North Downs Way update
As the clocks go back and the nights draw in we can pause and reflect on another walking season along the North Downs Way. Throughout the summer, walkers and other users on the Kent section of the trail will have noticed the new oak fingerposts which have recently been installed. As well as looking good and blending in well with the countryside, they give users added information about the route ahead and distances to towns and villages along the route.
These mark all locations where the National Trail meets a section of public highway. To complete the wholesale renewal of the signs along the trail in Kent we are organising a replacement programme of the waymark posts too. These will be located at path junctions and other important places along the route to ensure that the walker can follow the route with complete confidence. There will be over 300 new waymark posts installed along the Kent section.
We haven’t forgotten the Surrey section too, where some renewal work is going on with the signs making the whole trail look much better.
The other major change along the North Downs Way is the exciting news that the route now has a brand new finish in Dover. For the past 32 years walkers completing the trail have ended their journey in the inauspicious surroundings of the Market Square in Dover. The route has now been extended a short distance in Dover so that the trail now finishes on the coast. The setting is much more dramatic with views of the White Cliffs and Dover castle and across the Channel to France. To mark the new finish at the coast a new End of Trail Marker has recently been unveiled as part of a redevelopment of the Esplanade in Dover.
The new End of Trail marker takes the form of a long start/finish granite strip and a cast iron plaque carved with shapes of the flora and fauna of the North Downs.
The North Downs Way is the ideal long distance route to sample in small sections. It is also very easy to access by public transport. So why not leave the car at home and sample the wonderful autumn colours along the wooded sections of Surrey and Kent or the coastal stretch from Folkestone finishing on the stunning new Esplanade in Dover.
I hope to meet some of you on the trail in the coming months, do say hello! - Tony Gowers