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Details

  • Start: Chartham Church, Chartham, Canterbury, CT4 7JW
  • End: Chartham Church, Chartham, Canterbury, CT4 7JW
  • Country: England
  • County: Kent
  • Type: Country
  • Nearest pub: There are local shops in Chartham and public toilets at the recreational ground, near the start/finish point.
  • Ordnance Survey: OS Explorer 150
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Description

Enjoy the serenity of the great outdoors, taking an exhilarating walk through beautiful Kentish orchards, hidden woodland paths and alongside the tranquil River Stour

December walk: Chartham, near Canterbury


Enjoy the serenity of the great outdoors, taking an exhilarating walk through beautiful Kentish orchards, hidden woodland paths and alongside the tranquil River Stour


Location: Chartham Church, Chartham, Canterbury, CT4 7JW


Distance: 5 miles (8km), allow 2.5 hours


OS Explorer Map: 150


Terrain: Field, orchard and woodland paths, some on-road sections. Moderate slopes


Stiles: 4


Gates: 5


Step count: 10,000 steps


Parking: Some on-road parking is available in Chartham, outside the church and in surrounding roads.


Refreshments and facilities: There are local shops in Chartham and public toilets at the recreational ground, near the start/finish point.


Our journey begins and ends in the civil parish of Chartham, close to St Marys Church and takes in some of the picturesque Great Stour Way Cycle route, which connects Chartham to Canterbury. Chartham lies in the valley of the Great Stour and developed with the onslaught of rural industries, spreading up the sides of the valley. The river was once used for powering water mills for grinding corn, softening cloth for the weaving industry and, since the 18th century, for papermaking. The paper mill is still a working feature of the parish and can be seen as we leave the village and continue our walk alongside the River Stour.


Following the pathway of the Stour Valley Walk, notice the nearby manor of Horton and Horton Chapel. The present house is believed to be late 15th, or early 16th century, with 18th and 19th century re-facing and refurbishment. Horton was mentioned in the Doomsday Book and it is understood that in 1084 it was in the possession of William the Conqueror.


Beautiful farmland and breathtaking orchards roll by, as we leave the Stour Valley Walk and join the North Downs Way National Trail. Our pathway takes us through No-Mans Orchard, the first community led orchard in the country. The name No Mans traditionally means that the land straddled two areas of ownership and was therefore not owned by any one man. This divide is marked out by the parish boundary, which runs across the centre of the land. No-Mans is one of the few surviving traditional orchards in the area and is protected under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. The management of the site is co-ordinated by the Kentish Stour Countryside Project. No herbicides have been applied for a number of years and no sprays have been used so fruit can now be officially described as organic. The area is extremely attractive to walkers, having some of the largest apple trees in the Canterbury District with wonderful blossom in April and May.


There are lots of wooded areas on our route, providing a haven for wildlife. Look out for Bigbury Wood, which adjoins Chartham Hatch on the Harbledown Boundary. Just over this border is Bigbury Camp, an Iron Age Fort where it is believed Caesar fought the Ancient Britons in 54 BC.


On the final leg of the journey, you will enjoy some great views of the village and surrounding hamlets. Take time to appreciate the panoramic scenery of the houses nestled into the valley and the rural surroundings.


Back in the village; have a look around, there are some real hidden historical treasures. St Marys Church is located next to the village green and is well known for containing the oldest peal of bells in Kent.


Around the village green are some of Charthams oldest buildings. Amongst them the half-timbered Bedford House, once an Inn and later the Poor House, was built in 1420. The Kings Head Inn, now converted to two dwellings, is at least 500 years old was originally a farmhouse and the impressive De LAngle House, a Restoration building, was built in 1662.


This walk is available on the Explore Kent App for Iphone and Android phones. For more ideas about great days out in Kent visit www.kent.gov.uk/explorekent.

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