We’ve got some top winter walks to try this Christmas holidays.
Put a spring in your step this winter with these wonderful walks when you can see the county at its best, see some new sights, get out in the fresh air with your nearest and dearest and burn off a few festive calories. Senior features writer Angela Cole picks six to try 1 RAMBLERS’ FESTIVAL OF WINTER WALKS
The popular Festival of Winter Walks runs from Friday, December 21 to Sunday, January 6. Ramblers groups across the South East are offering a selection of free festive walks to give everyone the chance to enjoy winter landscapes in good company, and to meet new friends at this time of year. Ramblers research from winter 2017 found that almost half of adults surveyed felt socially isolated or lonely over the Christmas period.
Tompion Platt, from the group, said: “Winter is a wonderful time to go walking and enjoy the cold crisp air and striking frosty landscapes. “But we also know the festive season can be a difficult time for people on their own.”
Visit ramblers.org.uk/winter for details of free group walks across Kent. Between Boxing Day and Sunday, December 30 - or Twixmas, betwixt Christmas and New Year - you can enjoy a magical after dark woodland walk through Bedgebury Pinetum & Forest. The family friendly trail sees the forest aglow with more than a million bulbs when you can follow a mile-long path when the site’s trees are dramatically drenched in seasonal colour.
There are light projections, soundscapes and art installations. Highlights include the Tunnel of Light, with more than 100,000
2 WINTER WALKS, HEVER CASTLE
Wrap up warm and head to Hever for a crisp country walk between Christmas and New Year. The historic castle is open daily from Thursday, December
27 to New Year’s
Day for those looking to recharge their batteries after the hustle and bustle of Christmas. Visitors pay for entry to the garden only entry and get castle entry free. There’s also a chance to go on the vintage fairground in the castle forecourt and the interactive Christmas Carol themed trail. The Redwood trees will be glowing and the Winter Garden will be in full bloom. For details of prices and opening times visit hevercastle.co.uk or call 01732 865224.
3 TWIXMAS, BEDGEBURY PINETUM, GOUDHURST
pea-lights in a 70m long immersive walkway under a canopy of ancient trees, singing lanterns and a scented Fire Garden. Christmas at Bedgebury costs £17, £10.50 for children, with under fives and carers free. It will be closed on Christmas day.
Book on 0844 995 1365 or at Christmasatbedgebury.co.uk
4 NATIONAL TRUST WINTER WALKS SCOTNEY CASTLE & CHARTWELL
The trust has winter walks and walking trails across the county to escape the festive bustle. Take a stroll through frosty countryside and look out for seasonal wildlife. Scotney Castle at Lamberhurst be open for estate walks daily from dawn to dusk and the house is open from 11am to 3pm. Chartwell at Westerham will have pre or post walk festive brunch on selected days between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Details at nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/winter-walks-in-kent
5 THREE RIVER VALLEY WALKS IN WEST KENT
Step out on three walks over 60 miles along Kentish rivers this winter, with help from a new guide published by Kent Ramblers. The 80 page book , written by group secretary Robert Peel, features the 19-mile Darent Valley Path starting at Sevenoaks and finishes north of Dartford; the 15-mile Eden Valley Walk starts near Edenbridge and finishes at Tonbridge Castle, and the 28-mile Medway Valley Walk starts near Tonbridge Castle and finishes at Rochester. Three River Valley Walks in West Kent: Darent Valley Path, Eden Valley Walk and Medway Valley Walk is published by Kent Ramblers at £7.50. Visit kentramblers.org.uk or email [email protected]tramblers.org.uk
6 TOP WINTER WALKS FROM EXPLORE KENT
Explore Kent have many walks to try, including top winter walks. Try the Walmer to Deal Castle, a leisurely twomile treat which takes in the countryside, coastline and two castles!
The two mile route starts in Deal at CT14 7LL. It takes in Walmer Castle, built by Henry VIII as part of his coastal defence network. Over the centuries, the castle has evolved into a grand residence for the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. Deal Castle was also built by Henry VIII to repel potential invaders from France and Spain, and remains one of the finest Tudor artillery castles in England. There are benches along the walk for opportunities for rest. There is a step by step guide online, with pictures, and a map. Visit explorekent.org/activities/ walmer-to-deal-castle/ and you can also search for others.