Wood anemones just after Fordwich

04-May-13 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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wood anenome 1

21-Mar-05 • melissa's photos on Flickr

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Near Sturry, Kent

04-May-13 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Early bluebells near Fordwich, Kent

04-May-13 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Pink wood anemones

You get these occaisionally - they are a common variation.

04-May-13 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Wood anemone path just after Fordwich

04-May-13 • Saturdaywalker on Flickr

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Littlebourne churchyard

Bekesbourne Circular

04-May-13 • moontiger on Flickr

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Canterbury Circular via Bekesbourne and Sturry walk

Ancient villages, churches and pubs in a classic Kent landscape

History

This is a list of previous times this walk has been done by the club (since Jan 2010). For more recent events (since April 2015), full details are shown.

Date # Post
Sat, 21-Apr-18 32

Saturday walk - Canterbury Circular - wood anemones, bluebells, maybe apple blossom

Canterbury Circular or to Sturry
Length 22.5km (14 miles) or 18.3km (11.4 miles)

Catch the 9.09 Southeastern High Speed train from St Pancras International (9.16 Stratford International) to Canterbury, arriving 10.08.

Buy a day return to Canterbury if intending to do the full walk, or to Sturry if you want to finish there (or keep your options open)

OR

Bekesbourne to Sturry or Canterbury
Length: 12.1km (7.5 miles) or 16.3km (10.1 miles)

Catch the 10.07 From Victoria (10.23 Bromley South) to Bekesbourne, arriving 11.43.

Buy a day return to Bekesbourne, which should be accepted from Sturry.

----------------------------------

Toughness: 2 out of 10 (largely flat) for both walks

For walk directions click here. For GPX click here.

This is the old Bekesbourne Circular walk which last year had a bit of a makeover, following an outing with the midweek walkers and an idea from Stargazer. This is its first Saturday outing in its new format.

The route from Bekesbourne to Sturry is as it ever was - a very gentle trundle across Kentish apple orchards (which may just be showing some blossom, but no promises: apple blossom is very variable in its timing) and through some achingly pretty villages with lovely pubs. On the section before Fordwich (Sturry) there are some bluebell and wood anemone woods.

The new bit is a start and finish in Canterbury, walking through the historic heart of the city in the morning and ending by approaching it along the River Stour. This open up new options:

- for those starting in Canterbury you can either do the full 14 mile circuit or end in Sturry (Fordwich) after 11.4 miles and take the train back from there.

- for those starting in Bekesbourne you can either just do the short but very pretty 7.5 mile walk to Sturry, or have a longer 10.1 mile walk into Canterbury.

There is a reasonable chance that those starting from Canterbury might arrive at Bekesbourne just as those starting there are arriving (the longer walkers have 1hr 35 minutes to cover 4.1 miles: a brisk pace, but this is flat ground and easy walking on hard tracks for the most part). Otherwise both groups should arrive at lunch at more or less the same time. To give us all a chance to meet up, I suggest we aim for the Duke William pub in Ickham (reached by a small diversion) which is the largest of the possible lunch pubs on this walk, and (according to a 2016 report) ideal for groups.

For tea the Fordwich Arms has a lovely garden beside the Stour and does tea in pots but has no food apart from salty snacks. The George & Dragon just down the road also has a garden and does puddings all afternoon. In Canterbury, if you can hold out that long, you are spoilt for choice. The walk directions have a few suggestions.

