Halling to Rochester, 10 June
Distance: 11 miles.
Train leaves St Pancras international at 9.20. Destination is Ramsgate but we change at Strood. (depart Strood 9.54 arrive Halling 10.03). Get a single to Halling. It seems the sooner you book the cheaper it will be. I have just paid £7.20 but noticed the price rises day by day. You can get a ticket from Stratford International if you have a Freedom pass.
Return from Rochester – several trains an hour to Victoria or London Bridge . Victoria is cheaper at £4.25 for a single ticket.
A mix of village streets, riverside, woodland, fields and a steep – then very steep – climb up the North Downs; but great views and the pub to reward you as soon as you reach the top.
The start of the walk is about a mile on pavements – unavoidable but mainly quiet apart from crossing the busy A228 and another, new road, not yet on the map!
A reminder about road safety – we are really quite poor when it comes to single file on road verges. It’s a collective responsibility so please listen out and take care on every walk.
We then follow the Medway and cross fields to the attractive village of Burham. No shade on this part of the walk.
Then the steep ascent to the crest of the Downs and lunch.
The afternoon walk is easier, mainly shady and gently downhill along the Downs to the Medway again.
We end by following the Medway Valley Walk ( disappointingly not much waterside until we hit streets again) into Rochester.
In Rochester we get to the station via the castle and cathedral ( disappointing again – closes at 3 pm) and the charming ancient High Street.
Lunch is at The Robin Hood pub on the Downs above Burham. The landlady said there would be no need to book if we sit outside. Places nearby for sandwich eaters.
There are tea places in Rochester but surprisingly no tea shoppes discerned on the ancient High Street.