Ales of The Trail

Kent Life - - Countryside Life -

We are par­tic­u­larly ex­cited to be launch­ing a col­lab­o­ra­tive project in­volv­ing lo­cal breweries who have ded­i­cated of­fi­cial beers of the North Downs Way to quench some walk­ers’ thirst.

The North Downs Way Na­tional Trail has teamed up with lo­cal breweries in Kent, Med­way, and Sur­rey to cre­ate an Ale Trail for walk­ers to ex­plore along the route. The area has a rich his­tory of hop grow­ing and strong links to the brew­ing in­dus­try stretch­ing back cen­turies. To­day it is home to many out­stand­ing and award­win­ning lo­cal pro­duc­ers with over ten breweries tak­ing part.

Each brew­ery has ded­i­cated an ‘Ale of The Trail’ to be­come an of­fi­cial beer of the North Downs Way. Most ales have a link to the trail ei­ther through name, lo­cal seashore, is open­ing up sec­tions of the Ken­tish coast­line we have pre­vi­ously been un­able to ac­cess and fur­ther strength­en­ing Kent’s walk­ing in­fras­truc­ture.

The North Downs Way is one of only 15 des­ig­nated Na­tional Trails in Eng­land and Wales with unique land­scapes and a di­verse ap­peal. The trail fol­lows a chalk ridge that winds over hills and grass­land, pass­ing through se­cluded dry val­leys, iso­lated farm­steads and churches, oasts, orchards, an­cient wood­land and the iconic White Cliffs of Dover.

Mea­sur­ing 153 miles, the

North Downs Way makes for a great place for a fam­ily day out, a short walk, ride, a re­ally good ice cream or a life-chang­ing, long-dis­tance walk.

The North Downs Way was opened in 1978 by the-then Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury, the Most Rev­erend and Right Hon­ourable Don­ald Cog­gan, at Wye Downs.

The North Downs Way is one of the best ways to ex­plore and en­joy the Kent Downs Area of Out­stand­ing Nat­u­ral Beauty through which a large sec­tion of the trail runs.

To cel­e­brate this mile­stone year and an ex­cit­ing fu­ture ahead, a pro­gramme of free in­gre­di­ents or links to mil­i­tary or cul­tural her­itage.

All the breweries in­volved make a con­tri­bu­tion to the up­keep of the trail to help keep the route in top shape, main­tain sig­nage and keep path­ways clear, so each pint sold con­trib­utes to­wards the up­keep of the trail.

North Downs Way Trail Man­ager, Pete Mor­ris (above) says: “Each year we spend £20,000 on veg­e­ta­tion man­age­ment to keep the trail open. We have in­vested more than £150,000 in the last five years resur­fac­ing dam­aged sec­tions of the trail, so ev­ery pint counts!

“Many of our vis­i­tors en­joy a pint of lo­cal ale as they ex­plore the trail and we’re mak­ing it eas­ier for them to sup­port the trail as they do so. Work­ing with our fan­tas­tic net­work of coun­try

‘The charm of the place to me is that al­most ev­ery field is in­ter­sected… by one of more foot­paths – I never saw so many walks in any other coun­try. The coun­try is ex­traor­di­nar­ily ru­ral and quiet with nar­row lanes and high hedges and hardly any ruts. It is re­ally sur­pris­ing to think that Lon­don is only 16 miles off,’ Charles Dar­win’

and fam­ily events is run­ning through­out 2018 with fund­ing from the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund. You can find out more at www. kent­downs.org.uk.

So far this year, led walks along the trail have at­tracted more than 400 walk­ers to learn more about the his­toric links and the mag­nif­i­cent pro­tected land­scapes of Kent and Sur­rey Hills.

On a resur­gent theme of Pil­grim­age, the North Downs

Way is in­volved in a Euro­pean Green Pil­grim­age Project. This in­volves learn­ing best prac­tice and pol­icy from in­ter­na­tion­ally estab­lished long-dis­tance routes such as the Camino or way of St James to San­ti­ago de Com­pestella and St Olavs Way to Trond­heim in Nor­way. pubs, inns and farm shops, we will cre­ate a map and beer pass­port for walk­ers to seek out the dif­fer­ent ales and tick them off as they pass along the trail. This is great news for the breweries, pubs and the walk­ers, and the trail.” Join our team As part of the cel­e­bra­tion we are look­ing to re­cruit a team of North Downs Way Am­bas­sadors to lead sim­i­lar walks and events through­out the year. If you, or some­one you know is a keen walker and has good knowl­edge of the trail, we would love to hear from you. Train­ing will take place in Au­tumn 2018.

Please con­tact peter.mor­[email protected] kent­downs.org for fur­ther in­for­ma­tion.

Pete Mor­ris, North Downs Way Trail Man­ager

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