Today’s statistics: 13 miles, ascent 1381 feet, descent 1590 feet.
Leaving the Warren Farm Barn, we had to climb for about a mile to reach the NDW. As we were doing so, the view behind us of Warren Farm revealed it as an island in a sea of cultivated farmland.
The North Downs Way cut through the lush Kings Wood.
Approaching Chilham, we could see the stunning Chilham Castle and its parkland through the trees. This Jacobean castle was built in 1603 on the foundations of a Roman building. It is thought that on these grounds, circa 42 AD, the Britons battled the Romans during the Roman invasion.
The village of Chilham was dripping with charm with its 14th-century pub, quaint cottages, views of the castle, and, very important to us, Shelly’s Tea Shop. By this time, the heat of the day was upon us and a cool drink and a pastry was just the ticket!
Walking across the wide, medieval, village square, we noticed the local church, the 700-year-old St. Mary’s Church, famous for its stained glass windows and monuments.
The next village on our route had an interesting name, Old Wives Lee. It is said that it may have originally been Oldwoods Lee and due to mispronunciation or misspelling, evolved to its present name. Thankfully, as we left the village we entered a tunnel of trees, which provided a little relief from the heat.
Soon, we were back in the open fields which were warm, but quite lovely.
The views of the countryside revealed more oasthouses, if you were to look closely. If you cannot see them in the picture below, just enjoy the country setting.
Over the next hill we entered a huge apple orchard that stretched off into the distance, covering many acres of apple trees. The hard cider industry must be thriving.
The locals through their parish council planted a community orchard called No Man’s Orchard in 1947. For many years, the now-neglected trees had produced enough apples to defer the council’s cost of maintaining the orchard.
We walked over to see the famous Canterbury Cathedral. The elaborate exterior was undergoing a facelift and was covered with scaffolding. Also, since we were there after closing, we could not enter the beautiful building’s expansive interior. We had to view from afar.
Nancy treated us to a most relaxing, chauffeured river punt tour through the city of Canturbury on the River Stour with Westgate Punts (aka “Canterbury River Navigation Company”). We were able to see the city by the “backdoor.”
Mo, our tour guide, was quite knowledgeable and entertaining. What a great way to see the historic city!
We stayed at the comfortable Castle House Hotel, about a 10-minute walk from the extremely busy city center. For a dinner with old-world ambiance, the highly regarded, 500 year old Old Weavers House Restaurant was reasonably priced and tasty. The staff, however, was a bit rushed and abrupt.