The hidden delights of Dartford

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of walking. This is mainly because, in my wisdom, I’ve decided to do a sponsored 20 mile walk in September. 20 miles didn’t seem like so much till I realised that’s roughly the distance from Charing Cross back to where I live in Kent. Which is a 50 minute train journey. And suddenly it didn’t seem so easy any more. But hey, I’m nothing if not optimistic.

Anyway, it occurred to me I probably couldn’t just rock up on the day and walk 20 miles, and that I should maybe do a bit of training. So last weekend I took a walk to Dartford, which for anyone not familiar with the area is about three miles away. And it’s not exactly the most picturesque spot, so I had no intention of lingering. In fact the plan was just to walk there and then get the bus home again. Never let anyone say I don’t know how to make the most of my weekends.

But when I got there, not only was I surprisingly un-exhausted, I also made a discovery. Just a couple of minutes from the high street, there’s a really nice park, complete with brand new cafe, children’s playground and athletics track (which soon became less appealing when the starting gun went off just as I walked past, and nearly gave me a heart attack).

And beyond the park, I found Brooklands Lake, which, despite having lived in the area for over four years, I never knew was there. And given how quiet it was, I’m guessing not many other people do, either. It seems to be a popular haunt for fishermen though, so at least someone’s been paying attention. Or maybe everyone else knew about it but they’ve all been frightened away by the scary swan that chased me for a while. Who knows.


Anyway, after enjoying a wander round the lake, I decided to head home. And in the end, having come this far, I decided I might as well keep going – so I walked home again. Altogether I did about seven miles, and on the way I made another discovery: a short cut to the pub and chip shop. This may go slightly against my healthy living plans.

So I guess my point is, it’s never too late to make new discoveries. And don’t judge a town by its high street. And stay away from scary swans.


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