Launching today as part of the cycling charity Cycling UK's EXPERIENCE project, the route is designed to be a perfect introduction to multi-day bikepacking and cycle touring.
[Photographs by Jordan Gibbons]
Starting in the village of Wye, near Ashford, this new long-distance cycling route in Kent takes cyclists through the diverse scenery and history of the ‘Garden of England’.
The 145 mile (234km) route is designed for multi-day expeditions and can be ridden in one go over three to four days. Alternatively, it could be split up over several weekends as it is well connected by train.
Sophie Gordon, Cycling UK’s campaigns officer behind the creation of the Cantii Way said:
“The Cantii Way is both a perfect introduction to the wonders of cycling around Kent and also for those looking to try cycle tourism for the first time. It’s not just great for beginners though, Kent is rich in history, rich in culture and rich in cuisine – it’s a perfect location for cycling, and the Cantii Way gives you the very best of the garden of England.”
Pannier_CantiiWay_Kent_2022 (27).jpg, by Jordan Gibbons
The route is named after the Cantii, an Iron Age Celtic tribe Julius Caesar encountered on his abortive conquest of England in 54 BCE. The famous Roman described the Cantii as “the most civilised” of the British tribes; it is from them that both the county of Kent and the city of Canterbury derive their names.
The route has been designed to include plenty of opportunities to make the most of the local produce available, with the orchards, vineyards, hop-drying oast houses and local farms making the Cantii Way equal parts culinary and cycling tour.
Using a combination of quiet ways, country lanes, byways and bridleways the route is manageable for anyone of reasonable fitness and for most types of bikes with reasonably wide tyres - a gravel bike is recommended.
As part of its role in the European Regional Development Fund’s EXPERIENCE project which is operating in Cornwall, Kent and Norfolk as well as three other regions in France, the charity has worked for the past two years on the Cantii Way. During its development Cycling UK has spoken with the council, Kent Downs AONB, landowners, local businesses and cyclists to link together a route that shows off the best of Kent.
PANNIER_JORDANGIBBONS_CANTIIWAY_KENT_MAY2022-22.jpg, by Jordan Gibbons
“Cycling UK wanted to leave a lasting legacy this Jubilee for our patron the Queen, that wouldn’t just be fun to ride, but would also bring real benefit to the local rural economy,” Gordon added. “The people cycling through Kent’s network of paths and quiet ways will quite literally be fuelling themselves from the local shops, pubs and tea rooms they pass through, and many of these will be off the beaten track.”
In preparation for the expected increase in cycling over the summer, Cycling UK is already working with the hospitality and accommodation sectors in Kent. It is providing businesses with free equipment bundles worth up to £400 and advice as part of its Cycle Friendly Places initiative.
The new routes sit within Cycling UK’s wider goal to see the creation of a network of long-distance off-road routes across the length and breadth of Great Britain. The Cantii Way is the fifth long-distance cycling route Cycling UK has launched since 2018. A sixth route will be launched at the end of summer in Norfolk.
Read more from Cycling UK's website and Komoot where you can access the route. Cycling UK has produced a free downloadable guide written by mountain bike guide Max Darkins, and also made the GPX file freely available on their website.
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