Why do so few people use Ashford’s fantastic footpaths and cycle-ways?

On my way to work this morning and hands up I don’t do this anywhere often enough, I was left wondering why there was a huge queue of traffic going into Ashford yet the beautiful country path had barely a soul on it.

Now I know that it was 8.30 am and most people would already be at work but even so, I saw 3 cyclists and 5 pedestrians over a 20 minute walk through Kennington towards Henwood. When you consider the population of the town and the horrendous queues into town every day, you have to ask what’s wrong with us?

My journey took me past a green space that was being mowed, it smelt divine, which I agree makes a very nice change from the nearby waste water works which may be the reason why this route is under used, I turned the corner and saw wild flowers on the river bank, and brambles loaded with so many blackberries (not ripe yet folks), then to my surprise I noticed that a horse chestnut tree was loaded with conkers in the making.

Conkers forming in July

I was now 10 minutes into my walk and still no one else on the path other than a rabbit who didn’t hang around to say hello, then along came a jogger, then a couple of cyclists, neither of who wanted to make eye contact let alone exchange the usual morning greeting.

But then I spotted something that made the whole journey a million times better than driving, a pair of swans making their way along the very overgrown and weedy stour.

I stopped for a moment and took in the vista and despite the roar and clatter of traffic above on the motorway and our close proximity to the town, this pair of swans and I were in another place.

So next time you don’t need to drive, give one of the many footpaths around our town a go, you might be very pleasantly surprised and don’t forget to give a nod or even pass a pleasantry to other path users, it just makes the day that bit nicer!

Find out more about Ashford’s cycleways and footpaths

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