Good walks around Canterbury

(Image courtesy of Unsplash)

As the second lockdown has now begun, many students have had to face the decision of whether to remain here in Canterbury, or head home. For those of us who have decided to brave the storm and cling on to any semblance of student life, a month stuck in, staring at the same four walls will soon get tedious. As we have now entered the winter months, thoughts of social distanced picnics in the park are a mere memory from summer. So where can you go to get out of the house and have a change of scenery? Canterbury is a stunning place to live, and by simply heading slightly off the beaten cobbled path, there are many places to explore!

Campus Walks

This year especially has meant we’re barely on campus. However, our campus alone offers 300 acres for you to discover! With vast stretches of greenery and woodland areas, walking 5 minutes away from any academic building can offer a sense of peace. If you need to clear your head but don’t fancy heading into town, take a walk through the university’s own grounds. Being on top of the hill also gives the setting the perfect view of the Cathedral and city below!

To check out some exact routes, head to this link on the University of Kent’s website:

Abbot’s Mill

In the heart of Canterbury lays the site of Abbot’s Mill. Owned by the Council, there is currently a project in place to develop an urban hub of sustainability. The site is now part of Abbot’s Garden, a beautiful green space alongside part of the river. If you fancy a short wander, head there and you can walk from the Miller’s Arms Pub, over the sluices and along the Great Stour up to the Marlowe Theatre.

On the opposite side of the road, lays a wooded area with more information on the project. You can explore this area opposite the Riverside Walk with a main path leading you along, but I would highly recommend walking boots or wellies for this time of year! Both these sites are currently open during daylight hours.

Riverside Walk

If you fancy getting out the house for longer and a little bit more of a challenging walk, you could try the 10mile circular walk that takes you along the River Stour. Starting in the town centre near the tourist information centre and Canterbury West, this route will give you the opportunity to explore Bingley's Island, Hambrook Marshes, Larkyvalley Wood Nature Reserve, Chartham, No Man’s Orchard and Bigbury Camp among other sites. The footpaths through the woods offer the chance to see displays of wildflowers from March to May and the route ends by bringing you back to city centre. Again, I would advise proper walking boots for this trek!

To see the maps for this walk please visit:

Blean Woods Nature Reserve

If you decide you want to head away from the city in another direction, then Blean Woods is for you. This reserve is classed as an ancient wood and is home to many different walks of varying sizes, with the longest being the Big Blean Walk of a circular 25 mile route. Discover this site of special scientific interest which played a major role in conserving the Heath Fritillary Butterfly.

The different routes are clearly marked around the woods for you to follow with five different colours used to represent the distance and difficulty of the walk with the white route being the suggested dog walk, up to the black route which covers 8 miles.

Blean Woods can be reached with public transport if you take the Triangle Bus to Herne Bay from campus and alight at the stop Rough Common Turn.

Sightseeing Walks

Another option is to download an app and benefit from a designated walk designed to show you around the City Centre. These expert-designed routes act as a self-guided tour which you can walk at your own leisure and pace.

Apps such as GPSMYCITY provides detailed maps of the area, allowing you to choose a route on the app or create your own so you can see the sites you are specifically interested in. Another positive of this app is that is works offline, so there’s no need to panic about the bad reception many of us experience in the middle of town!

Pair these routes with a warm cup of coffee, good company or simply just an interesting podcast and you’ll have discovered places in the city that you didn’t even know existed! Let us know if you check out any of these routes in the comments below or on our Instagram page - @inquirekent. We would love to see the sites your exploring shows you!

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First published in 1965, InQuire is the University of Kent student newspaper.

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