NORTH DOWNS WAY - CANTERBURY TO THE ENGLISH CHANNEL
England’s Great Walking Trails in association with Walk Awhile
Starting in the cathedral city of Canterbury, walk the Pilgrims Way to Chilham & Wye, then follow the North Downs Way from the village of Wye across the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to reach the Kent Heritage Coast, placed number 4 on Lonely Planet's International Best in Travel list for 2022! The route offers superb scenic tranquillity across a mixture of woodland, rare chalk grassland and hills; providing stunning views as you head towards the White Cliffs of Dover. From Folkestone, the walk skirts the Kent coast and cliffs, winding its way on to historic Dover, and onwards to the seaside town of Deal on the 6 day itinerary. Alternatively start from the village of Wye continuing to the coast (4 days). Difficulty: Moderate 7 to 12miles per day with hill walking
Available March to end of October
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This itinerary includes: ensuite accommodation in quality inns and B&Bs, with breakfasts, daily luggage transfer, fully marked up maps, advice on GPS link to the route, and guidebook, with tracker support.
Support and advice is available by phone from your tracker throughout the duration of your walk. After breakfast each day, your luggage will be transported to your next accommodation stop. There is an optional debrief meeting at the end of your holiday.
Walk Awhile accommodates walkers at walker friendly inns, hotels and B&Bs. There are dozens of historic pubs along the route, for you to enjoy.
Flights arrive/leave from Gatwick, Stansted and Heathrow Airport, with good links to St. Pancras International rail station.
Dover Ferry Port in Kent connects to Calais by cross channel Ferry, from where train can be taken to Ashford/Wye.
Canterbury, Ashford & Dover on main train lines from St Pancras International. Ashford International Station is one stop from Wye. Connections from Deal to Ramsgate and London.
Eurostar from Lille, Paris and Brussels to St. Pancras, and Ashford. National Express Coach Services run regularly from London Victoria to Canterbury, Ashford and Dover.
Check into your accommodation close to Canterbury Cathedral and enjoy sightseeing in this historic city. A choice of restaurants for the evening meal.
Follow the North Downs Way up onto the chalk escarpment, the views opening out as walkers ascend to the Wye Nature Reserve, where orchids flower in season. Above the bowl-shaped valley at the Devil’s Kneading Trough, enjoy stunning views from the scarp across Romney Marsh to Dungeness and over the Channel Catch glimpses of the sea as you cross miles of pastureland, before admiring the 360-degree panoramic views from Tolsford Hill. This is a lovely place for a picnic, or continue to The Tiger Inn, Stowting for lunch. Overnight accommodation at a farmhouse near the trail (19 km/12 miles
Canterbury to Chilham
Today’s walk explores the most rural aspects of the Kent downs. This grassland is littered with rare flora, WW2 pillboxes and earthworks from a Norman Castle. Head back onto the North Downs Way and Saxon Shore Way. Pass Caesar's Camp Iron-age fort and the Battle of Britain memorial and museum, where the visitor centre is part of ‘Chalk Up 21’– the first of nine buildings in an imaginative 21st century architectural series that you will pass. Follow the White Cliffs Country Trail along the top of cliffs, passing a Knights Templar church along with Napoleonic forts offering dramatic views of Dover castle and the White Cliffs of Dover. You may catch glimpses of France on the hazy horizon as you head into Dover, with plenty of options for food, drink. 16.9 km / 11 miles
Folkestone to Dover
Wye to Folkestone
Follow the Pilgrims way through KIngs Wood, passing Godmersham House where Jane Austen frequently stayed when visiting her brother. Look out for deer in this old hunting ground dating back to the days of King John. Descend the drovers trail to Boughton Aluph church and the Pilgrims Porch where medieval pilgrims gathered for safety. Take the North Downs Way southern loop towards the riverside village of Wye to your overnight accommodation 13 km/8.2 miles
Chilham to Wye
Leaving the busy city behind you soon ascend into woodland, and take the trail through Bigbury Camp, where Julius Caesar defeated the British Tribes in 54 bc. Continue through orchards, valleys and pass vineyards in this fertile landscape as you approach to picturesque village of Chilham with its ancient church, and medieval houses around the square.11.5 kms/7 miles
Dover to Deal
Dover Castle is one of the best places to gain an understanding of a thousand years of England’s history. Take the morning to explore and don’t miss the fabulous WWII tunnels. Continue along the White Cliffs Country Trail, visiting the smuggling village of St Margaret’s Bay. The walk continues onwards to Walmer, with its picture-perfect Tudor Castle and gorgeous gardens. Your destination is the town of Deal, where you will spot the third spectacular castle of the day. Your Seafront accommodation in Deal is a nineteenth-century Inn. 15.9km / 9.9miles
Level - Strenuous hill ascents & descents
Exploring Deal or the neighbouring ‘Cinque Port’ town of Sandwich (option of continuing walk to Sandwich on day 7)
This holiday can be adapted - starting from Wye and/or finish in Dover, returning to Canterbury