River Stour, Kent

River Stour
The River Stour is a generic name given to a group of rivers found in Kent. The Stour is second only to the River Medway in terms of the size of the area it drains. Two of the larger settlements in Kent are situated on the river, Ashford and Canterbury .

The mouth of the river was originally at Wantsum Channel, the river now flows out into Pegwell Bay, near to Ramsgate . The bay is home to the Sandwich and Pegwell Bay National Nature reserve which is owned by a wildlife partnership and managed by the Kent Wildlife Trust. The reserve is a wonderful mix of natural, semi-natural and artificial habitats. The natural habitats include the eroding chalk cliffs and wave cut platforms found to the north of Pegwell Bay. There are also intertidal mudflats, developing beaches, sand dunes and saltmarsh. The semi-natural habitats such as the ancient dune pasture and coastal scrubland have been supplemented by the re-created grassland of the Pegwell Bay Country Park. Other artificial habitats include ponds, dykes and ditches.

The town of Ashford sits halfway along the river’s journey from its source near Lenham , within a short distance of the River Len, a tributary of the Medway. At this point the river is known as the Great Stour. The East Stour joins the river at Ashford. The river is tidal up to Fordwich, just three miles downstream from Canterbury.

The river and its environs provide the visitor with plenty of activities that get you close to nature. The countryside can be very picturesque in the Stour Valley, as you might expect from a part Kent, the county known as the ‘Garden of England’. Walking and cycling both offer the ideal way to enjoy the great outdoors and many miles of pathways, trails and tracks can be explored in the area.

Canterbury is a very popular tourist draw. The city is world famous for its cathedral , the scene of the infamous murder of Thomas Becket on December 29, 1170. Becket, sometimes known as Thomas a Becket , was murdered on the orders of King Henry II of England while he was the Archbishop of Canterbury. The grizzly crime took place inside the cathedral and a stain on the floor, supposedly formed by the blood of Becket, is shown to tourists as the point where the martyr fell. The cathedral was originally established on the site in Saxon times, across an old Roman road. The abbey is part of the World Heritage Site of Canterbury, along with the ancient Church of St. Martin .

More British Natural features?

Other Kent Naturals

The Weald
White Cliffs of Dover
Romney Marsh
The North Downs
River Medway
Chislehurst Caves
Thames Estuary
North Kent Marshes
Toys Hill
Wrotham Water
Vale of Holmsdale

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