insideKENT Magazine Issue 59 - February 2017 - Page 67

CANTERBURY’S TALE OF SUCCESS DAYSOUT LOCATED JUST OUTSIDE OF CANTERBURY, FORDWICH IS A HIDDEN GEM OF TRANQUILLITY THAT IN THE PAST WAS A BUSY PORT AS THE STONE FROM CAEN IN FRANCE USED TO BUILD CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL WAS UNLOADED HERE. THE PORT WAS ALSO USED BY SHIPS CARRYING WINE AND TIMBER IN MEDIEVAL TIMES. THE MAIN FOCAL POINT OF THIS WALK, REED POND, ONCE SUPPLIED THE MONKS OF CANTERBURY WITH WATER BUT NOW IT IS A TRANQUIL HAVEN FOR WILDLIFE. IT’S A PERFECT PEACEFUL WALK TO TAKE WITH SOMEONE SPECIAL TO END A WONDERFUL MEAL OR AS AN EXTENSION TO A VISIT TO CANTERBURY. Your walk begins along the banks of the River Stour. Although the second largest river in Kent, this particular stretch is very peaceful and teeming with wildlife and birdlife. At this time of year, you might be lucky enough to spot some early signs of spring or even a winter robin or cheeky heron! Fordwich trout can be found in the river, one of the largest species of trout around. Fordwich gained angling and fishing repute from Izaak Walton due to its trout. Turn left out of the car park and follow the signs for National Cycle Route 1. Your walk takes you through woodland that is owned and maintained by the Ministry of Defence – Chaucer barracks are close by where the Princess of Wales regiment is based. Look out for spring wildflowers such as the long-awaited snowdrops, primroses or even lesser celandine – their shiny star-like flowers look similar to buttercups and cover woodland floors during early spring. Continue following the welldefined path which will lead you to Reed Pond – this is the highlight of the walk. A biggerthan-average pond, this surprisingly large expanse of water is well worth spending some time at to admire the natural pond life that grows here. Sit on the banks for a while and admire the peace and quiet in the area. You will understand how the author FJ Beerling based a series of children’s books on Fordwich after being inspired by the beautiful Kent countryside against the backdrop of the River Stour. Beerling loved the olde worlde charm of Fordwich and the even older charm of the town hall building. When you’re ready, you can simply retrace your steps back to the car park and explore the rest of Fordwich or have a meal in the cosy George and Dragon pub. Fordwich is the smallest town in Britain and its town hall was the first to be built in the reign of King Henry VIII. It’s open to the public, a quaint little building and well worth exploring. Fordwich is also home to St Mary’s church, which contains part of a carved sarcophagus reputed to have once contained the remains of St Augustine of Canterbury. The Fordwich Arms and the George and Dragon are also located in the town too and serve lunch and evening meals, a great way to finish this little wander. Fordwich is a sleepy part of Kent, and a perfect reason to take this gorgeous walk with that special person in your life, it’s got everything you need here for the perfect Valentine’s Day. LOCATION: FORDWICH, CT2 0BX DISTANCE: 2.5 MILES (4.02 KM) LINEAR TIME: ALLOW 1.5 – 2 HOURS OS EXPLORER MAPS: 150 TERRAIN: A WELL COMPACTED SMOOTH SURFACE WITH OCCASIONAL STONES PUBLIC TRANSPORT: FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORT DIRECTIONS TO FORDWICH FROM YOUR HOME ADDRESS, PLEASE VISIT WWW.KENTCONNECTED.ORG. THERE IS A RAILWAY STATION AT STURRY, A 10-MINUTE WALK AWAY. PARKING: PARK IN THE CAR PARK OPPOSITE THE GEORGE & DRAGON PUB, BY THE BRIDGE OVER THE GREAT STOUR. TWO DISABLED PARKING SPACES AVAILABLE. REFRESHMENTS & FACILITIES: GEORGE & DRAGON PUB AT THE START. THE PUB ALSO HAS ADAPTED TOILET FACILITIES. EXPLORE MORE To find out about other walks in Kent including romantic walks in Kent, please visit the Explore Kent website www.explorekent.org. Follow @explorekent on Twitter and Facebook and share your experiences! 67