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Kent Pilgrims' Festival tagsOutdoor Activities tags

Join Walk AWhile for a guided walk from Chilham to Canterbury along the North Downs Way and Pilgrims’ Way.

  • 9:30am - 3pm
  • £5
  • Chilham

Walk details

Walk guided by Jack Bright from Walk Awhile Walking Holidays, a local family run walking tour operator. Walk Awhile has been organising walks and undertaking research on the Pilgrims’ Way and North Downs Way since 2001.

  • Meet in Chilham square at 9:30
  • Begin in Chilham square, a location used in the Powell and Pressburgher film A Canterbury Tale. Chilham village is considered to be one the most beautiful villages in England and featured as the main setting for the BBC’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma.
  • The group will be briefly appraised of both Hilaire Belloc’s and Julia Cartwright’s Pilgrimage routes to Canterbury and will be made aware of the Victorian and Edwardian revival of interest in the Pilgrims’ Way.
  • The walk will ascend Belloc’s Pilgrims’ Way to Old Wives’ Lees and walk through landscape evocative of the Garden of England, passing oast houses and walking through orchards and woods to Nickel Farm.
  • On arriving in the village of Chartham Hatch at midday, we will stop to eat our packed lunches in No Man’s Orchard. The path then emerges at the foot of Bigbury Camp earthworks, an iron-age hill fort, where Caesar defeated the British tribes in 54 BC.
  • The final two miles takes the group through Harbledown village referred to as Bobbe-up-and-down in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (Manciples Tale). At Harbledown the group passes St Nicolas’s Chapel, part of the Leper’s Hospital established by the Norman Archbishop, Llanfranc. The group will also visit the Black Princes Well.
  • The final stretch of the walk into Canterbury takes the group past the church of St Dunstan’s. Opposite the church is the Tudor gateway to the Roper estate.
  • The final quarter of a mile takes the group through the city walls and the medieval West Gate to Canterbury, through which pilgrims would have passed on arrival to Canterbury.
  • Estimated arrival at Canterbury Cathedral between 14:00 and 15:00.
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