West Malling is Muggleton in The Pickwick Papers. Well, it’s half the inspiration for the fictional town where the Pickwickians watch a thrilling game of cricket.
Dickens also had Maidstone in mind.
Given that he chose to create a fictional name for the place, we can assume Muggleton is a blend of real places, but it is at West Malling (then called Town Malling) that the model for the cricket ground in Pickwick Papers – and for the cricketers’ inn, the Blue Lion – are to be found.
This is a gentle town stroll, in contrast to our vigorous country walks, and the Swan, inspiration for The Blue Lion – plus numerous other pubs and restaurants – offer great opportunities for lunch. Perhaps come when a cricket match is being played.
You can find full details of the route, and the Dickens connections, in my new guidebook Walking Charles Dickens Kent, available from Amazon here and from all bookshops.