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.
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.
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.
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.
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.