guys hanging about try to sell you a (very short and not very inspiring) punt. The main shopping precinct has managed to retain enough older buildings as to maintain a mildly medieval character. A zig-zag around the Cathedral took me to the back of the Kings School.

Kings School, Canterbury, photographed by Charles Hawes

I don’t suppose the school gives the magistrates much custom

From thence a dip under the A28 provided  a fine view back to the cathedral.

Canterbury Cathedral, photographed by Charles Hawes

Shame about the lamppost but I’m a warts and all person on this blog

Next up as I now headed North-East, I passed St Augustine’s Abbey

Canterbury walk 2-4

….followed quickly by Christ Church University….

Canterbury walk 2-5

…. and the prison.

Canterbury Prison, photographed by Charles Hawes

I only read what’s above the door when I was writing this up.; “County Gaol and House of Correction”

Phew, you are thinking, that’s enough sight-seeing for now. You might have thought so, but I must mention Conduit House, which is also jolly interesting.

Conduit House, Canterbury, photographed by Charles Hawes

You’ll have to click the link to find out why

After all this visual excitement I was glad to be directed into the rather scrubby Timpson Wood.

Timpson Wood, Canterbury, photographed by Charles Hawes

Still, it wasn’t full of rubbish

A rather gross sign had been appropriately abused by local Youth.

Distance marker in Timpson Wood, Canterbury, photographed by Charles Hawes

Pure prejudice on my part- could have been done by elderly vandals

On the far side of the wood, the view opened up, passing by the rather uninspiring Sturry Road Community Park.

Sturry Road Community Park, Canterbury, photographed by Charles Hawes

My apologies to the Sturry Road Community

In this context the next sign I came across was something of a surprise.

Sign near the Sturry Road Community Park on the Stour Valley Walk, photographed by Charles Hawes

How do you know whether an object is suspicious or not?

The park crossed with no troops or suspicious objects sighted, I encountered the river briefly at the pretty village of Fordwich.

Bridge at Fordwich, photographed by Charles Hawes

Not so much a ford as a bridge

 

It’s a very compact little place with some old buildings…..

House of Alfred Palmer, Fordwich, Kent, photographed from the Stour Valley walk by Charles Hawes

You’ll never read it at this resolution. Alfred Palmer, founder of the East Kent Arts Society Lived here. 1910-1951

…..and a pub.

Sign of the Fordwich Arms, near Canterbury, photographed by Charles Hawes

This looks like a boat to me rather than arms

After Fordwich the Stour Valley Walk passes through the north edge of Trenley Park Wood. This edge, at least, was relatively recently planted with small patches of a number of varieties of trees…….

Trenley Park Wood, The Stour Way, Canterbury, photographed by Charles Hawes

Umm, not sure about these

 

 

Trenley Park Wood, The Stour Way, Canterbury, photographed by Charles Hawes

Cherries

 

 

Trenley Park Wood, The Stour Way, Canterbury, photographed by Charles Hawes

Sorbus, I think

 

…..though nearer Higham Farm it was mostly Chestnut Coppice.

Chestnut Coppice at Trenley Park Wood, photographed by Charles Hawes

I get firewood envy when I see such a lot of felled trees

 

At the edge of the wood, Higham Farmhouse is a lovely 16th century building right next to the farm buildings and a good example of  when farmers sell off their houses or make other use of them and then, no doubt, get planning permission for another house somewhere else in the open countryside.

Higham farmhouse, near Canterbury, photographed by Charles Hawes

Far too large and valuable a house for a poor farmer to live in, obvs.

 

The Stour Valley Walk pretty much follows the Stodmarsh Road for the next mile and a half, but it’s a quiet road and the view across the fields to acres of polytunnels was pleasant enough.

Polytunnels near Stodmarsh, Kent, photographed by Charles Hawes

My guess would be soft fruits

 

Stodmarsh is also blessed with a pub and a pretty church.

St Mary's Church, Stodmarsh, photographed from the Stour Valley walk by Charles Hawes

St Mary’s, since you ask

I popped in for a shufty.

Interior of St Mary's church, Stodmarsh, photographed by Charles Hawes

This one’s for Paul.

 

The path now heads towards the marshes, passing a small car park, where the toilets are housed in a building adorned with some fairly crude but probably recognisable pictures of local wildlife.

Wildlife board near Stodmarsh, photographed by Charles Hawes

(NB. Not painted according to scale)

 

I saw nada of these creatures when I reached the water, but they probably had better things to be doing.

