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Hiking in Britain

The North Downs Way

 

P20057176926	The River Great Stour in Wye.
     
P20057166753	Looking back along the cliffs towards Dover.
P20057176926 The River Great Stour in Wye.
     
P20057166753 Looking back along the cliffs towards Dover.

 

Background

The North Downs Way runs from Farnham in the west of Surrey to Boughton Lees in the centre of Kent, where the path splits; a northern loop runs via Canterbury to Dover, whilst the southern loop runs to Dover via Folkestone. The southern route via Folkestone is 125 miles long, and the northern route via Canterbury is 131 miles long. When I walked the route in 2005 I walked the routew from west to east, walking to Boughton lees and then Canterbury, before heading down to Dover and back to Boughton Lees via Folkestone.

It is not a classic National Trail (the close proximity of a number of motoways, notably the M25, means that this will never be the case). It is, however, a worthwhile hike, and in places there are some spectacular views to be had from the top of the downs escarpment ove the plains to the south.

During the course of my attempt at the Way I walked 186 miles in nine days, which includes the walks to and from railway stations at the start and end of each day. The actual distance I walked along the Way was 168 miles measured by GPS; this is 12 miles more than the guide book states.

The map.

 

P20056115808	The view from the bridge over the River Wey.
     
P20056125960	The view from the climb up to the top of Box Hill.
P20056115808 The view from the bridge over the River Wey.
     
P20056125960 The view from the climb up to the top of Box Hill.


The walk statistics:

Planned Completed To do Percentage completed
Distance 168 miles168 miles0 miles100 %
Legs 9 9 0 100 %

 
Total duration of walk 2 days, 15 hours and 7 minutes
Stopped time 3 hours and 12 minutes
Shortest completed leg Beggars Lane in Gomshall to Merstham Station at 16.3 miles
Longest completed leg Merstham Station to Otford station at 22.5 miles
Average distance per leg 18.66 miles

 


The walk in full:

No.From To Distance Status
1 Farnham Station Beggars Lane in Gomshall 19.8 Completed
2 Beggars Lane in Gomshall Merstham Station 16.3 Completed
3 Merstham Station Otford station 22.5 Completed
4 Otford station Medway Bridges 17.1 Completed
5 Medway Bridges Hollingbourne 17.4 Completed
6 Hollingbourne Chilham 21.2 Completed
7 Chilham Shepherdswell 18.5 Completed
8 Shepherdswell Creteway Down 16.3 Completed
9 Creteway Down North Downs Way junction 18.9 Completed


Further information

If you want more details of the path, then have a look at the North Downs Way National Trail Guide, by Neil Curtis and Jim Walker, ISBN 1 85410 853 0, published by Aurum Press Ltd. I used this book throughout my walk, and it proved to be invaluable. It includes information on the entirty of the Canterbury - Dover loop at the eastern end of the Way. Please click on the image below to go to the Amazon page for this book.

cover

There are also the following good websites about the Dales Way:


More North Downs Way photos

 

P20057166657	The path heading southeastwards from Ashley.
     
P20057166766	A sound mirror.
P20057166657 The path heading southeastwards from Ashley.
     
P20057166766 A sound mirror.

 

P20056186047	Heading up to the top of Ockley Hill.
     
P20057026287	Kit's Coty House.
P20056186047 Heading up to the top of Ockley Hill.
     
P20057026287 Kit's Coty House.

 

P20056125951	The stepping stones over the River Mole.
     
P20056186099	Paragliders in the sky.
P20056125951 The stepping stones over the River Mole.
     
P20056186099 Paragliders in the sky.

 

P20057176824	My tent at the Little Satmar campsite.
     
P20057176833	Looking west towards the A20 and Castle Hill.
P20057176824 My tent at the Little Satmar campsite.
     
P20057176833 Looking west towards the A20 and Castle Hill.

 

P20057176838	The entrance to the Channel Tunnel viewed from Castle Hill.
     
P20057176846	The path above the Channel tunnel rail terminal.
P20057176838 The entrance to the Channel Tunnel viewed from Castle Hill.
     
P20057176846 The path above the Channel tunnel rail terminal.

 

P20057176854	The view down a little valley.
     
P20057176867	Tolsford Hill Radio Station.
P20057176854 The view down a little valley.
     
