Its approximately four months after May the 2nd and we are in the summer holidays for those of us who are connected to education. This catch up is long overdue and that has been partly laziness, part transference of photos and down to two new puppies in the house. We could very well call them Mayhem and Chaos, their actual names are Taffy and Treacle. Patterdale terriers with a hint of Lakeland and Jack Russell. Photos next year of them when they do the walk.
The above photo is of my Godmersham Arrow team placing them in strategic areas and check that they can be seen in which ever way the walk is going, so that when you (the Walker) come to a slight turn the next red arrow is in sight thereby guiding you by the hand as it were - "this way" they cry.. The bluebells were outstanding as can be seen behind Doug(left), Matt(middle) and Kev(right
This was the first walk since 6th May 2019, due to two years of Coronavirus lockdowns. We thus had no idea how this year would go, however cross checking figures from 2019 show that this year was an unqualified success for both churches and our affiliated charities Pilgrims Hospice and Kent Air Ambulance. The walk this year was anticlockwise to reflect the opposite of the clockwise route of 2019. 2023 will be clockwise and will make for a steep descent down to Godmersham, sturdy footwear required. This year it was a steep ascent. The track up through Godmersham Park, whom graciously allows us access, is used by off road vehicles, is deeply rutted in places, due to vehicles and rainfall thereby rendering sticks of any variety useful for those in need of extra balance.
This year many walkers completed the whole 16 miles, the weather was not as sunny as forecast, but perhaps this was a blessing in disguise, and I think most churches provided great hospitality and sold vast quantities of homemade refreshments. It was another great achievement. Congratulations to all involved.
The 16 mile walk can be broken down into sections between each church. Next year will see Walkers going from Chilham ( most popular starting point due to lots of parking) to Godmersham. This stretch is 2.5 miles and is one of the easier sections although Mountain street does have an incline but on a tarmac lane.
From Godmersham to Boughton Aluph is 3 miles, it is within the first half mile that the steep ascent occurs but after that its gentle walking for the most part with another descent just before Soakham Farm. This takes you across White Hill Lane through a couple of fields onto Church Lane and Boughton Aluph is at your disposal for comfort stops and refreshments.
Boughton Aluph to Challock is 2.5 miles. Follow the footpath that leads to the Pilgrims way, which then joins the Lees road, go across the cricket green heading for East Well Manor, not forgetting to take a peek inside the small but beautifully proportioned Church of St Christopher's. The footpath at the side of this church takes you right through the EastWell Manor grounds along one track that leads you up a gentle incline to a beautiful vista below of Challock church.
Challock to Molash is 3.75 miles. From Challock, follow the lane, called Church Lane back into the village and at the Lees take a right onto Blind Lane up to the Village hall. Go across the cricket green to where the new wooden gate is, go through it, across the road (Buck street) and down a covered footpath that backs onto the house selling giant plant pots. Go across two fields into Kings wood, at the end of the track turn left and keep following the red arrows until they take you out into a field, down to the George Inn, across the A252 - The Street and over down Church Lane to Molash church.
Molash to Chilham is 4.25 miles. Exit Molash church through the porch door and bear left to the east side of the church and you will see two metal gates. Go through both and walk through a small pasture to a further gate. Go through this gate and continue for quite a long stretch to Shottenden Lane. Here you do a right/left, "dog leg" up a banked verge through a kissing gate (Do take care crossing here) You are then onto meadow land where the public footpath takes you through another three gates, a small wooded area before you enter farm land. Follow the public footpath and arrows over a stile and then across farm tracks to Denne Manor Lane, Shottenden. Cross Denne Manor Lane onto another farm track. Continue down this track until a sign indicates a right turn into a field whilst keeping this track and hedge on your left. You will come to a sign directing you across the track into farm land through a metal gate. A lot of this stretch takes you through lovely apple orchards. Once through the metal gate walk across the site towards the bottom, where the signs guide you through a green corridor and high hedging. At the end of which you take a right turn following the path through to another field, keeping the hedging on your right and ending up at the A252 to Canterbury. Directly across from the road is a pathway. Take care in crossing - very fast cars..Go straight across to the footpath ahead which will lead you across a sleepy little lane- Church hill-follow the little 'bunny run' pathway up to Chilham church or if its easier follow Church hill to its end and turn left past the White Horse pub along the Square footpath to the church.
Chilham to Godmersham is 2.5 miles. From Chilham church turn left out of its door and head towards the White horse pub, go across the plaza car park following the signs down School hill. A t the bottom veer to the right. The walk continues on a tarmac surface past lovely views and housing and at the top of the lane on your right hand side is a small parking area beside a small wooded area. Go through to the woods and follow the track to the bottom where there is a deer gate crossing into Godmersham Park land. Open the side gate and keep the fencing on your left hand side. Keep going straight until you come to the second little crossroads and bear left down a track with hedging on both sides. At the end go through the gate and bear right. Head for the entrance Lodge and gates by following the signs and the well trodden path underfoot Go through two gates. Before you head right up towards the church, take a few moments to stand on the bridge (over to your left) and enjoy its life, movement and expression, then head back towards the church. At the top of the gentle hill follow the road down and go through the lych gate for more great hospitality. Always keep your dog under control