A smaller than usual group - welcoming a few new faces - was rewarded with a perfectly warm, mud-free September day for this particular walk. Starting with a three-mile amble along the river Stour from central Canterbury, we then crossed the railway at Chartham and headed across fields and through an orchard, with some uphill gradients, to Chartham Hatch. Sadly, no one took up my suggestion to run Benny Hill chasey stylie across the field the owner of which has failed to maintain a clear footpath, but I did succeed in lodging the Benny Hill tune in one fellow walker's head!
Sadly also, the once lovely pub at Chartham Hatch has closed (another victim of the recent closures, it seems), but that gave us extra time to lunch, apple pick and lounge on or against the snake sculpture in No Man's Orchard - so named because it straddles a boundary between two parishes and was not owned by any one person or family. Now a public organic orchard, it offers a large choice of old apple varieties to pick freely. Legal scrumping, so to speak. And a gorgeous spot for enjoying the sun.
Onwards past Bigbury, the site of a prehistoric (first century BC) settlement, and on the home run back to Canterbury, with a short stop on Golden Hill to recover from a rather steep climb, and enjoy some wonderful views. A few of us then went on into the city for tea/coffee and a bite to eat at Café St Pierre.
A great walk with a good mix of landscapes, and good company.
Report and walk by David Chaproniere, photographs by Chris Woolls