A walk from Maidstone to Rochester 15/06/2019

I thought it was some time since I did one of my long distance pub hikes, so on Saturday 15 June I did a 15 mile walk from Maidstone to Rochester. First pub stop was as soon as I left the train at Maidstone East. A nice pint of Ruddles in the Wetherspoon “Society Rooms” at 09:48:
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Maidstone is a quaint town, but I didn’t have time to explore its streets:

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I followed the path from the station to the River Medway and was greeted with this view looking southward as I walked down the steps to the river tow path:
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But this isn’t the way I wanted to go as I was walking north towards Allington Locks.
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As I walked along the tow path some fine old Thames barges were spotted
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And soon enough my second pub came into sight, The Malta Inn:
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I find the lock machinery at Allington quite fascinating:
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As did this cute swan family of mum and dad with eight signets:
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I soon reached the fine old stone Aylesford Bridge
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…………. and my next pub right next door, The Chequers.
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I quickly walked through the picturesque old town with its noisy traffic and entered the flat river meadows and marshes:
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I was now approaching nearby Burham, which nestles between the Medway and the North Downs. It felt about right for another pint, so I diverted slightly off route to The Butcher’s Block at Burham and a nice pint of Old Dairy:
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Walking past the ancient church of St. Mary’s at Burham, I was soon once again in the riverside marshes.
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Walking through the desolate marshes I came across the memorial stone, set up as a monument to the Battle of the Medway in 43 AD, when British tribes under the command of Caratacus tried to halt the advancing Roman legions and failed.
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The wide sweep of the river 20190615_132117soon brought me to the new dwellings of Peter’s Village.
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Lovely houses, but no pubs here I’m afraid. Still it was a good place to sit and eat my lunch – a large chunk of homemade cottage pie.
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A quick tally of my pints so far revealed I had only managed to sink four – hardly my normal pint per mile. So I hastened on towards Wouldham, where I knew two good pubs awaited me.

Sure enough, the first pub at Wouldham was The Medway Inn and a good pint of London Pride:
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Only a short hop from here to the the next great Wouldham pub, The Waterman’s Arms, and a gorgeous pint of Spitfire Gold:
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From Wouldham, I took the high ground up to the North Downs ridge and then my descent towards Rochester:
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passing some old square oast houses on the way:
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As I passed through Borstal, I remembered The White Horse on the way and was pleased to see it still thriving:
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And this is where I met my new friend Frank – a rather gorgeous French Bulldog puppy whose coat colour is known as ‘blue’:
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Two pints were swiftly downed here as Frank’s owner and I swapped experiences of owning French Bulldogs.

And now the final sweeping approach to Rochester and its famous bridge, still privately owned would you believe!
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Rochester Castle soon came into view, followed quickly by my first pub in Rochester proper, The Crown:
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I fought hard in Rochester, but the pubs came thick and fast and I was unable to beat them off:
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First two up, right next to each other so I had no chance, were The Jolly Knight and The King’s Head:
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Followed swiftly by Ye Arrow:
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and a pint of St Edmunds
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I realised now I was not going to win this battle, so after a quick glimpse of Rochester Cathedral for divine guidance,
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I dragged myself into The Smoke Liquor for a bottle of smoked porter – gorgeous!
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Now having decided I was truly defeated, I finished off at The Two Brewers and The Eagle Tavern:
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I fought a good battle, but decided to yield at this point having imbibed a total of 15 pints during the day. So eventually I did meet my pint per mile target. I got home at 21:30, was kicked about a bit by SWMBO, and went off to bed to have a fine sleep. An excellent day out. Soon to be repeated I hope by going along the Medway in the other direction southwards from Maidstone to Tonbridge, but that will be another tale!

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