6 of the best summer strolls

PUBLISHED: 22:19 28 June 2014

Reculver

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Kent Life suggests six of the best spots for a summer’s day saunter

GORGEOUS VIEWS

Tandridge, near Oxted

Walk the North Downs around Tandridge Hill for wonderful views and a great show of downland flowers and wildlife, such as butterflies. If you feel like a long stroll, take the Greensand Way from Tandridge all the way east to Ide Hill, or do a loop incorporating the Greensand Way and North Downs Way via Oxted, Tandridge and Limpsfield. You could also walk in the other direction between Merstham and Oxted, passing woodland, downland and vineyards.

REFRESH: The George Inn in Oxted (george-oxted.co.uk, 01883 713453, RH8 9LP). There are also pubs in Tandridge, Limpsfield and Ide Hill.

Further information: www.northdownsway.co.uk

A REGAL WALK

Royal Military Canal, south-west Kent

For an easy, scenic walk on the flat, you can’t do much better than the Royal Military Canal. This majestic waterway, which was built as a line of defence against Napoleon, runs for 45km (28m) between Seabrook near Folkestone in Kent and Cliff End, near Hastings in Sussex. A path runs along its entire length, passing through the peaceful and beautiful surrounds of the Romney Marsh, as well as wooded hills. Many footpaths link into the canal path, so it is easy to plan circular routes. The canal is an important site for wildlife – look out for kingfishers, dragonflies, water voles and swans.

REFRESH: The Shepherd & Crook pub in Burmarsh is close to the canal (shepherdandcrook.co.uk, 01303 872336, TN29 0JJ)

Further information: www.royalmilitarycanal.com, 01797 367934

DOWNLAND FLOWERS

Wye Downs, nr Ashford

This Natural England-managed 134-hectare nature reserve is a lovely place to walk. The chalk grassland and scrub is a flowery paradise for butterflies (such as Marbled Whites and Chalkhill Blues) in high summer; it’s also a good spot to listen out for skylarks and nightingales singing. You can do a circular walk from Wye village towards Down Farm, then southeast along the North Downs Way to Broad Downs and back past Silks Farm. This part of Kent was covered with seawater many moons ago and it is thus a great place to find fossils, such as sharks’ teeth.

REFRESH: The New Flying Horse Inn in Wye (shepherdneame.co.uk/pubs/ashford/new-flying-horse-inn, 01233 812297, TN25 5AN).

Further information: www.naturalengland.org.uk

SEA AIR

Reculver Country Park, nr Canterbury

Drink in the sea air at this coastal Country Park on the north Kent shore, 5km (3m) east of Herne Bay. As well as wide views over the estuary, this is a great place to watch birds, such as Gannets, Cormorants, Marsh Harriers and Kestrels. The site also boasts the remains of a Roman fort as well as the ruins of St Mary’ Church, which was originally a monastery. In times gones by Reculver was a wealthy settlement, but people gradually moved away as coastal erosion threatened the site. You can learn more in the Visitor Centre.

REFRESH: The King Ethelbert Inn, Reculver (01227 374368, CT6 6SU)

Further information: www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/reserves/reculver-visitor-centre-and-country-park, 01227 740676

ALONG THE RIVERBANK

River Medway, nr Maidstone

This pretty river runs between Tonbridge and Rochester and the best sections to stroll along are found upon the Medway Valley Walk and Len Valley Walk, around West Farleigh, East Farleigh and Maidstone. Look out for kingfishers and, if you’re walking on a summer’s eve, listen out for nightingales and keep your eyes peeled for Barn Owls and various species of bats that fly just above the water’s surface. There are lots of walk routes available on the Visit Maidstone website.

REFRESH: The Walnut Tree in East Farleigh (walnuttreeeastfarleigh.co.uk, 01622 721 106, ME15 0HJ)

Further information: www.visitmaidstone.com

ROMANTIC GARDENS

Scotney Castle, nr Tunbridge Wells

Explore the romantic 26-acre gardens at Scotney, which surround the moated old castle and tumble with clematis and roses in the summer months. The wider estate, which encompasses 780 acres, is a great place for walks and picnics. There is a 2-mile mapped National Trust walk or you can go further afield and take footpaths through Kilndown Woods to the Globe and Rainbow pub. If you want a longer hike, you could do a circular around the castle, Kilndown and Lamberhurst.

REFRESH: The Globe and Rainbow in Kilndown (gloveandrainbow.co.uk, 01892 890803, TN17 2SG

Further information: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/scotney-castle

FIND OUT MORE

For more walks around Kent, visit the Explore Kent website at www.kent.gov.uk/explorekent

Look out for our next autumn walks ideas in October Kent Life.

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