Go from cloisters to oysters with seven miles of almost traffic-free cycling, the Crab and Winkle Way between Canterbury and Whitstable explores a delightful slice of east Kent, packed with history and nostalgia.
The route is signed from Canterbury West station and joins National Cycle Route 1 through the town near the river at Pound Lane. From Harbledown the route is mostly traffic free, following the old railway line from the Winding Pond (a great place to picnic) to the outskirts of Whitstable.
The path, which caters for riders of all abilities, takes its name from the pioneering railway line which ran between Canterbury and Whitstable from the early part of the 19th century. It was one of the first to be built in Great Britain.
With an area designated as a World Heritage Site, there is a lot to see and do in Canterbury. From visiting Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey and Canterbury museum, to exploring the city’s lanes and fantastic independent boutiques and eateries.
On the way to Whitstable, the path passes through the Blean, with its 13th century Church of St Cosmus and St Damian, and Blean Woods, a delightful RSPB nature reserve covering more than 11 square miles.
The journey also takes you through the conifer-dominated woodland of Clowes Wood, one of the best places in the country to hear the remarkable song of the nightjar.
Once in Whitstable, seafood is high on the agenda and places to consider include the Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company, East Quay Shellfish Bar, Wheelers’ Oyster Bar, Birdies Eating House and the Crab and Winkle restaurant.
Whitstable’s vibrant contemporary arts scene has led to the growth of colourful craft shops in the town. The Whitstable Museum and Gallery has permanent and touring exhibitions, many reflecting the town’s seafaring traditions.
A stroll along the Saxon Shore Way and the cliff-top lawns of Tankerton Slopes, with their colourful wooden beach huts, offers perfect views of `The Street’ – a narrow shingle ridge stretching half-a-mile out to sea at low tide.