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The Great Stour Way

Explore Kent by Bike

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Difficulty: Easy
Length: 3 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview :  The Great Stour Way was opened on May 21st 2011. It is a three mile surfaced shared use path between Canterbury and Chartham running... more »

Tips:  Distance:3 miles
Terrain: The path is surfaced and reasonably flat.
Start Point: Chartham
End Point: Canterbury

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Points of Interest

1. Chartham Paper Mill

Chartham Paper Mill is, in common with many mills, the last in a very long line of buildings. A good place for a mill in the time of the Domesday Book is usually a good place for a mill hundreds of years later. What changes is what is being made there. The mill recorded here in 1086 would probably have been grinding corn. By 1438 it was a fulling ... More

2. Tumbling Bay

Tumbling Bay is an old local name for this point where the artificial mill channel joins the Great Stour. Older Chartham residents relate a story of a local boy called Faulkner who rescued a friend from drowning here. He was given a bravery award by the Scouts. You may have noticed a barrier structure along the bank. It was constructed by... More

3. Horton/ Chartham Lakes

At Horton, across the river, six Anglo-Saxon graves and traces of a building were discovered in 2001. The people who lived (and died)here knew this place as Horatun- the muddy farmstead. Their dwelling stood just 200m from the present manor house, which is late 15th century. To the rear and left of the house you may be able to glimpse the bellcots... More

4. Milton Church

Take a short diversion along the footpath here to see the earliest and latest chapters in the story of this tiny settlement. The story starts with St John's Church. It dates from the 13th century, when the manor was held by Sir Robert de Septvans. To get to it you walk through the most recent chapter- an aggregate processing site. Milton never... More

5. Milton Riverside

Those who regularly pass this way say this is the best place to see Kingfishers along this part of the Great Stour. If any bird has earned its name, it's this one. They hunt by diving into the water from riverside perches. No easy feat as the fish are small and constantly moving, and the bird has to assess their depth and account for the... More

6. Thanington Lakes

Thanington Lakes is home to an array of flora and fauna, tranquil, restful, visually appealing...and completely man-made. The lakes which line the Great Stour Way are all a product of the gravel industry.

As you gaze across the tranquil waters you might see the tufted duck and great-crested grebe. The lake margins are a profusion of wild... More

7. Tonford

In the 15th century, property development wasn't about location, location, location, it was about crenelation, crenelation, crenelation! This was when wealthy landowners put battlements on their manor houses to make them look like castles. That's exactly what Sir Thomas Browne of nearby Tonford Manor did in 1449. To be fair, his extravagance did... More

8. Thannington

By anyone's standards, Thanington has been around for a while- an Anglo-Saxon reference to Thenningden dates from AD 791! Across the Great Stour you can see the Medieval heart of the Parish- the Court Lodge Farm and the Church. There's a theory that this was the country churchyard about which Tomas Gray's famous Elegy was written...but it is just ... More

9. Elham Valley Line/Wincheap Meadows

Common lizards love to bask on this bank of earth that crosses the marshes, but it wasn't put here for them. It is the embankment of a long lost railway, the Elham Valley Line. It branched off the mainline here, curving across Hambrook, the Great Stour, and then Wincheap Meadows, you can see the land is much less open than Hambrook Marshes. Trees ... More

10. Hambrook Marshes

Hambrook Marshes are named after the last farmer to own them, in the 1930s. He grazed his cattle here and every day walked them across a ford in the Great Stour, and up Cow Lane (where else)to his dairy in nearby Wincheap.

In 2004 the marshes were sold to the Brett Group, a local quarrying company. But it wasn't until 1979 that the quarry... More

11. Bingley's Island

Look across the Great Stour from Whitehall Meadow and you will see the tall vegetation and willow scrub of Bingley's Island. So who was Mr Bingley and why did he have an island named after him? In fact there never was a Mr Bingley. The name comes from an Old English name recorded in 814- binnan ea, which means 'within a river'. The island is now a... More

12. Whitehall Meadows

If the Victorian artist Sydney Cooper could see Canterbury today he would surely be astounded at how much it had changed since he created his paintings of the Great Stour. But here at Whitehall Meadow he would perhaps feel that something of that pastoral idyll still remained.

In Cooper's time there were numerous wet meadows like Whitehall in the... More