P20057176867 Tolsford Hill Radio Station.

 

P20057176877	The hill above Postling.
     
P20057176890	The path alongside the road on Farthing Common.
P20057176877 The hill above Postling.
     
P20057176890 The path alongside the road on Farthing Common.

 

P20057176910	The Devil's Kneading Trough.
     
P20057176919	The path leading down towards Wye.
P20057176910 The Devil's Kneading Trough.
     
P20057176919 The path leading down towards Wye.

 

P20057176934	Heading northwst towards Sunridge.
     
P20057166643	Shepherdswell church.
P20057176934 Heading northwst towards Sunridge.
     
P20057166643 Shepherdswell church.

 

P20057166645	The path heading east from Shepherdswell.
     
P20057166685	A fountain in Market Square in Dover.
P20057166645 The path heading east from Shepherdswell.
     
P20057166685 A fountain in Market Square in Dover.

 

P20057166698	The Drop Redoubt.
     
P20057166708	An entrance to the Western Heights complex.
P20057166698 The Drop Redoubt.
     
P20057166708 An entrance to the Western Heights complex.

 

P20057166777	A grass fire at the top of the cliffs.
     
P20057166792	The view back along the cliffs.
P20057166777 A grass fire at the top of the cliffs.
     
P20057166792 The view back along the cliffs.

 

P20057166801	The Battle of Britain memorial.
     
P20057166805	The view down over Folkestone.
P20057166801 The Battle of Britain memorial.
     
P20057166805 The view down over Folkestone.

 

P20057106482	Chilham Castle.
     
P20057106504	The path heading out of No Man's Orchard.
P20057106482 Chilham Castle.
     
P20057106504 The path heading out of No Man's Orchard.

 

P20057106518	Canterbury West Gate.
     
P20057106521	A tributary of the Great Stour by Canterbury West Gate.
P20057106518 Canterbury West Gate.
     
P20057106521 A tributary of the Great Stour by Canterbury West Gate.

 

P20057106526	The Great Stour in Canterbury.
     
P20057106528	Christ Church Gateway leading into the grounds of Canterbury Cathedral.
P20057106526 The Great Stour in Canterbury.
     
P20057106528 Christ Church Gateway leading into the grounds of Canterbury Cathedral.

 

P20057106556	Patrixbourne Church.
     
P20057106574	The tall crops on the way across Barham Downs.
P20057106556 Patrixbourne Church.
     
P20057106574 The tall crops on the way across Barham Downs.

 

P20057106599	The view from the path on Three Barrow Downs.
     
P20057106613	Shepherdswell.
P20057106599 The view from the path on Three Barrow Downs.
     
P20057106613 Shepherdswell.

 

P20057096370	Hollingbourne church.
     
P20057096384	The war memorial at Lenham.
P20057096370 Hollingbourne church.
     
P20057096384 The war memorial at Lenham.

 

P20057096398	The climb up Hart Hill.
     
P20057096412	A snail on the path.
P20057096398 The climb up Hart Hill.
     
P20057096412 A snail on the path.

 

P20057096416	Views to the northeast of Westwell.
     
P20057096434	Boughton Aluph church.
P20057096416 Views to the northeast of Westwell.
     
P20057096434 Boughton Aluph church.

 

P20057096436	The path heading away from Boughton Aluph.
     
P20057096462	Chilham.
P20057096436 The path heading away from Boughton Aluph.
     
P20057096462 Chilham.

 

P20057026231	Rochester Bridge.
     
P20057026237	Rochester Castle.
P20057026231 Rochester Bridge.
     
P20057026237 Rochester Castle.

 

P20057026263	The view from the Medway bridge.
     
P20057026267	The CTRL near Nashenden Farm.
P20057026263 The view from the Medway bridge.
     
P20057026267 The CTRL near Nashenden Farm.

 

P20057026313	The view down over the A429 and Detling.
     
P20057026335	Heading east along the escarpment.
P20057026313 The view down over the A429 and Detling.
     
P20057026335 Heading east along the escarpment.

 

P20057026349	The escarpment to the northwest of Hollingbourne.
     
P20056196166	Heading east to the north of Kemsing.
P20057026349 The escarpment to the northwest of Hollingbourne.
     
P20056196166 Heading east to the north of Kemsing.

