North Downs Way:
Wrotham to Rochester

23 September 2007

With Lucy taking Henry to another dog show in Maidstone, Stephen and George went for a third walk along part of the North Downs Way, being dropped off in the village of Wrotham, sandwiched between the M20 and M26.

As we make our way along a tarmacked bit of the Pilgrims Way, a look onto the Downs reveals a misty start to the day.

Breaking mist towards the Medway valley

We have now made the fairly steep ascent onto the top of the escarpment of the Downs, and pass a small open-air theatre in Trosley Country Park.

Having descended from the Downs, we are back on Pilgrims Way, here a bridleway

The day is improving, but as the weather warms up, we have another ascent onto the Downs to do

George comes back to get me as we start the ascent onto the top of the escarpment.

From near Holly Hill, the height gives us the opportunity for a view over the Medway valley, with Chatham in the distance. The straight line cutting across the picture near the top on the left is the M2 motorway and High Speed 1 rail line. The M2 is our end point, but it is still 2 hours away.

Dappled sunlight as we make our way through Greatpark Wood.

About to emerge from Greatpark Wood, the arrow says to go straight on, but a small diversion is called for.

Happily emerging from the woods for a while, we pass through formerly arable fields, now used for pheasant farming.

As the North Downs Way makes a loop around the large village of Cuxton, there is a fair amount of undulation. Down and up...

... and down and up...

...and down and up. This photo doesn't quite capture the oddity of this situation - the wooden direction post is sitting in the middle of this bare field. It is serving a valuable purpose, and helps to ensure that the footpaths that cross the arable field remain clear for walkers when the field is less barren, but it did look odd!

Having ascended to Upper Bush, descended to cross a road, crossed the railway line from Strood through Swanley, we make our final ascent of the morning, and the Medway is much clearer now.

The final descent, down towards the Medway and the crossing of the railway and M2.

This was a very wooded walk, and one with a surprising amount of up and down, and I think we walked it rather faster than was perhaps ideal though much of the walking was fairly easy going, and it made for a very pleasant morning.

Total distance on the GPS was 17.5 km (all on the Way) with 494m ascent, in 4 hours 5 minutes (3 hours 40 mins moving) - that means that about 31% of the North Downs Way is now walked.

Previous North Downs Way walk - Westerham to WrothamNorth Downs Way next North Downs Way walk - onwards to Thurnham


Back Up Next

Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson