Driving home after a visit to the cinema at the Dockside complex in Chatham on Saturday night, I noticed a signpost to 'Riverside Country Park'. My geography is hopeless, but even I know the 'Medway Towns' are sited along the River Medway - however, my sleepy little post 'Pirates-of-the-Carribean' head briefly pondered how an entire 'Country Park' could possibly have been squeezed into such a heavily urbanised area. So after lunch yesterday afternoon, Stuart and I drove back along the A2 to satisfy my curiosity ...
We turned right at the 'Honourable Pilot' pub in Gillingham, then took a couple more turns and in the blink of an eye, the townscape vanished and we were pleasantly surprised to be driving past horses grazing peacefully in green pastures. (In fact, Stuart confessed to driving to nearby Gillingham football stadium every week throughout the footie season for the past thirty years, without ever realising how different the landscape was just along the road!)
View towards Kingsnorth Power Station
Once parked, we climbed wooden steps and there before us lay the Medway Estuary with a view of the Kingsnorth Power Station contrasting dramatically against the horizon.
Across marshland, towards Motney Hill
We were buffeted by sea salty gusts along the estuary pathway towards Motney Hill and then followed the coastal path along the Saxon Shore Way. For me, part of the charm of this walk was not only the outstanding beauty of the area, but also old boats, long since abandoned, now claimed by Mother Nature and woven into her landscape.
View from 'Horrid Hill'
Our walk along the coastal path lasted about an hour before we decided to head back to the visitor centre, by which time I was wildly windswept and very much in need of an ice-cream! Our final stroll of the afternoon, ices in hand, led us across a causeway to 'Horrid Hill' (possibly named after French prisoners were incarcerated on large ships on the island during the Napoleonic Wars) ... definitely a place with a grim history!
Wrecked on Horrid Hill!
We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon at Riverside Country Park. The views were interesting and the terrain not too taxing ... having said that, on an icy November's day I imagine it could be a very bleak walk!
If you would like to visit, please visit the website below for directions: