Catha's Seat

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Catha's Seat Awards 2016 Recipients Announced

The recipients of our first ever Catha's Seat Awards have been announced: Wye Scouts and Wheel Potential. These organisations are doing great work to promote safe and active cycling along Route 18 for all ages and abilities. We look forward to sharing their stories and what they have been up to with their award funds at the Catha's Seat Picnic next year on 29th April.

Read all about it here 

Monday, 9 May 2016

Cycling grant scheme launched at the 3rd Annual Catha’s Seat Picnic

On 30th April 2016 over 80 cyclists, walkers and runners met for the third annual Catha’s Seat Picnic on National Cycle Route 18 near Chilham. Whilst eating their lunches at this peaceful, rural spot the gathered were treated to music from fantastic local 9-piece band Ashford Folk Community and witnessed the launch of the Catha’s Seat Cycling Awards; a grant scheme with fund of £500 open to local groups, schools and individuals to support projects that encourage safety and increased use of Route 18 between Ashford and Canterbury.

Cyclists set off from Wye to the 3rd Annual Catha's Seat Picnic
Ashford Folk Community entertain the picnickers
Patrick Keegan, Awards Officer for the Catha’s Seat Group, launched the awards scheme, encouraging local community groups, schools and individuals to register their interest and submit ideas via the website by 31st May 2016. During his address, he recognised the huge contribution - over many years - of the numerous local campaigners and organisations (including Spokes and Sustrans) that have pushed to make, so far, nearly half of this 17-mile section of route 18 ‘traffic free’, at the same time extending gratitude to the landowners and local authorities. He restated national cycling charity Sustrans’ original goal that these routes should offer the safety levels needed to allow school children and their parents, also commuters, to feel comfortable using it daily for sustainable and healthy transport.

Patrick Keegan launches the Catha's Seat Cycling Awards
With the back roads in the area becoming busier and more dangerous Patrick set out the vision that everyone should continue pushing to make route 18 between Ashford and Canterbury 100% ‘traffic free’. He was keen to receive ideas towards these safety goals but also highlighted other examples for the awards to encourage use, such as parent / child cycle events or organisations that provide specialist equipment and training for the disabled to use the route.

Earlier in the day, Patrick and fellow Catha’s Seat Group member Jane Blatt started the Group’s own safety campaign on the roads out of Wye by alerting motorists to the fact they were on a national cycle route, and thanking them for driving carefully. Of the 20 cars that stopped to chat, very few were aware they were on a cycle route, and agreed that a ‘traffic free’ alternative should be sought, but in the meantime better signage and awareness raising was imperative.

Awards winners will be announced in September this year and mark your calendars for next year’s picnic on 29th April 2017 where their achievements will be showcased. will have all the details and you can register on the website to receive updates directly to your email inbox.

If you can’t wait that long then why not plan a picnic of your own – just type “Catha’s Seat” into Google Maps to find a route.

Patrick Keegan and Jane Blatt alert motorists in Wye that they are driving on National Cycle Route 18

About Catha’s Seat:

Catha’s Seat is named after Catharine 'Catha' Keegan, a dedicated cycling campaigner who lived in Wye and who was involved in planning the Ashford to Canterbury section of National Cycle Route 18 before sadly passing away in 1998. Her mission was to create safer cycling routes and encourage their use, so Catha's Seat and the annual picnic provide opportunities for everyone to discover or re-discover this route as well as the joys of cycling and walking in the glorious Kentish countryside.

Catha’s Seat was developed by her son Nick and husband Patrick, and has been supported by Kent County Council, Ashford Borough Council, Godmersham Parish Council, Chilham Parish Council, Councillor Andrew Wickham and over 70 private donors. Catha’s Seat was built by ARC Creative Design.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Catha's Seat Launch Picnic Film by Funder Films

I am delighted to be able to share a wonderful film from the Catha's Seat Launch Picnic back in May that will hopefully warm the laurels as the longer nights draw in. For those that were there on the day you will have noticed Jasper Bouverie of Funder Films manning some serious camera equipment. 

He has managed to curate some lovely moments that capture the spirit of the day and Catha's Seat. Many thanks to Jasper for this. Note - music on the film by Arlet, who performed live at the launch.

