- Start: Davington Pond
- End: Davington Pond
- Country: England
- County: Kent
- Type: Country
- Nearest pub:
- Ordnance Survey: OS Explorer 149
- Difficulty: Medium
Enjoy an invigorating walk of discovery on a crisp, bright day along the course of Faversham Creek
Walk of the month: Faversham Creek
Location: Faversham, ME13 7JL
Distance: 4.6 miles (7.4km), allow 2.5 hours
OS Explorer Map: 149
Terrain: Surfaced paths and grassy waterside banks
Step count: approximately 9,250
Parking: Limited on road parking is available near West Street and Davington Ponds. There are a number of public car parks in Faversham Town Centre within walking distance of the start.
Refreshments: Shops and pubs in Faversham
Stonebridge Pond, where our journey begins, was once the heart of the nations gunpowder industry. The pond was one of a series of ponds used in the manufacture of gunpowder. It is hard to imagine today that in 1781 three tons of gunpowder exploded at the site, the explosion being heard in London and felt as far away as Canterbury.
As you amble alongside the creek the tranquillity bears little resemblance to the frenetic atmosphere that would have once engulfed the area when it was one of Englands leading export ports in the Middle Ages.
It is thought that without the Creek, Faversham would never have existed. Its value for the discharge and loading of cargoes was recognised in prehistoric times, when a settlement was established not far from Standard Quay; a Roman villa came next; and then 1,000 years later, in 1147, work began on building a huge Abbey nearby. The stone for this was imported from France through the Creek.
Following the Saxon Shore Way for a time you will find it hard to miss the imposing Oyster Bay House, built around 1845 to store crops that were to be transferred to London by barge.
After a bracing walk across the marshes, you will pass Davington Priory founded in 1153 as a Benedictine nunnery. Unusually the Priory escaped demolition at the Reformation. This is not because the authorities were sympathetic but because, sadly, it petered out before Henry VIII could dissolve it. The property then with its endowment, automatically escheated to the Crown, who sold it on.
After passing through several hands by 1845 both the church and the house were in a poor state. They were then bought by Thomas Willement, an artist who pioneered the revival of stained-glass painting in England. He set about restoration work, which he undertook sympathetically, detailing his progress in a notebook.
His meticulous notes on the work carried out can now be seen in the Faversham Societys museum collection. Interestingly Willement also penned the first history of the parish.
Returning to Davington Pond, you have the choice of a well-earned pit stop at the Bull Inn, or to continue on your journey and explore Faversham town centre. The famous market town is rich in history and has an abundance of fascinating attractions, welcoming restaurants and quaint shops.
FIND OUT MORE
To discover more great walks in Kent, tel: 08458 247600 or follow Explore Kent on Twitter @explorekent.