 

P20056196171	Looking south over Kemsing.
     
P20056196180	Looking back up the climb up the escarpment near Chalk Pit Wood.
P20056196171 Looking south over Kemsing.
     
P20056196180 Looking back up the climb up the escarpment near Chalk Pit Wood.

 

P20056196183	The view from the path heading towards Wrotham.
     
P20056196202	The path near Pastead Wood.
P20056196183 The view from the path heading towards Wrotham.
     
P20056196202 The path near Pastead Wood.

 

P20056196206	Looking north towards North Wood.
     
P20056196208	The quarry near North Wood.
P20056196206 Looking north towards North Wood.
     
P20056196208 The quarry near North Wood.

 

P20056196209	The path from North Wood to Upper Bush.
     
P20056196218	The path to the south of Ranscombe.
P20056196209 The path from North Wood to Upper Bush.
     
P20056196218 The path to the south of Ranscombe.

 

P20056196224	The Medway bridges.
     
P20056186045	Heading up to the top of Ockley Hill.
P20056196224 The Medway bridges.
     
P20056186045 Heading up to the top of Ockley Hill.

 

P20056186056	Whitehill Tower.
     
P20056186063	The view from near Pilgrim fort.
P20056186056 Whitehill Tower.
     
P20056186063 The view from near Pilgrim fort.

 

P20056186070	Looking south towards the M25.
     
P20056186071	The view south over Godstone.
P20056186070 Looking south towards the M25.
     
P20056186071 The view south over Godstone.

 

P20056186078	Heading east along the base of the escarpment.
     
P20056186083	Heading east along the base of the escarpment.
P20056186078 Heading east along the base of the escarpment.
     
P20056186083 Heading east along the base of the escarpment.

 

P20056186091	The path near Clarks Lane Farm.
     
P20056186114	The path below the escarpment to the east of the A233.
P20056186091 The path near Clarks Lane Farm.
     
P20056186114 The path below the escarpment to the east of the A233.

 

P20056186117	The path up to the top of the escarpment.
     
P20056186120	The view along the escarpment.
P20056186117 The path up to the top of the escarpment.
     
P20056186120 The view along the escarpment.

 

P20056186127	The path to the south of Knockholt Pound.
     
P20056186138	Heading northeastwards from the Donnington Manor Hotel.
P20056186127 The path to the south of Knockholt Pound.
     
P20056186138 Heading northeastwards from the Donnington Manor Hotel.

 

P20056125921	The path on White Downs.
     
P20056125924	The path on the edge of Ranmore Common.
P20056125921 The path on White Downs.
     
P20056125924 The path on the edge of Ranmore Common.

 

P20056125938	The track through Denbies vineyard.
     
P20056125942	The track through Denbies vineyard.
P20056125938 The track through Denbies vineyard.
     
P20056125942 The track through Denbies vineyard.

 

P20056125956	The River Mole.
     
P20056125985	The path on Brockham Hill.
P20056125956 The River Mole.
     
P20056125985 The path on Brockham Hill.

 

P20056125992	Heading north towards Drawcombe Wood.
     
P20056126012	The Pavillion on Colley Hill.
P20056125992 Heading north towards Drawcombe Wood.
     
P20056126012 The Pavillion on Colley Hill.

 

P20056126014	The view from Colley Hill.
     
P20056126023	Heading northeastwards towards Gatton.
P20056126014 The view from Colley Hill.
     
P20056126023 Heading northeastwards towards Gatton.

 

P20056126036	Heading east from Gatton to Merstham.
     
P20056115800	The first North Downs Way signpost in Farnham.
P20056126036 Heading east from Gatton to Merstham.
     
P20056115800 The first North Downs Way signpost in Farnham.

 

P20056115802	The River Wey.
     
P20056115819	Heading east from Totford Hatch.
P20056115802 The River Wey.
     
P20056115819 Heading east from Totford Hatch.

 

P20056115823	The view over towards the Hog's Back.
     
P20056115846	The River Wey.
P20056115823 The view over towards the Hog's Back.
     
P20056115846 The River Wey.

 

P20056115861	St Martha's Church.
     
P20056115893	Heading down Beggars Lane.
P20056115861 St Martha's Church.
     
P20056115893 Heading down Beggars Lane.

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