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Details

  • Start: Teston Bridge Country Park
  • End: Teston Bridge Country Park
  • Country: England
  • County: Kent
  • Type: Country
  • Nearest pub:
  • Ordnance Survey: OS Explorer 148
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Description

The icy splendour of the winter weather can really inspire you to get out and explore. So why not wrap yourself up, arm yourself with a camera and discover the wildlife and tranquillity of the River Medway?

Kent walk of the month: February


The icy splendour of the winter weather can really inspire you to get out and explore. So why not wrap yourself up, arm yourself with a camera and discover the wildlife and tranquillity of the River Medway?


Location: West Farleigh, ME18 5BX


Distance: 3.5 miles (5.8 km) - allow 1hr 45mins


OS Explorer Map: 148


Terrain: There is one steep hill, the rest of the route is downhill or flat.


Step count: approximately 7,000


Gates: 5


Stiles: 6


Parking: There is car parking available at Teston Bridge Country Park. Charges are Monday - Friday 1.20, weekends and Bank holidays 1.70.


West Farleigh hosts one of the rivers short circular walks that provides excellent photo opportunities for those with a keen eye. For the observant among us, an abundance of wildlife can be found along the riverbanks: birds that include the kingfisher and barn owl, and many insects including butterflies and dragonflies. You could also spot water voles and otters, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled!


Starting out at Teston Bridge Country Park the route quickly takes you down to the riverside and continues alongside the river through grazed grassland towards Kettle Bridge, otherwise known as Barming Bridge.


There has been a crossing here since before the Roman times. Then there was a ford that the Romans laid cobbles on. Apparently if you dive down to the bottom of the river you can still see the remains of the old cobbles. The fords were replaced with bridges to preserve the crossing points when the level of the water was raised by the introduction of sluices and weirs.


The area is rich in local history and it is said that the houses at the top of the hill played a part in secret smuggling exploits. Residents would signal the all clear to boats moored so they could unload their booty without being caught.


At West Farleigh Green you have the chance to stop and rest a while. Either on the benches if you come prepared with a steaming flask of hot tea or at the Good Intent Pub which is ideally situated along the route.


As you pass by Church Lane, why not take a short de-tour through the grounds of All Saints Church and take a closer look at this beautiful building? Originally built around 1100, the Chancel arch, original west door and narrow round-headed windows from this period are deemed to be typically early Norman.


There are many parts that have been added or changed since. A cross made of bronze, brass and wood was saved by the priest, during the Reformation by burying it here - it was hidden so well that it was not discovered for another 300 years. The cross now resides in the British Museum.


There are a collection of circular walks along the River Medway to choose from, depending on what area you want to explore. Or if you enjoy longer walks why not challenge yourself and try the entire 28 mile (45.2km) Medway Valley Walk that runs from Tonbridge to Rochester? Contact Explore Kent and you will receive a certificate for your efforts.


All this history and atmosphere coupled with the beautiful landscapes and abundance of wildlife makes this an ideal walk to enjoy at this beautiful time of year.


To discover more free walks in Kent visit www.kent.gov.uk/explorekent.



River Medway Photo Competition


The Medway Valley Countryside Partnership looks after the special and varied landscapes along the River, its tributaries and a wide section of the surrounding countryside. To encourage people to explore the River, they run an annual photographic competition. The winner will win a photographic workshop day with professional photographer Terry Whittaker.



Terry Whittaker is a freelance photographer and writer specialising in wildlife conservation and the environment. He is particularly interested in freshwater and coastal habitats and has been photographing water vole conservation for several years. His work is used in a range of international publications and he has won several awards including British Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010.


So why not put your photographic and artistic skills to the test and enter? The theme this year is Life on the River Medway and the closing date is 1 May 2011.


You can find out more and view entries from previous years at www.rivermedwayphoto.org




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