Pilgrims Cycle Trail

Explore Kent
Created by
Explore Kent
  • Suitable for mountain bike
  • Suitable for hybrid bike
  • Suitable for road bike
  • Regional cycle route
  • National cycle route
  • Parking
  • Suitable for families
  • Suitable for beginners

Although the route as a whole can prove to be quite challenging, it can easily be broken down using many of the access points along the way, including Ashford and Maidstone where there are great public transport links and parking. Starting in the west travelling to the east of the county our journey starts under the imposing stature of Rochester Cathedral and Castle. Leaving the Medway Towns you will join a relatively quiet road network towards Maidstone before cutting through off-road tracks alongside the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and up through shady woodland to Blue Bell Hill passing by the Robin Hood Pub at the top. A charming Grade II listed pub, the Robin Hood is reported to be one of the oldest in England and was apparently once frequented by pilgrims on their journey to Canterbury.

Continuing on, enjoy the quiet lanes and dedicated cycle track before taking the safe route over Detling Hill on Jade’s Crossing. Here the route can be picked up from nearby Maidstone. Along the route there is much temptation in the way of some exceptional Kent country pubs, offering a welcome pit-stop for the thirsty traveller. On this section you will pass by the Black Horse Inn at Thurnham and the Dirty Habit at Hollingbourne.

The views as you continue will open up in an overwhelming manner. A number of interpretation panels can be found as you cycle describing this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, its wildlife and landscapes.

Carrying on along a mixture of quiet lanes and off-road bridleways and byways you will pass through the villages of Charing and Westwell before reaching the outskirts of Ashford.

Entering Ashford the route follows dedicated cycle routes, passes through Eureka Leisure Park before meeting the River Stour and National Cycle route 18. At this point you could hop off the route and catch the train back from Ashford International train station or carry on to Canterbury.

The last 17 mile stretch takes you through the valley of the Great Stour into the City of Canterbury. The first section follows quiet lanes through the pretty village of Wye and up the steep hills to Crundale before heading down the other side to Chartham. At Chartham the route joins onto the Great Stour Way, a newly created traffic-free riverside path towards Canterbury.

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