new long-distance cycling route through Kent has been unveiled to mark Kent Day, an annual celebration of the ancient county.
The Cantii Way, launched by charity Cycling UK on Thursday, is 145 miles long (234km) and begins and ends in the village of Wye, close to Ashford in Kent.
The route is designed to take cyclists through the diverse scenery and history of the so-called Garden of England.
It can be ridden in one go over three or four days and passes through Canterbury, Whitstable, Folkestone and Dover. With regular train stations along its length, it could also be split up over several weekends.
Sophie Gordon, Cycling UK’s campaigns officer behind the creation of the Cantii Way, said: “The Cantii Way is a perfect introduction to the wonders of cycling around Kent, and is ideal 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.”
The name of the route derives from the Cantii – an Iron Age Celtic tribe that 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 city of Canterbury derive their names.
A group of cyclists rides past a lake near Lydd, Kent, on Cycling UK’s Cantii Way route.
In addition to it being Kent Day, May 26 was chosen as the launch date as it was on May 26, 1940, that the fleet of little ships set sail from Ramsgate to rescue the Allied soldiers trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk.
The launching of the route has also been chosen to honour the Queen’s Jubilee, as the monarch is a patron of Cycling UK.
Using a combination of quiet ways, country lanes, byways and bridleways, the route is designed to be manageable by anyone of reasonable fitness on most types of bike.
It is the fifth long-distance cycling route Cycling UK has launched since its riders’ route for the North Downs Way was unveiled in 2018. A sixth route will be launched at the end of summer in Norfolk.