This is a walk with Charles Dickens’ father, and Mr Pickwick.
It is a route for really enjoying the country Dickens loved, and comes with two options: a long route to Rochester, and a much shorter circuit through Cobham Park. It is one of 17 routes in my new guidebook Walking Charles Dickens’ Kent, available here
The full route follows the Long Walk, which Dickens often took as a child, with his father. It is the same path which Samuel Pickwick and friends take on their approach to Cobham Park in The Pickwick Papers.
On both routes you pass The Darnley Mausoleum (A on the map).Dickens was a great friend of the 8th Earl Darnley, who owned Cobham Hall, and whose ancestor, the 3rd Earl, had this monumental pyramid mausoleum built in 1786 to house his ancestors. It never did, possibly because the Bishop of Rochester refused to consecrate it.
Dickens had a key to the parkland we walk through today, so he could come here whenever he liked. Today the Great Wood, which we pass through, is in the care of the National Trust, who have introduced cattle to keep the vegetation in check.
In Rochester we pass an ancient building with an intriguing but little-known Dickens connection, which you can read about in Walking Charles Dickens’ Kent, available here
This link takes you to a GPX file of the route, which you can follow on your phone