Walk of the month: Wateringbury wander
PUBLISHED: 10:17 28 June 2013 | UPDATED: 10:17 28 June 2013
Enjoy a gentle summer stroll through fieds and beside the Medway
This 1.8 mile stroll through the rolling countryside of Wateringbury and Nettlestead lets you follow the Medway’s banks as it arcs through fields and riverside trees.
Turn left out of the train station and left again to cross the train tracks over to the banks of the Medway; turn right and take the lower path by the river.
Just past Bow Bridge, Wateringbury stream – once the power source to a number of water mills – feeds into the Medway. The village’s industry was established due to its proximity to this flowing river. In 1820 it became home to a brewery and in 1860, the site where Jude Handbury and Co blended whiskey.
As you continue along the tree-lined banks of the river, your path will soon reach a thicket of riverside trees. Pause to glance back to catch a glimpse of a kingfisher, or even an elusive otter.
This area would have once been patrolled by hufflers, men who pulled barges along the Medway. To get the barge from Maidstone to Yalding would have taken the hufflers a whole day, earning them just one pound for their efforts.
Wandering along the banks of the river, you will soon reach a footpath on your right. Take the footpath, carefully cross the railway line and skirt the fence as you pass by the stunning gardens and manor house of Nettlestead Place on your left.
Nettlestead Place was mentioned in the Domesday Book and was refurbished and enlarged in 1921/22, while the gardens have been developed and extended since 1988.
Continuing past the manor, follow the path past a grove of historic yew trees, continue along the path to the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin in Nettlestead. Its 15th-century stained-glass windows are a renowned feature of the church.
Cross the road and turn right to continue along the pavement before crossing Gibbs Hill. Follow the footpath away from the road, between the houses and hedgerows. Continue through the fields, enjoying the views across the Medway Valley. Before reaching a house, follow a pathway through another field on your right. Continue through the field and turn right to meander towards houses and the road.
From here, turn left and head back towards Wateringbury station and a well-earned rest in The Railway pub.
FIND OUT MORE
To find out about other walks in Kent or for information on cycling, riding and country parks, visit www.kent.gov.uk/explorekent and follow @explorekent on Twitter.