Deputy Mayor of Maidstone Cllr Derek Mortimer is launching the new river trail on Saturday 26 March at 11.30am by the Old Boat Café, between the two main bridges in Maidstone. It has been designed especially with families in mind and has 20 posts marking the trail, each with a zinc rubbing plate on the top and a small information plaque featuring special wildlife or habitats along the river, it also includes a QR code to provide more details.
Special packs have also been produced for the first 1,000 users to enjoy the trail which will be available at the Old Boat Café from 11.30am on the 26 March. Each pack contains a sketch book, stickers and wax crayons as well as a trail map to direct you to the posts. Packs can also be obtained from the kiosk at the Kentish Lady, The Little Old Toll House Café and Teston Park Café.
Derek Mortimer said:
“The River Medway is a very special environment which attracts considerable wildlife, so each post has been placed in an area where you are likely to see or find signs of specific creatures or habitats. Of course, creatures are wild, so sometimes they may be around and sometimes not, although these are good places to sit quietly, take in the beautiful scenery and watch the river running along.”
Hannah Connolly, who is currently a student at Brighton University, studying Art, has created the zinc rubbing plaques. The plaques are unique, beautiful and are close to Hannah’s heart as she cares greatly about the river and is delighted with the project.
Keira Stuart-Smith, from the Old Boat Café, said:
"Maidstone is blessed to have this beautiful river running through it and that should be celebrated.
During the pandemic we've all appreciated spending more time in natural environments and more and more people have discovered the joy of walking and relaxing by the water.
We've worked with the wonderful team at Medway Valley Countryside Project, especially Derek Whitehead, to identify the species and locations for the posts, and with a young local artist to design some beautiful rubbings. Two local young mums have done the graphics and design work. All involved are Maidstone folk who care and know the river, making this a real people project.
The wonderful Elmer trail gave the opportunity for families to explore together and I hope this trail will encourage people to enjoy the outdoors and get to know their animal and plant neighbours better!”
Money from The Government and the European Regional Development Fund, as part of the ‘Welcome Back Fund’ have made it possible for The Council to carry out this work to make Maidstone more welcoming.