On the Crab and Winkle Way

The other day I found myself in Canterbury with a spare hour or two to kill while I waited for my car to be serviced.  Too late for breakfast and too early for lunch, I wasn’t in the mood for shopping, so I decided to walk to Westgate Gardens and sit outside in the sunshine.

I watched the punts travel soundlessly along the river and wondered if I had time for a boat trip as it looked incredibly relaxing, but I decided this was a better left for a day with no time constraints.  Instead I set out to explore the park in more detail as I had passed it many times, but never walked around the whole park.  As I followed the river away from the more formal gardens at the Westgate entrance, the foliage became more wild until I reached a set of railings, with an open gate. 

metal railings and gate under a concrete bridge.  Path running through bushes and brambles, under bridge and through second set of gates.
Slightly sinister – what if someone locks the gate

I was slightly worried about being trapped if someone locked the gates; perhaps they weren’t meant to be open, but I went through regardless.

Beyond the fence, the park was replaced by a path that led through trees and bushes and opened out into a empty clearing, perfect for picnicking.  Walking further, I found signs directing me to the Crab and Winkle way, a walking and cycling route and I realised I was exploring part of the riverside route I saw whenever I drove through Canterbury.  This has been on my visit list for a long time but I had never known how to get to the footpath I could see running alongside the river. 

Wide open grassy space, with dark green trees and bushes making a wall around the edge of the space.
Ideal of a picnic

Unfortunately this time it could only be a short visit, so I turned back and crossed the river, so I could walk back on a different route.  This time I didn’t pass through a fence between the park and the footpath when I travelled under the road was made more interesting by artworks brightening the concrete struts supporting the overpass.

Concrete v shapes supporting overpass, painted with leaves and flowers and abstract designs.  Blue painted horizontal bar at top.  Water dark shadow between the two pathways.
Not a gloomy underpass

Heading back to the entrance, I spotted a strange overflow from the river, where the water left the main course of the river and ended at the edge of a street.  Again I was surprised by how easy it is to miss these things.  I have been to Canterbury countless times and passed this little side street without ever noticing this outlet from the river.

stream running out of main watercourse and up brick paved path.  Main watercourse running from left to right of picture.  Walkway on far side of water with trees and railings.  Iron bridge at right edge of picture.
Side street looking back at Westgate Gardens

Further research shows me the Crab and Winkle way is a 7 or 8 mile walk taking about 3.5 hours to walk, so I think I will probably travel this in sections.  I’m a ambler not a rambler, but I look forward to continuing this exploration.

Crab and Winkle Way Walking and Cycle Path

Canterbury Punt Trips

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