Resurrecting Some Old Walks

I was having a sort out the other day and came across some interesting bits of paper…


Somehow I’ve managed to keep hold of the walk directions from two annual sponsored walks I did when I was at school. They’re around 30 years old.

Just for fun I thought it would be interesting to try to plot these walks out in my mapping software. So I did…


I knew at least one of these was going to be tricky. In the 30 years since I did the walk south out onto the North Downs, the HS1 railway line has been built and the line of the A2 diverted – indeed the old A2 is now a footpath/cyclepath!  So I knew the bits around there would be tricky. The clarity of the instructions didn’t help much either. I don’t remember getting lost at the time, but now with several of the landmarks missing it’s a different story. So what I ended up with is the best guess for this bit.

Just looking at the mapped out route brought back a lot of memories, mainly of aching feet and blisters. Somehow, though on both occasions I completed the walk within a normal school day. Another particularly vivid memory is of a house that used to sell sweets to passing children. I remember it being somewhere near Holly Hill, and passing by not just on the sponsored walk but also on a school geography trip. I’ve long wondered exactly where it was. Now I should be able to find it.

So having mapped these out I had an idea for a little project. I’m going to rewalk these two routes, firstly to see if I can still do them within the same time frame, and secondly very much with an eye as to what’s changed. Both start at the school in Gravesend, so are relatively easy to get to – it’s simply a hop across on the ferry.

These both look like good candidates for walks during the winter months – the short days should provide almost exactly the required amount of daylight. So that’s what I’m going to do.

if you’re interested, you too can explore the routes of these walks – click on either of the images below.

Route 1: The Downs (about 20 miles)
Route 1: The Downs (about 20 miles)
Route 2: The Marshes (about 17 miles)
Route 2: The Marshes (about 17 miles)

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