Trains back from Sturry are at 37 past* to Charing Cross (1hr 47) - or you can change at Ashford for St Pancras (1hr 17 minutes). * until 19.37: after that at 34 past till 22.34

Trains back from Canterbury as follows:

- 25 past from Canterbury West to St Pancras for high speed ticket holders (56 minutes journey time). You can also get the 42 past Charing Cross train and change at Ashford for the high speed (1hr 12 mins journey time)

- 09 and 48 from Canterbury East: the 48 takes 1hr 33 and the 09 1hr 44

- 42 past from Canterbury West to Charing Cross (1hr 42 minutes)

- 06 past from Canterbury West to Victoria - but this is very slow - 2 hours T=3.121








Anyone interested in doing the late start short cut?
Depends on who you are
A few of us will be doing the late start from Bekesbourne. You are welcome to join us.
Hi. Early on in the guide there is a (keep your options open) reference. How do we do that, please? New to group. Thanks.
You can finish the walk "early" (after 11.4 miles, so not that early!) at Sturry if you want. If you buy a day return to Sturry (slightly more expensive than one to Canterbury), you have the right ticket for both the outward and return journey: this keeps your options open: you can either finish at Sturry or go on to Canterbury if you want. But if you are sure you will do the whole 14 mile Canterbury Circular walk, then it is cheaper just to buy a day return to Canterbury. That is what I meant.
Thank you, Walker.
Perfection. It does exist and this was it. Lovely hot sun. Beautiful villages. Fields of yellow oilseed. Fresh green tree foliage. Verge flowers. Loads of wood anemones, sadly now going over. A decent display of bluebells before Fordwich. Varied birdsong. No mud for the first time this year. Two glorious afternoon stops in pub gardens, one alive with chirping sparrows, the other by the River Stour in Gordwich.

16 were reported on either start for this walk, making 32 in all. Charmingly, the Canterbury starters had just passed the railway line when the Bekesbourne train rattled over, so the later starters were just a bit behind the early ones and we all or a substantial contingent of each group came together to have lunch at a big table in the garden of the Duke William pub. It was nice for fast and not so fast, early and late starting walkers to come together in this way and walk together in the afternoon. The pub staff were lovely. As one walker said: “You knew as soon as you came in that this was going to be a nice pub.”

Some stopped at Sturry. At least some of went on to Canterbury and had dinner in a pub.

When you are researching walks and writing them up, it is a day such as this that you dream of. Thanks to all the people who turned up to make it so memorable.
32
Sun, 31-Dec-17

Sunday New Year's Eve Walk – A Canter from Canterbury to Sturry (or back to Canterbury)

SWC 121 – A Pub Canter from Canterbury to Sturry (with possible extension back to Canterbury) t=swc.121

Distance: 11.4 Miles or 18.3 km for those more metrically minded (or 14 miles/22.5 km with the extension)

Difficulty: 2 out of 10

Train: Take the 9:09 AM Margate train from London St. Pancras (9:16 from Stratford International), arriving at Canterbury at 10:08. Return trains from Sturry are at 39 minutes past the hour until 19:39 then at 37 minutes past until 21:37 and from Canterbury West at 25 minutes past the hour until 22:25. Buy a day return to Sturry.

Some of us experimented with the original Bekesbourne circular on a Wednesday walk last spring to find that a Canterbury circular route works well and has a number options to cater for differing length (as well as quite a few pubs offering refreshment). In fact, the experiment was so successful that the walk author amended the instructions…..and they are ready for a debut…..I thought that it would make a nice New Years’ Eve outing because it has a number of pubs en route – allowing for plenty of festive cheer and warm-up lubrication prior to your evening entertainment. I posted a slightly earlier start to allow some time for pub stops and/or to give those wanting a longer walk back to Canterbury a reasonable chance of getting back there before dark. You can find more information about the walk and download the walk instructions here.

You will be spoiled for choice on this walk for lunch pubs. The recommended options are the Rose Inn in Wickhambreaux (01227 721 763) – 6.9 miles/ 11.1 km into the walk; the Duke William (01227 721 308) in Ickham (requiring a short diversion) – 6.8 miles/11.0 km into the walk or the Red Lion in Stodmarsh – serving food until 3:30pm (01227 721 339) – 8.3 miles/13.8 km into the walk. Please do call ahead with numbers….

Tea and other late afternoon refreshments can be had at the Fordwich Arms pleasantly located overlooking the Stour River – but make sure you time your departure accordingly to reach Sturry in time for the train (allow 10-15 minutes or so)….Canterbury also has a number of options for post walk libations (slightly off the walk route – the Parrot is a very pleasant pub).

Happy New Year!
Be sure to use the pdf directions https://www.walkingclub.org.uk/walk/canterbury circular/SWC Walk 121 Canterbury Circular.pdf

Of the three lunch pubs, the Duke William is the largest. The Rose is medium sized, quite popular, but a charming place. The Red Lion in Stodmarsh is small and charming: definitely ring to check they have space before relying on eating there, however.

In Fordwich, given that it is winter and you are unlikely to be spending time in the Fordwich Arms' charming riverside garden, the nearby George and Dragon is a better choice for tea: when last I looked it did puddings in the afternoon, while the Fordwich Arms only does hot drinks: it is also a cosy place.

Fordwich/Sturry makes a good place to finish. If you want to complete the walk to Canterbury and the light is fading, the cycle path route mentioned in italics is perfectly doable in the dark, I would say
Wed, 10-May-17 12

Wednesday Walk Bluebells and Country Pubs

SWC 121 Bekesbourne Circular w/a Canterbury Start (and possible finish) T=swc.121

Distance: 13.7 Miles or 22 km for those more metrically minded

Difficulty: 2 out of 10

Train: Take the 10:08 AM Margate train from London St. Pancras, arriving at Canterbury at 11:08. Return trains from Bekesbourne are at 43 minutes past the hour until 16:43; then 14 minutes past the hour until 19:14; then 19:43 and 20:28. Alternatively, we could also explore ending back in Canterbury with regular service back to London or do the Sturry ending (which would be shorter)…. Buy a day return to Bekesbourne for flexibility….
I thought we might explore a new start to this walk from Canterbury and by doing so reduce the train journey (and lengthen the walk). The thought being that we could basically follow the North Downs Way from Canterbury and cut over to Bekesbourne at Patrixbourne which all looks fairly clear on the map and is not unpleasant from recollections of doing that stretch of the NDW last autumn. We would then carry on with the instructions as written with a delightful choice of lovely country pubs from we can choose to have our elevensies, lunch and afternoon refreshies….. There should also be ample bluebells still on display around Fordwich. From Fordwich there would be a further choice to carry on with the instructions to either Bekesbourne or Sturry or, alternatively, it could be possible to explore a route back into Canterbury…. The Bekesbourne ending needs careful timing given the hourly train service and lack of amenities near the station…. You can find more information about the walk and download the walk instructions here.

We are spoiled for choice on this walk for lunch pubs. The recommended options are the Rose Inn in Wickhambreaux (01227 721 763) – 6.1 miles/ 10 km into the walk; the Duke William (01227 721 308) in Ickham (requiring a short diversion) – 6.5 miles/10.5 km into the walk or the Red Lion in Stodmarsh – serving food until 2:30pm (01227 721 339) – 7.5 miles/12.2 km into the walk. Please do call ahead with numbers…. Tea and other late afternoon refreshments can be had at the Fordwich Arms pleasantly located overlooking the Stour River – but make sure you time departures accordingly for the Bekesbourne and Sturry endings.

Enjoy the walk!
🐾🐾 Max and me hoping to come on this lovely walk! ☮
12 and one well behaved dog on this walk on a lovely sunny day (we will not mention a slight chilly breeze at times). The idea of making this a Canterbury Circular was an interesting one and will be written up in due course for other SWC ers to try. A nice start through the historic town centre, some shrugging off of the suburbs, then flat farmland which slowly got more picturesque.

It was once we got onto the old Bekesbourne Circular route that things got really scenic, however. Wickhambreaux in particular is picture perfect. One half expects Elizabeth Bennet to come striding out of one of the houses on its village green. Instead the Rolls belonged to someone from the Great British Bake Off who I had never heard of, who was drinking outside the pub.

