A combination of factors lead to us parking our car in Harbledown (just outside Canterbury) and setting off along a section of the North Downs Way. The weather was variable, but cold the whole time. Our first stop was at Bigbury Camp. This wasn’t quite what I was expecting – because from the path it just looked like a very big hill. But once we started walking up, it was possible to see the ramparts, and the top was… un-naturally flat, with great views. This pre-Roman fort had been overgrown until recently but has been cleared and is part of a Kent Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve.
We carried on walking west, to find No Man’s Orchard – a community orchard in the parishes of Chartham, Harbledown and Rough Common. This was very different to our park orchard, as it was already an established orchard, planted mainly in 1947, and is now in community management, with people able to adopt trees, and new trees planted to replace the old ones.
Carrying on with a circular walk back to the car would have made the day too long, so we then walked back the same way.. which does of course give different views, especially given the rapidly changing clouds, sun and rain. The North Downs Way is very well sign posted, although maintenance of signs may be a problem.
As well as an interest in the orchard, and signage, in reference to Grosvenor and Hilbert Park, I wanted another walk around Harbledown as part of family tree research. Although I’m not sure I’m any nearer to finding which house was the Post Office in 1911. An added family connection was finding out my Father had worked during the 1950s on the farm that the community orchard was part of. A total of about three hours, including a stop on a tree stump for some lunch; however, there are pubs in both Chartham Hatch and Harbledown for anyone wanting a more relaxing circular walk!