Pilgrims Way self guided walking tour, England

Departure information

This trip can be tailormade at a time to suit you and adapted to your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Pilgrims Way self guided walking tour, England

Environment

For the 3 years running we have been awarded Silver accreditation under the Green Tourism Buisness Scheme (GTBS) as a tour operator promoting sustainable tourism in the South east of England. We are a family run operator based in the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). We are committed to operating a Responsible Travel Policy (RTP) that is supportive and in sympathy with the local communities and environment. This is in line with the stated aims on all our vacations which invites its customers to ‘discover hidden Kent, its history and its people’.

In addition we are committed to an on-going reduction of its energy usage inline with the Annual Environmental Energy Plan (AEEP) for the business. We are committed to using recycled products wherever this can be accommodated within the needs of the business and will continue to adhere to its off-road 4x4 policy and continue to publicise the reasons to all customers.

Community

We actively encourage all customers to use public transport to access the Kent Downs (AONB). We advise customers where they can purchase locally produced food and produce along the route of their walk and encourage them to use local services.

We also actively encourage customers to visit local social projects such as the Elham Valley Vineyards, run by the Vale of Elham Trust that provides work opportunities for people with learning disabilities. We also have encouraged people to walk the North Downs Way for the benefit of nationally recognised charities. Since 2002 we have organised charity walks on behalf of the Children’s Society, John Grooms and Christian Aid. These charities have reported that they have raised £42,000 through walks led by us.

Landscape

We combine walking with stories of the landscape. Told both through the local food and architecture as well as through the history. Last year, during the close of season, time was spent researching and writing a book about the Pilgrims’ Way with the intention of producing a comprehensive overview of this important trackway that serves the route for our most popular walking vacation. The project was undertaken using material held at the Centre for Kentish Studies, the Cathedral Archives and University of Kent at Canterbury. The book was published by the History Press in July 2011 and carry’s the brand of the Kent Downs AONB and a forward by the Officer with responsibility for the North Downs Way National Trail. The intention is that both local people and visitors to Kent will benefit from bringing most of the historical information relating to this ancient trackway together into one accessible volume.

Undoubtedly such opportunities as those above exist essentially because of our co-operative links within the local community. As such research funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Kent Wildlife Trust to examine the history of Blean Woods is being undertaken at present and will continue this year during the close of season and hopefully the findings will again enhance the experience of those who come to discover hidden Kent, its people and their history in the years to come.

Reviews of Pilgrims Way self guided walking tour, England

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 09 Oct 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


There were various exciting experiences: Kit's Coty and the view over the Medway, walking hollow ways, the former bishop's palace at Charing, sheep grazing under a laden apple tree, but probably reaching and visiting Canterbury Cathedral.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


If you're a radio addict, check that there is one in each of the staying-over places or you'll need to take with you.
Be prepared to accept that the different places at which you stay are very different and that each will have things you'll like and things you dont.
It's an area where there are a lot of dog-walkers with their dogs off leads, so it helps if you like dogs and dont mind them being friendly to you.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I hope it benefited local people since I stayed in various places and ate local produce. Walking the path may help it remain clear and also remind a couple of farmers that there are rights of way on their land.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Very very good. Derek was very knowledgeable and helpful. Lunches were delicious.

Reviewed on 23 Jun 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Walking through Godmersham Park in the footsteps of Jane Austin was the single most memorable aspect for one of our number. Another enjoyed the scenic vistas available every day due to the route of the North Downs Way.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be prepared for long days of walking in all kinds of weather.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Absolutely.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


I wanted to add how enjoyable it was to meet Derek Bright and tapping in to his vast knowledge of the local history, culture, and geography. He was very accommodating about our particular food needs and very attentive to our needs in general. We had a great time.

Reviewed on 20 May 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Our vacation on the North Downs Trail in late spring was breathtaking. The bluebells, primroses and fields of rape, punctuated with the occasional pheasant and fox, while doing a self-guided hike, made us feel like Adam and Eve alone in Paradise.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be prepared to walk pretty seriously all day and have a good sense of direction. We found that following the maps and guide book (with thorough preparation from Derek) was challenging, but very satisfying and added tremendously to the experience.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


We were in some rather small, out-of-the-way places that may not have many "tourists." Our lunches were exclusively local foods, and very tasty. Of course, only walking on trails resulted in very minimal impact.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


There were some 5 star moments. "Reborn" is a bit hyperbolic, but there were some real highs -- surreal moments walkiing through a field of rape in bloom and seeing nothing but yellow, and the woods full of bluebells. We have travelled quite a bit over the decades, and this experience was quite special.

Reviewed on 07 Jun 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The opportunity to be immersed in rural beauty for four days on the trail, and with so much diversity; forests, hedgerows, open fields, planted fields, wildflowers, vistas, farm animals, and the constant singing of birds. We were blessed with consistently clear, sunny almost 80-degree weather. And the small towns where we stayed overnight were charming and still very rural, but with nice accommodations and pubs. We have never been on a walking vacation of this duration, and it's by far the best form of locomotion. We feel we have absorbed those miles and views of England into ourselves for ever!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


We flew from the US, and added a pre-day in Rochester and a post-day in Canterbury. We enjoyed those days very much, and they helped to set apart the special rural quality of our trail days. Derek is very knowledgeable about the history of the area - listen to his stories and tales, they added a lot to our enjoyment of what we were viewing. He also provides an audio tour of the trail, which we listened to each night in advance of the next days journey. We walked around each town where we stayed and talked with a few of the locals. We visited the local historic churches, wandered through the graveyards, and picked up local literature. It's a great way to get a sense of a place when there for a short time.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, we stayed in small pubs/B&B's, ate dinners in their restaurants, and Derek created our daily lunches with food bought at local bakeries, cheese makers, and markets. The lunches he provided were delicious and very satisfying, yet light to carry in our packs. We saw no trash and of course left no trash, as we walked on well-worn paths, some centuries old.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


This was a wonderful week for us. Derek did a great job of breaking the 48 miles into manageable parts, instructing us as needed, providing background information, good maps, literature and audio, and booking us into fine and friendly accommodations. We are eager to take another walking vacation, as it is a most refreshing way to step away from our contemporary over-connected lives and savor step-by-step enjoyment of a beautiful part of the world. Thank you!

Reviewed on 03 Jul 2007 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Walking along the ancient track way from morning til evening and not seeing a soul, just enjoying the wildlife, plant life (loads of wild orchids) and gorgeous scenery.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Listen to Derek! He tells you everything you need to know.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, definitely.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Totally fantastic in the sun and the rain, I’m truly sorry I had to stop walking and come home.

Reviewed on 08 Aug 2006 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Canterbury itself closely followed by walking through cornfield and masses of butterflies.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Packed lunch supplied may not be to everyone's taste, but there are pubs other places en route to buy replacements.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Benefit to local people in that purchased drinks & food, minimal impact on environment since using pathways long established, may even be a positive impact by keeping open routes through undergrowth in places.

4. Any other comments?


3 stars, but have already told some stories & recommended it to parent.

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