Catha's Seat

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Mum's Bike Bench Update: Site Survey on Route 18

As I mentioned right at the start in the post "What's it all for?" my Mum was heavily involved in the planning of National Cycle Route 18 between Canterbury and Ashford. As I write this, one of the most crucial and beautiful sections is being developed, which is much shorter than the current route and avoids the steep climb to the Compasses at Crundale. 

We are planning to install a cycle bench at a suitable viewpoint on this section in memory of Mum's work, and we have been receiving funding pledges from people that are looking to be part of the project. To date we have pledges amounting to £800 of the expected £5,000 cost so many thanks to those who have got in touch so far. It's not too late to get involved - just send me an email or reply to this post on the blog with how much you would like to commit. No cash for the moment though please - I will be in touch to collect funds when we place the order. For more detail and a bench example picture, head to the "What's it all for?" post

Also, many thanks to everyone that participated in the total cycle tour distance and average speed competition. Prizes are en route to the winners. Competition participants know the final stats but others will have to wait until the blog catches up!!

Anyway, back to the topic: We had a very exciting day last Friday when we went to visit the new section of the cycle route looking at options for bench location. There was one stand out spot, shown in the panoramic picture below and I have also attempted to map out the section of the route with a marker for the bench location on Google maps ......

Panoramic view of the proposed bench location, which looks, on the right, towards Chilham Castle and Village,  and on the left to the Downs that lead to Godmersham Park (where Jane Austen was known to frequent!). (Photo courtesy of EA Gow)
It's going to be stunning! A surfaced 3 metre wide Bridle-way (don't worry environment lovers - it won't be tarmac) will make its way through rolling hills and woods of the Stour Valley with glorious views of the Downs and Chilham Castle. We had quite a struggle navigating the path on the day as it is currently a mixture of muddy Bridle-ways and Footpaths. Although initially seeming like an odd idea, Alex's choice to bring his new trendy, lightweight single speed, turned out to be ideal for the numerous stiles we had to carry over. Everything certainly looked promising though - the clearing and fencing works appear to be off to a good start and the Council have indicated that completion is due in April / May. 

Sheila, Dad and I pouring over the maps at the Mystole Lane / Pickleden Lane end of the Bridelway known as the "Old Wye Lane". Soon to be resurfaced and become part of Route 18! (Photo courtesy of EA Gow)
This Friday I will be visiting the family seat of Sheila Webb (Mum's collaborator in planning route 18), on which we are planning to base our design, and also meeting the company that designed and managed her project. After this we are looking to meet the resurfacing works project manager at Kent County Council to secure his buy in and find out about land ownership.

The locals admiring Alex's trendy single speed! (Photo courtesy of EA Gow)

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