Canterbury-Chartham Riverside Route

Map of proposed route
The proposed route (yellow-red dashed) and the existing route (red).
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From Toddler's Cove Canterbury along the Stour to Chartham. A bridge (near Staples) will also link it to the Riverside Retail Park (from which it will link with the proposed Horses and Goats Tunnel leading into central Canterbury).

This riverside route will form an alternative to the existing NCR 18 route (which, unlike the new route, is not prone to flooding).

The route is about 5 km long.

CCC webpage

This proposed route, its present state and its planned development is fully described in this update (source) by Canterbury City Council.


Commuting (incl school children), leisure, tourism



Photo of survey in progress
Survey work in progress, 1993
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Photo of new bridge
New bridge over the Stour, 2010
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Funding, sponsors and supporters

Policy statements:

What the Canterbury Riverside Parks and Footpaths document (1987) said

Chapter 1: Policy background

... There is a particular need to provide a safe cross town route for cyclists and to protect them from the busy traffic on the A28.

Chapter 3, Section 1: Milton Bridge to Bingley's Island

... In the long term all three lakes [ie, the gravel pits workings near Tonford Manor] should form the destination for a riverside walk from the Toddler's Cove area of Westgate Gardens [to Milton Bridge on the A28].

Pages 8 and 19 of the Canterbury Riverside Parks and Footpaths: draft policy statement (1987)

This same document presented (p26/27) a Summary Map showing the route of this proposed riverside path:

Composite map

What the CCC Walking and Cycling Strategy document (2003) said

Chartham to Canterbury (NCR 18 options) - Plan Reference No 24

As well as an inter-urban route this route would also have strategic importance as part of the National Cycle Network linking Ashford with Canterbury NCR 18. Ashford Borough Council have already completed the signing of the route from Chartham westwards into Ashford.

The factors affecting the various sections of the route eastwards are as follows:

Chartham to Horton:
the first section of this route would be on-carriageway on Bolts Hill, Parish Road and for a short distance along Rattington Street.
Public Footpath CB 463A
would then be used as far as Horton. Improvements would be required at the start of the footpath at Rattington Street. The footpath has already been surfaced by the Parish Council some years ago but would ideally be widened as, on average, it is only 1.5 metres wide and is overgrown with trees/vegetation.
Horton to Milton Manor:
There are two options for this section--- both would require the agreement of the landowner who has consistently refused to permit cycling on this land although negotiations are still continuing. If a route were not possible the only unsatisfactory alternative for this section of NCR 18 would be using the busy A28.

Option A

Continuing along the riverside using Public Footpath CB 463A. There is no riverside route under the A28, so the route would need to turn left along the existing private road leading to an existing access road under the A28.

Option B

At Horton, the route could turn left onto private pathways which would require some surface upgrading. Before the pathway reaches the railway line, the route would turn right running parallel with the railway before passing under the A28 bridge near Milton Manor roundabout.

Milton Manor to Tonford Lane

This section is also only possible using privately owned land. The only alternative routes into Canterbury would be using the A28 or Cockering Road neither of which are considered suitable as National Cycle Routes. Existing paths running parallel with the railway line would need surface improvements. The paths continue as far as the path extending from Tonford Lane. Links are possible at this point with the proposed routes to Harbledown and Whitehall Road.

Tonford Lane to Thanington

A path on the north side of the river could be constructed joining the Thanington to Stour Street route via a footbridge which would cross the River Stour and then link up with an existing path at the rear of Staples. The Canterbury multi-storey car park/British Home Stores bridge link which was removed as part of the Whitefriars redevelopment has been stored for this river crossing.

From Thanington, the route into Canterbury is described in the Cotton Road to Tannery route in section 8.6 (Plan Reference E).

From section 8.5.1 of the Canterbury Walking and Cycling Strategy (2003)


Present state of the route

As of Jan 2011, construction is virtually complete, apart from the replacement of the cattle grids.

Work on the associated footpaths (photo) across the Hambrook Marshes is also nearing completion.

Next move

The formal opening of the route will be conducted by Malcolm Shepherd (Sustrans CEO) and is planned for Saturday 21 May 2011.

Latest news

The Spokes blog carries the latest news for this route.