Selling, Chilham and Wye Circular

Sat 24th Apr 2010

Walk Details:

Event Type
Group Walk
Southern England
Local Group
Start Time
Selling stn
General Notes
Depart London Victoria 8.22. A walk round East Kent via the Stour Valley and the North Downs Way. Lunch Stop at Wye (15.5ml).Map: OS Exp 137 and 149. Ldr Mike Ratcliff
Start and Finish

Entry Details:


Walk Report

Selling, Chilham and Wye Circular, Saturday 24th April 2010
16 walkers, 25 miles - leader Mike Ratcliff
The sun was shining brightly on this particular Saturday in late April, even before the walk had begun. This was the first day since last summer that gave me the early confidence to set out in shorts and T shirt with a feeling of certainty that I wouldn't be needing anything extra for the entirety of the walk. And so it turned out. Kent has for many generations been spoken of as the garden of England and having lived in the county for most of my life I sometimes support this claim and at other times question it with the presence of two motorways and many large urban areas but this particular walk from Selling hopefully gave us sixteen walkers at least a little taste of why this term of reference originally came into being. Initially heading south east we quickly crossed the railway track that had carried most of our group down from London earlier that morning and soon dropped south into Chilham where we passed through the grounds of the beautiful Norman Church there in the north of the village. In almost every direction we looked that morning we were met with views of some sort of agricultural process taking place and in this part of the country it's of course fruit growing and hops that dominate the gently undulating landscape. Before even reaching Chilham it felt as though we had passed through several miles of orchard with barely seeing any other evidence of human habitation or activity. After passing through Chilham we immediately crossed the River Stour and continued our south easterly trajectory up onto the North Downs, initially through woodland and then onto a lovely open sweeping crest along the ridge of hills immediately south of Denge Wood. It was by this time that the lack of shade was starting to tell with the sun now surprisingly fierce for a mid-spring day. A taster of the summer to come? We soon took our morning break on the side of one of my favourite hills in an area known as the Blue Downs with excellent views looking north back towards Chilham with the unmistakable pale stonework of Chilham Castle clearly visible, shining in the sun. We pressed on towards Wye, now taking a more southerly direction past Eggringe Wood and up onto the Crundale ridge that stretches several miles down towards the North Downs Way with the village Crundale itself visible below us. The walking in this area always feels good in different ways with excellent conditions underfoot and a sense of elevation that never quite seems to diminish with the openness of the Kentish countryside rolling off into the distance in all directions. Finally reaching the North Downs Way on the Broad Downs near Hastingleigh we reached our most southerly point of the route. Swinging sharply north we proceeded towards the Wye Downs with the sharp drop of the ridge now dramatically evident to our left. The town of Ashford now dominated the view of the landscape stretching out beneath us and with the sun now more to the west it really created quite an ethereal panorama that afternoon as we approached our lunch stop. Finally reaching the church at Wye after passing through the now sadly deserted Wye College we disbanded as a group for an hour to make best use of this pretty town. The Co-Op store did excellent trade that day as many of our group stocked up on extra fluids for the remainder of the walk and the pubs proved a very relaxing place to rest with a cool drink in the afternoon sun. After gaining an extra member of our band, seventeen of us now continued in a more due northerly direction, soon to ascend our steepest climb of the day back up onto the North Downs ridge on the other side of the valley. Finally reaching the summit of the ridge on the eastern edge of King's Wood we took the by-way north along the edge of the tree line which formed the longest single track of the day. Here we were treated to a truly magical view of Canterbury Cathedral just visible, glinting in the sun through the slowly swaying branches of the trees directly around us. Eventually descending the downs near Dane Street we were almost back within a stone's throw of Chilham. Continuing our way towards Shottenden we were now very much back in orchard country with a field of friendly lamas to greet us just south of the village. Passing just west of the locally famous hill known as 'The Mount', we wound our way through Perry Wood with several ancient earthworks still very evidently emerging from the woodland undergrowth. Finally making our way through the tiny village of Selling, we turned due east to head for the station with the still glowing but sinking sun now warming our backs.


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