A nice lunch here in the garden under blue skies and after a chat with the staff at the strawberry (and, it turned out, raspberry) farm, it seemed a shame not to stop for "refreshies" at the Red Lion in idyllic Stodmarsh too. "I was just saying I was a bit bored" said the girl behind the door when a gaggle of customers suddenly materialised. The walk directions say this pub "has a pleasant garden full of chirping birds". They are still there. The noise was deafening.

Towards Fordwich we found a bluebell wood with plenty still out a nice surprise. I heard a reed warbler scolding away in the Stour reed beds. The somewhat blokey Fordwich Arms laughed when asked for tea but produced pots and dainty China cups. We drank it in their lovely riverside garden.

Some left us here to get the train from Sturry: the rest of us set out to follow the Stour Valley Walk into Canterbury. This is a confident path on the map but more timid in reality: a squeeze through sometimes gloomy trees and shrubs which blocked out the evening sun. Towards the city the path gets lost in a maze of paths and mountain bike tracks: waymarks dried up here. It seemed longer than 4km to me, but eventually we were safe and sound in the Parrot in Canterbury having dinner. As we walked to the station for the 8.25, swifts screamed overhead.
Sun, 18-Dec-16 4

Sunday walk 2 Sturry Circular

Sturry Circular SWC walk 121 (variant)
8.4 miles, 13.5 km
Difficulty 2 out of 10:
A beautiful walk through a quiet corner of Kent, visiting a series of ancient villages, each with its own ancient pub and church. Mostly flat, with a few gentle hills, and some good views. Some of the woodland bridleways can be muddy in winter but the walk also has many dry sections on quiet tarmac lanes and tracks.
Trains
Either....take the High Speed HS1 Dover Priory train from St Pancras at 09:37 (Stratford International 9:44) changing at Ashford for the Ramsgate train (arr 10:14 dep 10:32 platform 5). Arrive Sturry at 10:55.
Or.....take the same Ramsgate train from Victoria (note change of terminus) at 09:12, direct to Sturry (calls Bromley South 9:30, Orpington 9.37, etc). This is the cheaper option.
Trains return at xx:37 direct to Victoria (cheapest - journey time: 1hr:51). Or change at Ashford for the HS1 back to St Pancras (costs more - journey time: 1hr:18).
Get a return to Sturry.
Lunch
The first pub reached is the (untried) Anchor Inn, Littlebourne (01227 721 207), 5 km (3.1 miles) into the walk.
Next is the recommended Rose Inn on Wickhambreaux's village green (01227 721 763), 6.4 km (4 miles) into the walk - worth ringing to book.
There's also the Duke William in Ickham (01227 721 308), another pretty and ancient village. Just off the walk route on a diversion that adds 1.3 km (0.8 miles) to the walk length – directions given at the end of the main walk text. A pleasant pub with an interesting and not over-priced menu.
With Xmas being so close, pubs may be busy today. You might want to pack a snack or two just in case there's any problem.
Tea
The Fordwich Arms, King Street, Fordwich (01227 710 444), 12.6km (7.8 miles) into the walk, has a rear balcony and garden overlooking the River Stour. Serves tea in proper pots.
There's also the George and Dragon, 100 metres down the road from the Fordwich Arms. It serves food all afternoon and has a pleasant garden.
Walk Directions here
T=swc.121
Planning to travel from Charing Cross.
Southeastern have sneakily switched the Ramsgate trains to run to and from Victoria this Sunday, not Charing Cross and London Bridge. I've updated the walk post above.
Just the fab 4 on this walk, (I was Ringo again!). This walk should be (re)branded the
"pints and prayers" walk as you pass through a series of lovely villages each with a church and an excellent pub. We stopped to visit the church in Littlebourne just as the morning service was finishing and enjoyed a cuppa and chat with the friendly parishoners.

