Enjoy a Great British Walk in Kent
PUBLISHED: 19:40 15 August 2014 | UPDATED: 19:40 15 August 2014
©National Trust Images/Stuart Cox
The National Trust's walking festival returns in September in a blaze of colour
The warmth of summer is just starting to give way to the colourfest that is autumn, so it’s a perfect time of year to take part in the Great British Walk.
The National Trust’s popular walking festival returns this month, bringing a splash of colour to late summer before autumnal hues take over the landscape.
Running from 8 September until 24 October, the festival encourages everyone to get out walking in the great outdoors to admire the kaleidoscope of colours seen in the houses, gardens and countryside under the Trust’s care.
Routes have been carefully planned to offer varying colourful sights and walking challenges, with guided events available for those who enjoy taking in a bit of local history or botany from experts along the way.
Of course, you can plan your own strolls, rambles and hikes and stop off whenever you like for photos, playtimes and a picnic lunch.
Whether you’re admiring the last signs of summer in the trees, building up an appetite for some seasonal treats or stomping through long grass with the family, there are plenty of places to go to enjoy a Great British Walk this month.
Some 389 hectares of National Trust countryside in Kent remain open to the public all year round, plus there are nearly eight kilometres of beautiful coastline to explore. Where will you go first?
This delightful hillside garden is still showing signs of its August glory this month, as late-summer blooms and the first signs of autumnal changes co-exist in the borders. More Kentish colours can be found in the wider estate that takes in glorious views across Westerham and the countryside beyond.
Children can grab a break from all the walking and take on their friends on 19 October in the 2014 Emmetts Conker Championships (no need to book, this event is free after garden admission has been paid).
Home of author, Vita Sackville-West, Sissinghurst Castle is colourful in its own right, built as it is of dusty pink bricks which look incredibly romantic.
An estate walk will reveal stunning views of Vita’s writing tower, as well as the ever-changing colours of the lakes, woodland and farmland. Back in the main garden, if you climb to the top of the tower, you can also see far across the colourful garden and countryside.
Sissinghurst Castle’s head gardener, Troy Smith, is getting in on the action by leading a walk on 23 September, starting at 9.45am. Walkers can enjoy an exclusive tour of the garden before it opens to the public, followed by tea and cake, for £25. This is a popular event, so places should be booked early online, or by phone: 0844 249 1895.
White Cliffs of Dover
Finally, the White Cliffs of Dover is another exciting place to explore, offering a mix of blues, from cobalt and navy to turquoise and indigo in the tranquil views across the sea. The stark whiteness of the cliffs offers a striking contrast to the vibrant blues of the sea and sky.
There are guided walks planned from the visitor centre to South Foreland Lighthouse on 19 September and 10 October (no booking required).
Or download walking maps from the website to help you explore the area. n