Maybe getting the new bicycle made me into doing this, cycling gives you a little more opportunity to stop, get off and view some of the wonderful countryside around you.
So, the other day I was driving home from my job with Kent County Cricket Club in Canterbury and thought I’d make a few stops on the way.
The journey is a very rural and pleasant one, sure you have to drive half of it on the sometimes busy A28, but just a few meters or so off of that, there are scenes to please the eye.
First there’s the up and down route along Chartham Down between the road from Canterbury to Folkestone and Shalmsford Street.
There’s one field in particular I often glance at. The view from the road down the hill shows an area of cereal but four round clusters of trees. Looking at it closely I can only assume it’s where some unused fifty pounders from WW2 were dropped from a plane on the way back reaching the the Channel, but a pleasant view, especially in the evening when there’s a decent sunset.
Driving from Shalmsford Street itself down to the A28, you cross over the River Stour. Along the side of the road at this time of the year are the occasional wild poppy and in the field adjacent, some lucky sheep saved from the chop for breeding next year.
The view from either side of the Bridge is one which could only be England, the hanging branches, the green and the Fisherman patiently waiting for a Trout to tickle, or is that around the other way!
From there you go to the Ashford junction just short of Chilham. If you look carefully to the left just after turning, you will see a signpost to Chilham Mill. Go down there, over the Level Crossing, park your car, walk a couple of hundred meters and you are presented with the glorious view of Chilham Lake.
The picture is not large enough to quite spot the swimming Heron and naturally does not show the sounds of birds not far from going to their nests for the night.
I used to take Leo there quite often when he was younger. A fine place indeed.
Lastly and just a couple of miles closer to Ashford, there’s the lovely Church at Godmersham. Tucked nicely into an inlet of the Downs, it could be in Wales or the Lake District.
There are walks behind it up onto the Downs themselves where on a good day, you can see the River Thames reaching it’s destination of the English Channel.
These of course aren’t the only places to stop and wander and it must be the same on any route wherever we are travelling. Then there’s the detours, why not!
It’s easy to drive home, to speed along for that evening meal and a favourite TV programme. Maybe it’s age, but it’s nice to stop off once in a while, take a few moments of solace and just respect what and where we are.
From Canterbury, take the Old Dover Road to the St. Lawrence Cricket Ground. Immediately after the Cricket ground turn right into the B2068. Go along for approx 2 miles and just past the The Granville Pub on the left, turn right signposted to Chartham and Chilham, the view at the top is about one mile along there.
Continue on that road through Shalmsford Street and descend through the Village, the River Stour runs under the road just before the A28 junction.
For Chilham Mill and Chilham Lake, continue along the A28, turning left at the signpost for Ashford, the narrow roadway is just off the junction and next to the Van Salesroom / MOT Garage. You can park in the free Parking spaces just the other side of the railway crossing.
For Godmersham, return to the A28 and you’ll see the Church on the right hand side just after you’ve entered the 50mph speed limit. If you’re going to visit the Church, turn right at the River bridge and park along the narrow lane.