The Blean is a wonderful mix of woodland, countryside and villages situated between Canterbury and Faversham, Whitstable and Herne Bay.
Walk through ancient woodland and across open fields as you explore this fascinating landscape that is steeped in history spanning thousands of years.
You will follow ancient droveways along this walk; for many centuries these were used to drive animals from winter to summer pastures. Old ditches surround the droveways which carve out the landscape and centuries earlier, defined land ownership boundaries.
You’ll find panoramic views over Knockhimdown Hill across to Sheppey and the 30 turbines of the Kentish Flats Wind Farm in the Swale estuary. On a clear day it is possible to see Essex and Sheppey. Underfoot the land comprises of heavy clay. Large quantities of clay were removed from here to fill a breach in sea defences during the great storm of 1953 which saw several thousand miles of British coastline breached with sea water pouring into the streets.
Old Blean Union Workhouse
The old Blean Union Workhouse is another piece of local history found at the start and end of your walk. The imposing building opened in April 1835 to serve 16 parishes and 420 inmates and was overseen by Blean Poor Law Union. Discipline was said to be strict with harsh punishments routinely given. The building was later extended and changed into a hospital for ‘infectious’ cases before finally being converted for residential use.
Look out for the interesting field boundary of Bleanbottom Shaw, a strip of natural woodland that may a remnant of much larger woodland or which defines field boundaries
This is a walk that is alive with history and will enlighten your senses, it is also rich with wildlife prevalent all year round. With meandering tracks and open grassland, the terrain is inspiring and uplifting. It’s a great way to spend a day learning about our wonderful Kentish landscape.