Description: This is the first “linear” walk on the site – part urban, part rural. It starts from one of the Park & Ride car parks, finishing in Canterbury city centre, where you can use a bus to return. You can take a shorter version which takes you to the city centre, via another of the P&R termini (New Dover Road service).
N.B. The Sturry Road Park and Ride car park is closed, so this walk may not currently be viable. It is sheduled to reopen on 1st July, 2024!
OS Ref: TR168594
Length: 6 Miles approx.
Approximate time: 2½-3 hours
Parking: At the car park for the Park & Ride service from Sturry Road to Canterbury. It currently costs £4 for the service, which includes a vehicle and up to six people. There are two entrances to the car park, both well signposted off the A28, north-east of the city centre.
Refreshments: Lots of choice in Canterbury
Exit the park & ride area by the barriers (at the opposite side to the A28 entrance). At a mini roundabout, look left to see the entrance to the Sturry Road Community Park – go through a gate, then walk up the ramp directly ahead, soon bearing right onto a small path. The path runs parallel to a power line for a short way. Turn left on coming to another path to go through a chicane, turning right onto a well-defined path. Follow this for about 200 metres, then turn sharp left where a rail (or rather, more of a pole) ends on the left (1). Keep in this direction for about 350 metres.
Turn right at a way-marker on a tee-junction, to walk in a southerly direction – it can be a bit muddy here after rain. The path ascends, with a few twists and turns, before going to the left of a gate with a padlock on it. The path continues uphill briefly before coming out into the open. Go past a fence, soon-after looking for a stile on the left, onto a road (2). Turn right on the road, following it for about 500 metres. The road can be quite busy at times – it seems to serve as an access route to the Canterbury Golf Club. It descends for a while, before ascending.
At a stone footpath sign, follow the road round to the right (3) for a short spell, looking out for a stile on the right where the road bends left. Use the stile, turning left after, soon going under two power lines. After a while the path curves right at a flagpole. On coming to a more major path, turn left onto it, soon crossing a cattle grid. The route here makes a small departure from the obvious right of way on the OS map, but the green path is just too overgrown here. Follow the track as it runs along the edge of a former barracks – at present, signs of an assault-course are evident here.
The path soon swings left. At a wire fence turn right, now keeping the fence to your left. Where the fence swings to the left, follow it – the route here may be subject to small changes, as the site of the barracks is part of a new housing development. Anyway, there should be a converted windmill directly ahead, to tell you that you’re on the right tack. There’s a quick glimpse here to the right, of the city of Canterbury. Follow the fence perimeter left, the path diverging from it soon. The path goes right, into a gap, leading into a housing estate (4).
Follow the road ahead (Querns Road), bearing right at a junction, now with a recreation area to the right. Keep ahead at a crossroad, soon turning left at a signpost to Querns Community Centre, shortly taking the path to the right of the community centre. Turn right at a tee-junction, walking downhill. Turn left onto the first road (St. Martin’s Avenue), then bear left at the end onto North Holmes Road.
At this point, you may want to explore St. Martin’s church. It’s reputed to be the oldest church in the English-speaking world! If viewing this “electronically”, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Martin%27s_Church,_Canterbury to find out more. Unfortunately, the building has never been open when I’ve passed.
Turn right in front of the church, to follow North Holmes Road to the end. Turn left onto a major road, following it for about 100 metres, then use a pedestrian refuge to turn right into Spring Lane (5). Soon, turn right along Pilgrims Way. At a way-marker, bear left to continue on Pilgrims Way, soon passing a couple of bollards, keeping a wire fence to your left. Keep ahead on Pilgrims Way where St Augustine’s Road joins it, then walk to a junction, turning right over a railway.
Follow the road round to the left, passing some allotments to the right initially. Walk to the end of the estate, then continue along a track into a more rural area. Keep ahead, passing some farm buildings, until you come to a junction just by a NFU Farmers board. Turn right here, along Appledown Way. At the end of this long straight road, turn left onto New Dover Road, seeking the refuge of the footpath. At a roundabout, turn right, crossing New Dover Road, then Old Dover Road immediately after.
If you wanted, you could take a Park & Ride bus to the centre of Canterbury from here for a shorter version of the walk. This could be an easy cop out if it’s teeming with rain! If you do decide to curtail the walk, the bus stop for Sturry Road is further along from where the New Dover Road service stops, adjacent to one of the entrances to the Fenwick department store.
If you’re doing the full walk, keep ahead on a path to the right of the road which serves the Park & Ride area. Look out for a path with a public footpath signpost nearby (6). Take this along an enclosed path, emerging into the open after crossing the course of a disused railway line. Keep ahead, with a fence to your right, for about 450 metres, turning right at a way-marker. Soon after passing to the left of some farm buildings, cross a road.
Walk along Langton Lane, bearing right just before a school, following a pedestrian and bike signpost to the city centre. Keep along the path for about 900 metres – it becomes enclosed just before coming to a road (7). Bear left onto it (Juniper Close), At the end, turn right onto Stuppington Lane for just a few paces, then left into a housing estate, branching right just before three wooden bollards.
At a road (George Roche Road) turn right, then follow the road round to the left. Turn right at a give way sign, follow the road to a junction then turn left onto Nunnery Fields. Follow the road to a junction (just after it bears left), then turn left at a traffic light controlled junction, with a church on one corner (8). Keep ahead, using a pelican crossing by a police station to cross the road. Turn left then use a subway below the ring road, into the centre of Canterbury.
You may want to explore Canterbury at this point. If not however, turn right into the bus station. The Park & Ride bus stop back to the Sturry Road car park is at the far end, just by Fenwick, the department store.
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