WALKS

Kentish Express Ashford & District - What's On - - NEWS -

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.

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