GUIDE TO THE RIVER MEDWAY
(Tonbridge to Allington)
NAME OF RIVER: Medway.
WHERE IS IT?: From about a mile above Tonbridge to Allington below Maidstone. Below that again is canoeable tidal water but very muddy and eventually becoming a broad estuary only to be undertaken if properly equipped for sea canoeing. Map.PUT-INS/ TAKEOUTS:
Put in: Various possibilities going downstream (1) Barden Park, Tonbridge TQ 577466 through to end of estate (free); (2) Minor road south of Golden Green TQ629472 (roadside) (3) Yalding Lock on B2162 TQ687503 (roadside). Yalding Weir where there is often playboating available is mile south and car parking is charged for (4) Teston Lock TQ709531 (country park honesty box) (5) Maidstone, east bank just above bridge (difficult to stop here except Sunday mornings, no parking close by anyway) (6) Allington Lock, The Malta pub TQ750581 generally doesnt mind the use of their car park at quiet times, especially if you go in for a drink after.
APPROX LENGTH: 20 miles, or as much as you feel like doing. Return to starting point by train to pick up car stations at Maidstone West, East Farleigh, Yalding, Beltring and Tonbridge all close to river.
TIME NEEDED: Depends on how far you go.
ACCESS HASSLES: Public navigation; Environment Agency or BCU licence.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: Regulated by weirs.
GRADING: I placid.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: All locks and weirs should be portaged.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Impressive castle ruin overlooking river at Tonbridge, Open meadows from Tonbridge down to Yalding, then scenic narrow valley through Greensand Ridge.
OTHER NOTES: Above Barden Park the river is canoeable but private. The Tonbridge Canoe Club try to organise an annual run in May down from Ashurst, 10 miles further upstream so go with them.
CONTRIBUTED BY: David Wilson.