When we think of the River Medway we tend to think of Rochester and Chatham but in the Upper Medway Valley the river flows through some of our most beautiful countryside. We begin at an ancient country church with beautiful stained glass by Marc Chagall and end at the serene Carmelite Friary founded beside the river by a crusader. Along the way we enjoy many Kentish curios, myths and legends in the county where the Medway or middle-
Join the Blue Badge guide at 10.30am for morning coffee and biscuits (included) at Tudeley near Tunbridge Wells. In the early 1960's a young girl from the local manor house showed great potential as an art collector when she bought David Hockney’s student exhibition painting. When she drowned in a sailing accident at Rye her heartbroken parents commissioned the Russian artist Marc Chagall to design stained glass windows for the parish church in her memory and the result is magical. The joy of the Tudeley windows in this tiny church is that they are at eye level: one can go right up to them and see the marks of Chagall’s hands.
From Tudeley we follow the Medway crossing from side to side, sometimes Men of Kent, sometimes Kentishmen. We see the Hoppers Hospital, some very pretty villages and marinas full of bobbing boats and cross the ancient bridge at Yalding -
We stop in compact and handsome West Malling to buy lunch – this is an interesting and attractive town -
Aylesford Friary was built in the 1200s by a crusader returning from the Holy Land the friars thrived here until Henry VIII booted them out. The mediaeval buildings became part of a rich man’s private estate but in 1940 the Carmelites bought it all back and today this is a site for pilgrimage and retreat that is loved way beyond the Catholic community. We’ll visit the beautiful chapels full of creative modern artwork – ceramics, statues and stained glass and you can visit the tranquil peace garden or wander down to look at the river. Tea and cakes are sold in the old barn.
We make tracks for home at 4.45pm.
Adults & Seniors: £24pp
Available Mon to Sat all year
Prices valid 1st April 2018 to 31st March 2019
Add a 2 course lunch for £14pp
We Measure Every Step
The number 1 means that this
day includes total walking of
400 metres/ 440 yards