An inspirational journey. All of the route is available for walkers, some limited sections are suitable for horse riders and cyclists. The trail is easily accessible from neighbouring countries in Europe.
Length: 246 km Start: Farnham, Surrey Finish: Dover or Canterbury
Terrain: Wide variety of terrain so condition varies along length and in different seasons. Close to villages and towns.
Attractions: Good for day walks and longer distances. Close to London and Continental Europe. The trail is well served by rail and bus services. Various circular walks exist.
This 157 mile (251 km) route traverses some of the finest landscape in South East England and is one of the most accessible and easy to follow long distance routes in the country.
Travellers have long used the scarp of the North Downs as a guide for a safe route across south east England. In prehistoric times the chalk scarp linked with France to form a natural bridge allowing our ancestors to migrate here from other parts of Europe. Pilgrims used the scarp as a marker on their pilgrimage from Canterbury to Winchester for the festival of St. Swithin and then, after the murder of Thomas Beckett at Canterbury, the pilgrimage changed direction from Winchester to Canterbury!
The North Downs Way loosely follows the Pilgrims Way, a 19th century interpretation of where the pilgrims trod, a Victorian National Trail! The North Downs Way passes through two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Surrey Hills and Kent Downs ? landscapes which have inspired - amongst many others - Vaughn Williams, Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll and George and Mary Watts.
With excellent rail links to London it is easy to reach the trail. The North Downs Way can either be walked as a whole or in sort sections over a period of time. Whichever way you chose, walk in the footsteps of history, discover the three cathedrals, three palaces, eight castles and a landscape which has inspired many.
- From The Countryside Agency