By following a clear and well used path along a field edge we did a variation of the diversion to Ickham by cutting out a rather pointless diagonal field crossing and dog leg left turn before stopping for lunch and a drink in Wickhambreaux.
After lunch the fabs briefly split into 2x2 groups after taking a wrong turn through a complex of farm buildings into the poly tunnels fields. The gps section were soon followed by the analogue word followers who realised the error of their ways and we quickly met up again to reach Sturry just in time to grab some takeaway coffees and snacks at a local shop before catching the 15.37 train back to London 3 of us changed at Ashford for HS1.

This walk is a little gem and after the dry weather the benign muddy stretches through woodland were easily avoided and by the end my boots were actually cleaner than when we started! Great company and a Sunday well spent in dry and mild conditions.
Yes, agree on everything with Pete (and so does my gps!!): lovely walk with plenty of spires and pubs between the lovely fields; small but great group plus mild weather and little mud made this a pretty perfect Sunday stroll. It is worth adding though that the Duke William in Ickham, on a little detour, has reopened and is now a large gastro pub. It looks splendid and for a (larger) group is perfect. The Rose Inn is more intimate though and is situated on a pretty green with benches where you can eat sandwiches, which we all did.

Can someone update the walk notes please? www.thedukewilliamickham.com

Thanks poster boys for a great year of walking. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.

Walk updated. Good to hear that the Duke William is open and suitable for groups.


Wed, 14-Oct-15 8

Mid-week day walk Sturry Circular

Sturry Circular

Ancient villages, churches and pubs in a classic Kent landscape

Book 3* Walk 121

* Online only

Length : 14 km or 9 miles

Toughness : 2 out of 10

Getting there : Catch the 10:37 am train from London St. Pancras (10:44 am Stratford International) to Sturry - Change at Ashford International from Platform 6 to Platform 5
OR
Catch the direct train at 10:10 am from Charing Cross. Calling stations are:

  • Waterloo East - departs 10:13
  • Sevenoaks - departs 10:42
  • Tonbridge - departs 10:51

Meeting point : Sturry Station at 11:53 am

Tickets : Buy a Cheap day return to Sturry. If memory serves, the HST fare is just under £20 and the fare from Charing Cross is about five pounds less.

Brief Description

The last time I did this walk was on a Sunday. The Pubs looked really inviting but were full with locals having roast lunches. I'm sure Wednesday will not present a problem though!
You may find full details here, a PDF download here and a Kindle download here.

Suggested Lunch stops

The Rose Inn at Wickhambreaux t: 01227 721763
The Red Lion at Stodmarsh t: 01227 721339

Suggested Tea stop

The George and Dragon, Fordwich T: 01227 710661 which is just under half a mile from the station.

Maps

OS Explorer : 150

Return train times

Trains return from Sturry at the following times 16:36 | 17:36 | 18:33 | 19:36
High Speed folk will need to change at Ashford International

Intend going
Will also try to make it
Looks like a good one to start walking...
if anyone more experimented can confirm, then I'll definitively go
It is a very pleasant and easy walk, if that is what you mean

Am hoping to do this walk if weather stays good.
jfk
8 on the walk. One dropped out at Fordham and another joined at the lunctime pub (The Rose warm and friendly with proper fires).
Showery in the morning with The rain becoming consistent in the afternoon.
Welcome to the new walker whose baptism by rain and some mud was tempered by wonderful autumn colours and the ancient villages of Fordham and Wickhambreaux.
The group was confronted by a recently ploughed field in the afternoon section and decide to give this and therefore Stodmarsh a miss.
On the approach to Fordham, the heavens opened and sanctuary and tea was found in the Red Lion, another wonderful pub in this area.

Sun, 22-Mar-15 18 Sturry Circular
Sat, 04-Jan-14 4 Sturry Circular
Sat, 04-May-13 13 Bekesbourne Circular
Sat, 05-May-12 Sturry Circular
Sat, 24-Sep-11 Bekesbourne Circular
Wed, 18-May-11 Bekesbourne Circular