Lake near Stodmarsh, Kent, photographed by Charles Hawes

Created by flooding of ex sand and gravel pits, I think

 

There was a sign, if I recall, advising me that the route ahead was closed but you know by now that I am unlikely to be put off by such warnings, so I pressed on, reaching a string of barbed wire across the path which was easy enough to duck under.

Stour Valley walk near Stodmarsh, Kent, photographed by Charles Hawes

And anyway, this was a half-hearted barrier in my book

 

Needless to say, I didn’t pass any walkers for the next bit (I hadn’t done before, either, if it come to that), but on the river there were some people enjoying the peace and quiet.

Canoeists on the Stour, photographed from The Stour Valley walk by Charles Hawes

And the swans were happy to be left alone.

Swan on the river Stour, photographed from The Stour Valley Walk by Charles Hawes

Nice ripples, eh?

 

It was a bit muddy and about half a mile from Grove Ferry  I came across the digger that was clearly sorting out some problem with the path’s surface (though, it being a Saturday, not today, to my relief).

Stour Valley walk near Canterbury, photographed by Charles Hawes

Thankfully the tracks of the digger had made a pretty decent surface to walk on, so I wasn’t inconvenienced in my approach to Grove Ferry.

Stour Valley walk near Canterbury, photographed by Charles Hawes

And it was very nice to have the place to myself to enjoy the swathes of the reeds eddying in the breeze.

Reeds on the Stour Valley walk near Canterbury, photographed by Charles Hawes

No video; you’ll have to take my word for it

 

At Grove Ferry, the Grove’s car park was full ……

The Grove at Grove Ferry, photographed by Charles Hawes

Two pubs passed and not a drop, drunk. How good is that?

 

…….but as I passed by and crossed the bridge, I was thinking about tea and a toasted tea-cake back at our place; the bus from Upstreet, just up the hill from Grove Ferry, got me back to Canterbury in no time.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne Wareham April 5, 2015 at 8:57 am

And I was indulging a straight run of Susan Hill’s Simon Serrailler series – bliss! (with the odd toasted teacake) Xxxx

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Charles April 5, 2015 at 6:19 pm

Nothing odd about the tea cakes. They were as regular as clockwork.

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David Marsden April 5, 2015 at 9:41 am

Good Lord. Two pubs and no pint? I don’t understand. Were they shut? I noted that there was no video, Charles. Now, if only you had made a GIF …….. Dave

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Charles April 5, 2015 at 6:18 pm

I know, I know. I’m a mystery to myself. Hehe . Like the GIF joke. I’ll get there.

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Julia April 5, 2015 at 8:14 pm

ah, you landed in warmer climes – feel i don’t have to put an extra jumper on. Eclectic as always – hope there are more.

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Charles April 6, 2015 at 12:55 pm

Glad you feel warmed up. There will alawys be more. Two more to come from Canterbury.

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Paul Steer April 5, 2015 at 8:22 pm

I like your ripples …and the wonky horizontals of the beams in ‘my’photo – lovely composition and a great sense of peace. I’m honoured.

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Charles April 6, 2015 at 12:56 pm

Oh, I’m very rippled. Did I do wonky horizontals? Shame on me. John won’t let me hear the last of it.

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Paul Steer April 6, 2015 at 2:40 pm

Er yes I’m sure you are ! The wonkiness is provided by nature in the form of the beam – I love nature because it doesn’t conform.

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John April 6, 2015 at 4:52 pm

Nah! I’ve discovered that I can also correct wonky verticals and horizontals plus the “fish-eye” effect with a click or two in my Photoplus software that cost me the princely sum of £28.75. It’ll even change just part of a photo though the bit beside the “part” looks a bit stretched or compressed. And, anyhow, Paul was on about horizontals, not verticals (which rile you more). 🙂

Of course no barrier will stop you! Nothing gets in the way of Charles walking the route he wants to walk! Not even a map!

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Marianna Paulson April 8, 2015 at 1:29 am

Thanks to Google, I’m now in the know re. “shufty”. It’s not in use in Canada – but I’ll see if I can do something about that! LOL!

I take it you have the garbage/rubbish problem, as well. Boggles the mind – people go to these places, presumably because they enjoy them (yes, I’m being naive), and it becomes a garbage dump. 🙁

Where are “we” going, next?

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Charles April 10, 2015 at 11:43 am

Ha Ha . That’s fun to introduce you to some new British words. Though I doubt its in common use. Yes, rubbish can be a big blight. Particularly dog owners who appear to bag up their pooches poo and then hang it on a tree. We are staying in Canterbury for two more walks and then its back to Mid Wales.

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