The River Medway provides the perfect setting to unwind, relax and enjoy the Kent countryside. The River itself runs from between East Grinstead and Forest Row in East Sussex, through the High Weald, around the Hartfield and Groombridge areas, on to Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge, then to Yalding and Maidstone and finally joining the Thames Estuary between Sheerness and the Isle of Grain.
Through history this has been a major trading route for Maidstone and until the introduction of the bridges and locks, the horseway was also one of the few crossing points. This can still be found between the College of Priests and All Saints Church. The Millennium Footbridge enables walkers to cross safely without getting their feet wet.
The River Medway is now more recreational rather than a trading route but nevertheless is for its entire length an interesting and magical place to explore. This can be done in a variety of ways:
Exploring by boat
The Kentish Lady runs from Maidstone on either three hour trips taking in Allington and East Farleigh or alternatively, on some days, just the short journey to Allington. If you want to explore with your family and at your own pace then a boat from Allington Belle day hire can take up to eight people and you can go for two hours or all day, depending on what suits you. Driving instruction is given prior to departure and these small boats can go as far as Tonbridge.
If you want to be closer to the water and quieter then maybe taking in a canoe safari is a good choice. Here you intermingle with the wildlife in their habitat and you will find amazing flora and fauna whilst quietly paddling your own canoe. Canoes can go even further up the river than Tonbridge.
Exploring on foot
If you don’t want to get on the water then some excellent footpaths run next to the River Medway and into the surrounding countryside, often making circular walks taking in tea rooms or pubs for that essential refreshment along the way. The valley which the River Medway runs through is scenic and changes the whole way along its route.
Exploring on a bicycle
The footpaths between Maidstone and Yalding are particularly pretty to explore, and towards the source of the river from Groombridge a very good cycle and footpath runs through to Forest Row. Some small sections of the river are less accessible but still run through beautiful countryside and there is plenty to do and see on the whole route.
Fishing is permitted on certain stretches of the River Medway. A valid rod licence is needed, visit your local Post Office
An abundance of wildlife can be found along the banks of the river. For more information about nature conservation in the area visit the Medway Valley Countryside Partnership website or telephone 01622 683695.
|opening 2017 (1 Jan 2017 - 31 Dec 2017)|
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