This stage of our walk around the coast of Britain did not go quite to plan. As we sat in three hours’ worth of solid traffic, held up by a motorway accident on the way to our start point, we slowly realised we weren’t even going to start our walk until after lunch. Still, luckily we had air-conditioning. At one point my dashboard registered an outside temperature of 37°C. It was going to be hot.
After taking an entire morning to travel what usually takes 75 minutes, and feeling somewhat stressed and flustered, we arrived at our starting point. We needed a good walk to de-stress!
We started at Oare Creek.
Together with Faversham Creek, Oare Creek makes a large horseshoe nearly four miles in length. The first part of our walk took us around the inside of this horseshoe, known as the “Two Creeks Circular Walk”.
This walk runs chiefly through saltings, areas regularly flooded by tidal waters. An information board told us that one cubic metre of mud may contain 160,000 shrimps, snails and worms in it.
As we walked we passed several sailing barges chugging up and down the creek with pleasure-goers onboard.
We walked to the apex of the horseshoe, where Oare Creek joined Faversham Creek, and started to make our way back south. We passed a herd of cows. They stood together, using their tails to swish the flies away from each others’ faces. Our general experience of cows is that they do not like us and try to shoo us away; this can be quite intimidating at times. These cows allowed us to get close to them and left us well alone. I imagine the effort of shooing us away was too much in this heat. They had enough trouble just shooing the flies away.
As the path took us into Faversham itself the area became more built up. Years ago Faversham Creek was clearly a hive of industry. The creek was lined with multi-storey warehouses, but these have all now been converted to apartments. Other newer properties are weatherboarded and complimented the older buildings well. I was quite impressed with the regeneration.
We crossed Faversham Creek at the first bridge we came to, and passed the Shepherd Neame Brewery. Officially founded in 1698, Shepherd Neame is Britain’s oldest brewer. Even before its official founding, there had been a brewery here. When James II was captured at Faversham in 1688, after trying to flee England, he was held at the brewery by the mayor of the town.
We turned and walked back up the opposite side of the creek, heading north and back to the River Swale. We walked through Faversham Wharf with its boats in various states of repair (or disrepair) and back into the saltings.
By now, the heat was beginning to take its toll. My wife decided that tipping some water over everyone’s heads would cool them down. Judging by his face, I’m not sure my son was impressed with this idea. It spilled off his head and all over his clothes.
At this point we were at Nagden’s Cottages. The path here ran along a circular route along an embankment, but there was also a short cut directly north. I opted for the embankment, whilst the others decided on the short cut. For my part, I had quite a pleasant walk, with great views over a recently cut cereal field.
Alas, the others found that on leaving the embankment wall with its slight breeze, they descended into a cauldron of dry heat and still air, where the blazing sun reflected off the golden stalks of the crops and blasted them with a searing gaze. By the time I met up with them on the other side of the short cut they were quite done for!
We walked the final couple of miles along the embankment wall, into Seasalter. We didn’t reach the town proper, but stopped at The Sportsman.
The Sportsman doesn’t look particularly appealing from the outside, and could do with a lick of paint. However, it is a well known gastropub, features in the Michelin Guide, and has a waiting list of several weeks for anyone who wants to eat there.
Did they happen to do bar food I asked tentatively as I ordered our drinks?
But that was fine, nothing could dampen our mood (not even a bottle of water being poured over our heads!). After 220-odd miles of walking around the Thames, Medway and Swale estuaries, we were finally at open sea. At the start of our next walk Whitstable Bay will open up in front of us, and we will have several hundred miles of true coastal walking.
Points on this walk (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):
- Oare Creek: N 51° 19.750 E 000° 52.862
- Where Oare Creek Meets Faversham Creek: N 51° 20.200 E 000° 53.685
- Bridge over Faversham Creek: N 51° 19.085 E 000° 53.429
- Shepherd Neame Brewery: N 51° 19.035 E 000° 53.485
- Faversham Wharf: N 51° 19.322 E 000° 54.100
- Split Path at Nagden Cottages: N 51° 19.952 E 000° 54.869
- The Sportsman: N 51° 20.639 E 000° 57.535
Walk #28 Statistics:
- Date of Walk: 18 August 2012
- Walk #28 total distance covered: 10.05 miles
- Coast of Britain Walk Total Distance Covered: 223.20 miles
- CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO INTERACTIVE MAP!!!