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Hike through Kent’s finest scenery to the sea — Stour Valley Walk

Phuong Ho

Hike through Kent’s finest scenery to the sea — Stour Valley Walk

Hiking Collection by Dan Hobson

4-8

days

3-6 h

/ day

60.7 mi

2,025 ft

2,475 ft

The Stour Valley Walk is a long-distance trail that winds through Kent's finest scenery and most spellbinding natural and historic sites to the coastline.

Following the course of the River Stour, the trail takes you from Lenham village, through the Low Weald and North Downs to the wildlife-rich Sandwich Bay. The official route is 58 miles (93 km). However, with a few detours to some worthy sites, this Collection is 61 miles (98 km).

The landscapes you encounter on this hike are delightfully diverse. Expect rolling grasslands, heathlands, woodlands, marshes, peat bogs, orchards, vineyards, picturesque villages, historic towns, and charming coastline. You explore plenty of nature reserves too, each affording wonderful wildlife displays.

Highlights along the way include: Hothfield Heathlands Nature Reserve, one of the last heathlands in Kent; Wye Crown Millennium Stone, which affords breathtaking views; Canterbury, a historic city and UNESCO World Heritage Site; Canterbury Cathedral, the most famous Christian structure in England; Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve; Richborough Castle, one of the most symbolic Roman sites in Britain; Sandwich, a pretty town where the sandwich was invented; and Sandwich and Pegwell Bay, Kent’s largest nature reserve.

In this Collection, I split the trail into four stages; 17.7 miles (28.5 km), 14.2 miles (22.6 km), 15.8 miles (25.4 km), and 13 miles (21 km). As Stage 1 is considerably longer than the others, I have made suggestions on how you can shorten/split the hike. Of course, you can divide the Collection into as many days as you are comfortable with or walk any single stage.

With minimal hills and following a downhill trajectory throughout, the trail is fairly leisurely throughout. Following waymarked paths and never straying too far from civilisation, the Stour Valley Walk is suitable for walkers of all abilities.

You are relatively well-served by accommodation along the route. However, places to stay are limited at times so it is worth planning in advance and scheduling your rest days accordingly.

Getting to the start and finish of this trail is very easy as both Lenham and Sandwich have railway stations with direct links to London and connecting services around Britain.

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Stour Valley Walk

53.6 mi

1,475 ft

1,850 ft

Last updated: November 5, 2021

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    07:22
    17.7 mi
    2.4 mph
    425 ft
    750 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The first stage explores crumbling ruins, a Jacobean manor, one of the last remaining heathlands in Kent, and the ‘most haunted village in England’.

    

    With 17.7 miles (28.5 km) of distance, this is a long hike. However, with 425 feet (130 m) of uphill and 750 feet (229 m) of downhill, and with no climbs

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    06:12
    14.2 mi
    2.3 mph
    1,075 ft
    1,050 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Breathtaking views, impressive architecture, pretty towns and welcoming pubs combine on this stage.

    

    By far the hilliest hike in the Collection, this 14.2-mile (22.6-km) stage has 1,075 feet (328 m) of uphill and 1,050 feet (320 m) of downhill, including some fairly tough climbs.

    

    To begin, you wind through

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    06:34
    15.8 mi
    2.4 mph
    400 ft
    525 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Stage 3 takes you alongside the Great Stour river through the heart of Canterbury UNESCO World Heritage Site, and into a nature reserve that is home to thousands of birds.

    

    Returning to normal Stour Valley Walk form, this level and leisurely hike is 15.8 miles (25.4 km) long with 400 feet (122 m) of uphill

    by Dan Hobson

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  • Difficult
    05:19
    13.0 mi
    2.5 mph
    150 ft
    150 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The final stage takes you to the glorious Kent coastline via one the most symbolic Roman sites in Britain and the birthplace of the humble, but dearly loved, sandwich.

    

    Almost entirely level, this easygoing finale is 13 miles (21 km) long with an equal 150 feet (46 m) of uphill and downhill. However, as

    by Dan Hobson

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    4
  • Distance
    60.7 mi
  • Duration
    25:27 h
  • Elevation
    2,025 ft2,475 ft

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Hike through Kent’s finest scenery to the sea — Stour Valley Walk

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