Walk 6: Great Expectations country


This is a wonderful walk for experiencing the marshlands between Dickens’ home at Higham and the Thames, the great river that flowed through his life and his fiction.

The walk takes in Dickens’ honeymoon cottage (C on the map, which is by Emily Duong); the model for Joe Gargery’s forge (D) in Great Expectations, and the broad and solitary stretch of Thames downriver of Gravesend that he often walked.

You can download a GPX file of the route, and follow it on your phone, with this link: https://www.plotaroute.com/route/1648930

The section along the Thames is still easily recognisable from Dickens’ description of how, on this quiet stretch of river, barges ‘shaped like a child’s first rude imitation of a boat, lay low in mud; and a little squat shoal lighthouse on open piles stood crippled in the mud on stilts and crutches; and slimy stakes stuck out of the mud, and slimy stones stuck out of the mud, and red land-marks and tide-marks stuck out of the mud, and an old landing-stage and an old roofless building slipped into the mud, and all about us was stagnation and mud.’

This walk is one of 17 routes in my new guidebook Walking Charles Dickens’ Kent, available from Amazon  at a 21 per cent discount, and from any bookshop