Saturday, 9 February 2013

A Run along the Darent Valley

In a moment of lucidity I had an idea of running the length of the Darent Valley Path in Kent, I happened upon a web site that described it thus:






The Darent Valley is one of Kent's greatest hidden treasures with fine walking opportunities for all the family. The waymarked path is 19 miles (30.4km) long, following the meandering river from the banks of the busy River Thames at Dartford through the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the Greensand Hills above Sevenoaks.


After a quick mention on Facebook a club mate, Karien, stepped up to the plate and it was at 6.55 am we both turned up at Chislehurst train station to buy our tickets to Sevenoaks to get the 7.06 am train.

Boarding it we were privy to a beautiful sunrise over Kent and noticed the mist, whilst light, was close to the ground, it was cool but perfect conditions for running with the ground firm but a little sticky in places by the recent rains.

Arriving at 7.30am we immediately stepped out onto the path [read as roadway] and made our way to the off road section. I have run this section many a time with various friends but the middle 10 mile section would yield new sights and sounds as we hugged the River Darent crossing it here and there or bypassing it around some horrendous development that seem to be appearing along the way.

The pace was really steady, gentle but unstopping as we chatted about what ever came into our heads a very relaxed event with no pressure to succeed apart from getting to the end of the path.

Some of the villages were stunning with some strange sights as we passed, one with two chickens sheltering in the porch, not strange, just unexpected and it was here we popped into a small shop to buy a drink and to then step up the pace.

I will have to check the history of the area but we passed historical sites where Romans used to live and strange parish boundaries crossing the river in unexpected places but soon we were to leave the beauty of the countryside to start entering urban sprawl and industrial centres inter-mixed with gravel pits turned lakes with early morning fishers catching their prey.

Looking at our GPS we found that 14 miles had flown by and were both feeling really comfortable deciding that running across the Cray Marshes wasn't quite as interesting as getting a hot coffee in Dartford so with a new incentive we paced off to end our run in the the very satisfactory end of running just under17 miles, the lure of a hot coffee was now very strong.

My running finishing at just over 18 miles which included my run to and from the station, a great run one I will return to soon.

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