Kearsney – A must see.

One of the hobbies that my husband and I share is photography.  Well this hobby started out with my husband asking for a Canon EOS1100D camera for his Christmas present.  We have had the normal run of the mill cameras before which we have taken on holiday, but we have never thought of taking up photography as a hobby.

Anyway to cut a long story short, when he got his camera he gave me the old Fuji Finepix S5700 to use as a replacement for my old Samsung Digimax camera.  Mind you we have now progressed with our cameras, I now have the Canon EOS1100D and he has the Canon EOS600D.

There I was, pottering around indoors, just after Christmas, when a thought came into my head, how about going out and photographing some of the beautiful places we have in the South East.

Well that was it, my mind was abuzz with ideas, websites were being planned, blog post ideas were racing through my mind and a list of places of where we could go,visit and photograph, was being written down on pieces of paper dotted all over the place.  By the time hubby came home from a hard days work that night, I had every trip planned and every trip planned from that weekend after until Christmas.  There I was doing all this planning and I hadn’t even asked him if he wanted to do this. Hold fire here girl, he could say no.. but did I hold fire no way.. I had this picture adventure planned and it was growing on me more and more and to be perfectly honest I think I would have felt disappointed if I didn’t get to visit some of the places I had jotted down.

Naturally when I told him of my ideas, he jumped at the chance and thought it would be ideal.. so that was the start of our venture into photography.  You can view some of our pictures by visiting our Ryan Photography website.

My passion in photography is flowers and waterfalls, whilst my husband likes architecture, country houses and buildings, so we decided to accommodate both of our passions into one and we joined the National Trust (highly recommended).  Anyway one weekday in April I was searching the internet for waterfalls in Kent.  Nothing, nadda, zilch.. plenty in Wales Scotland and Yorkshire but as for Kent goes, nothing.  Grr I don’t live in these places, surely there must be something in Kent with some sort of waterfall, mustn’t there?  By chance I did manage to stumble across a post on one website about Kearsney Abbey Gardens and thought yes we can visit there providing the weather holds out on the weekend, which it did.

Well that was it, weekend came and instead of going to a National Trust place, we took ourselves to Kearsney Abbey Gardens which is situated near Dover.  From what we had seen and saw written we thought it was just a park. And, oh boy, what a surprise we had when we arrived.

Believe it or not, we didn’t even get lost on our journey there and I was the one doing the navigating.. now there is a surprise. Normally we are on some mystery tour or something.  My Tom Tom skills leave a lot to be desired to be honest, even hubby says, ‘I don’t know why I bother asking you for directions.’  He knows me, if I say turn right it should have been left, but no worries we always get there in the end.  And it adds fun to our trips.

We arrived at Kearsney Abbey Gardens safe and sound and what a shock we had. From what we had seen written we thought it would be just a normal run-of-mill park. And, oh boy, what a surprise we had when we arrived. There we were expecting a small park and had plans to visit a local National Trust site, but no there was this vast expanse of lakes and greens with wooded areas and the River Dour running through it.

As we walked into the park area, there was so much wildlife, swans, ducks, coots, Canadian geese.  And it was an ideal place to walk your dogs and there was plenty of space for children to run around and play ball.

Mind you the hilarity hit our trip, as per usual, as hubby was trying to take a picture of this duck, naturally this duck, thought his camera was food, and as hubby squatted down to take his picture, this duck thought, “Food Time”.  Of course as the duck was walking towards hubby he kept going out of focus, and so hubby moved back, focussed in and the duck advanced on him again.  Well eventually he managed to get a snap shot of this duck… Mind you I was in fits of laughter as I had visions of this duck getting the hump and attacking the old man.  I know you shouldn’t laugh but this duck was quacking louder and louder at the other half.. and the tone of his quack was changing with every step back the old man took.

Well did I find my waterfall, well not exactly it was more of a stream that was flowing over a few rocks, but did that mar my visit.. no way.

As you can see from my first picture in this blog post there is a bridge that takes you from one side of the park to the other. There are plenty of seating areas and the parkland is laid around the two ornamental lakes. Even though the Abbey was demolished years ago, the west wing remains today and is now used as a Cafe, which by the way is not badly priced and they do make a lovely cup of coffee.

As we strolled from one end of the two lakes to the other end we found a nice little area that families could use as a barbecue area.  A nice place to sit and relax, cook a few sausages and burgers and safe enough to allow the kids to play… In fact if my memory serves me correctly you can even camp there.

As you exit the barbecue area, you immediately reach the main road, named Alkham Road and from there you can cross to venture on yet another beautiful walk.  The River Dour flows underneath Alkham Road and all I can say is WOW… what a beautiful place you get to see as you start to follow the River into the wooded areas.

There are two ornamental bridges that are so beautiful and breathtaking.. they look rather oriental to me and the whole surrounding area is so scenic.  Unspoilt and there are twists and turns along the path everywhere and little wooden  bridges that take you over various parts of the river that eventually leads you to another massive lake… oh my it was beautiful.  I could envisage this in summer when the trees are full of leaves and the summer flowers are bursting with bud.

And should you wish, you can continue your walk into the wooded areas which take you further up the river.

We never ventured that far, but one thing I do know and that is this.  When Stewie and Dumpling are a little older and can travel in the car without being ill, (we are getting there, but far enough yet for Stewie to make a 30 mile journey) we will be going back to Kearsney Abbey Gardens and we will be sitting there watching the dogs run free and taking in this spectacular view of parkland and countryside.

Yes and we mustn’t forget to take a couple of bath sheets with us, because I can see my two little devil dawgs jumping straight into that model boating lake and have a fine time.

When I read the Dover Council’s write-up on Kearsney Abbey gardens, well I didn’t think it would be much but I must say, I am so glad I went.  And it is a place that you could go back to many, many times.  Especially during season changes.  We went in the spring and already the trees were blossoming and the spring flowers were bursting though the grass down by the stream.

It is one of these places that would look so picturesque covered in snow.  I would love to visit there when snow has just fallen, but that will never happen, simply because I bet the roads would be impassable.  What a shame and it is too flaming cold to camp there waiting for snow.

My final picture is of the stream, as you head back down to Alkham Road and to the car park, which by the way is free.


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