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Hamish walked this route guided by Tia in the hope his Kent Pet Airedale Club friends would follow in his footsteps in the Spring of 2004. The Abbey grounds are a great place for dogs and families. There are public toilets, free parking and a good supply of dog waste bins. Dogs are welcome throughout the park but must be kept on leads on the road side of the lake. Tia is a regular visitor and in March 2009 she found that a change of ownership of part of the land required an update to the details. What follows is he up-to-date guide.
If travelling by road via the A2 turn towards Dover North, Temple Ewell and River onto the A256 (Whitfield Hill) via Whitfield Roundabout (if travelling from Canterbury this is a right turn just as the dual carriageway starts again). Turn right at a mini roundabout at the bottom of the hill. Turn left into Alkham Road (signed to River, Alkham and the railway station). Continue ahead under railway bridge then towards Alkham as the road bears a little right. The first car park soon appears on the left signposted Kearsney Abbey (almost opposite River Road ). The second car park is also on the left after another 100 metres (signposted Russell Gardens and Kearsney Abbey). Public toilets are in the first car park - the walk starts from the second.
Kearsney railway station is less than five minutes walk - follow directions above from the railway bridge (almost at the station).
The second car park is at GPS grid reference TR 2869 4374. Leave the car park away from the road going uphill. Keep to the right hand edge of the park, close to a fence and near to a drive to houses. CONTINUE AHEAD UPHILL passing the houses on the right (don't take a path on the left before the houses or immediately after the white house). 30 or 40 metres after passing a white house on your right hand side TURN LEFT onto a more obvious path - don't continue ahead up the steeper section of hill. CONTINUE AHEAD steadily uphill passing below an open area on the right. You should soon see the roof tops of River on your left.
Follow the path as it skirts round the open area - keeping the open area on your right hand side. This involves bearing right at a path junction in front of a large Yew tree, still a little uphill. TURN RIGHT over a minor cross paths following the path into an open area. DO NOT CONTINUE AHEAD, as this leads to private woodlands. A railway viaduct is visible slightly left of ahead and the roof tops of River more to the right. Cross the open space and BEAR RIGHT just before reaching the opposite side.
TURN LEFT onto footpath (used earlier). Continue ahead back towards the white house, but, just before reaching it, TURN RIGHT onto a clear footpath. CONTINUE AHEAD towards a metalled road and houses. TURN LEFT towards lake just before reaching the first house. TURN LEFT onto metalled path towards lake.
If you cross the lake via a bridge remember to put your dog on the lead. No dogs are allowed to run off leads on the road side of the lake as there are lots of Swans and ducks and a children's play area. If you go this way pass in front of the buildings (by the first car park) then around the back of the lake to return to the second car park. OTHERWISE KEEP LEFT of the lake and you will quickly see the car park where the walk started.
Hamish came back at the end of April for the fun walk. He led one group of Airedales whilst Tia (his Labrador best friend) led a group of stragglers. The woods were a delight with plenty of bluebells and almost as many Airedales!
Copyright Dogpeople Limited 2009.