I hope you have been enjoying Catha's Seat over the summer and make sure you secure Saturday 2nd May 2015 in your diary for the 2nd annual Catha's Seat picnic.

...also, in other news - I've been asked to do a talk next week on my cycle tour to Istanbul in Canterbury next Thursday 23rd October - see the flier below. The "Around the World with..." events are being run by Hattie Oliver (, who's raising funds to go on a month long expedition to Ecuador and the Galapagos with her school. She's been very entrepreneurial setting up events, bake sales and jobs as she's got to raise £4,420 - quite a feat for anyone let alone someone with full time school / exams to deal with - and a cause I was keen to get behind in the name of adventure!

It would be great to see you there if you can make it. Thursday 23rd October at 7pm. Eastbridge Hospital, 25 High Street, Canterbury.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Catha's Seat Launch Picnic hits the headlines

The Catha's Seat Launch Picnic hit the headlines last Thursday in the Kentish Express. If you are in the Kent area, pick up a souvenir copy and you'll find the article on page 14. 

For those further afield see the article below. Wyeweb have also covered the event and there's some great footage on Youtube from 1066 cyclist Dale Wheeler, which really captures the spirt of the day. 

<<BREAKING NEWS>> Suz from the Kentish Express just routed me to the article now on Kent Online as well, with more pictures!

Thanks again to everyone who has supported the project and the event. We look forward to seeing you next year same place, same time, where we will be announcing the first winners of the Catha's Seat award. 

Kentish Express - 8th May 2014 p.14. Many thanks to Suz Elvey for a fantastic article.

  Footage on YouTube, thanks to Dale Wheeler

Monday, 5 May 2014

Catha's Seat Launch Picnic - First View Photos

What a day! Catha's Seat was launched in style. Thank you to everyone who participated, helped and donated. See below for some of the photos I've collected so far. If you have any of your own please do get in touch and / or use social media - post on Instagram #cathasseat , post on twitter @cathasseat #cathasseat , or post on facebook #cathasseat .......

Walk from Wye leaves the Farmers Market at 10.30am, led by Daniel Wood

Cycle from Wye leaves Wye at 11.45am, led by Louise Laker. Thanks also to Paul Rees who led the SPOKES cycle from Canterbury and Pat White who led the very popular walk from Chilham Station

Locally sourced foods and drinks awaited. Produce from Ripple Farm Organics, Wye Butchers and Delicatessen, The Wooden Spoon, Wye Bakery and Perry Court Farm was put together by Alex Gow and his team of helpers, along with Catha's own Lemon Drizzle cake made by Patrick Keegan (Dad) and further cakes from Caroline Spencer. 

Merry go round! Punters took it in turns to have a nice sit down!

Site Manager Caroline Spencer and her team of ushers (Kit, Dani, Eliza, Yean, Phin and Hilary) prepared a fantastic festive site complete with bunting and the all important ribbon!

Paul, the photographer from the Kentish Messenger Group sets up a couple of shots to hit the press. Hopefully seeing this in the paper will inspire people out on their bikes or hikes for a visit.

Musical chairs. Local band Arlet serenade the masses, and are let out to roam free range in the woods!

Speeches aplenty. Councillor Andrew Wickham talks about the success of Route 18 and how his ride up to Catha's Seat has inspired him to do more cycling. Sheila Webb gives a moving version of the words she used at Catha's funeral service. And I say a lot of thank yous!

....and the ribbon is cut, Catha's Seat is officially open. The hard work doesn't stop here though - we need you to help us spread the word about this fantastic place and cycle route. Tell your friends, take them there for a sit down or picnic, share your photos and experiences on social media. We will be continuing too by raising money for our first annual Catha's Seat award, which will be announced at the 2015 event to be held as this year on Mayday bank holiday Saturday.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Catha's Seat Launch Picnic - one day to go and things are hotting up

Catha's Seat now complete with arms and plaque

.and more greenery in the view!

Scott models a "I cycled to Catha's Seat" sticker - pick one up at the Launch Picnic for your bike!

Write up in today's Kentish Express (p.14) - many thanks to Suz Elvey 
....and also on Jasper Bouverie's blog 

Don't forget to check the google map (see right hand side >>>>) and start times and locations for the organised walks & rides on the ePoster

See you tomorrow!