The Medway Valley Line runs from Strood in North Kent down to Paddock Wood in the Weald of Kent. It connects at each end with the main rail network, each junction offering onward journeys to London and the Kent Coast. Good connections are provided at Strood to and from High Speed services to Ebbsfleet, Stratford and St Pancras.
Maidstone West sits almost centrally along the line and to the north the line is mainly urban and industrial in nature. To the south it is predominantly rural, closely following the course of the River Medway as far as Yalding. The line retains a heritage feel about it, with many of the original station buildings (now listed) remaining in situ, along with traditional signal boxes and manual crossing gates. Apart from Maidstone West, all intermediate stations are unstaffed.
Off peak on weekdays and all day Saturdays, an hourly service operates from Maidstone West to Tonbridge and a half hourly service from Maidstone West to Strood. On Sunday an hourly service throughout applies. Click here for the current timetable.
High Speed services to and from St Pancras also serve Maidstone West and Snodland stations during morning and evening peak hours on Mondays to Fridays.
The Community Rail Partnership
Since the Medway Valley Line was established in 2005 the Partnership has been succesful in raising the profile of the line, both with the public, but also with the rail industry. Many improvements have been made to stations with new seating, better shelters and improved customer information systems.
Timetables and leaflets are now available from shops, post offices and libraries in communities served by the line. Community noticeboards have been installed at all stations.
- Strood – Stroll across Rochester Bridge and visit the historic High Street, Rochester Castle and the Cathedral. Closest station to Rochester Castle & Cathedral as well as Upnor Castle.
- Cuxton – Enjoy walks in Ranscombe Farm Park, a short walk from the village. The White Hart pub at the end of Station Road serves food and drink. The North Downs Way is close by.
- Halling – Pleasant riverside walks are just 5 minutes from the station.
- Snodland – Holborough Marshes Nature Reserve and riverside walks are only 5 minutes from the station. Take the historic town trail.
- New Hythe – Just a short walk from the station is the Leybourne Lakes Country Park, home to a range of leisure activities including walking, cycling, fishing, windsurfing, scuba diving and bird watching. Refreshments are usually available at weekends, Bank Holidays and daily during school holidays.
- Aylesford – The old village is about 10 minutes walk from the station via a 14th century stone bridge and offers several pleasant pubs and restaurants. There are a number of interesting walks around the village and beyond. The Friars Carmelite Monastery can be visited and is on the edge of the village.
- Maidstone West & Barracks – Maidstone Carriage Museum, River Boat rides, Town centre shops, cinemas and theatres. Medway Valley Walk and Millennium River Park
- East Farleigh – Situated close to the river, nearby locks allow the opportunity to watch boating traffic. The Medway Riverside Walk can be accessed here and it is possible to walk to Maidstone or Wateringbury and Yalding. There are two nearby pubs, The Victory, right outside the station and The Bull which is at the top of the hill on the other side of the river.
- Wateringbury – The station is almost on the river bank and gives ready access to the riverside walk. A number of other circular walks are also available. Opposite the station is The Railway pub which offers food.
- Yalding – The station is about 1 mile from the pretty village of Yalding. The village can be reached via a pleasant riverside walk that passes Yalding Lock, Yalding Village Cafe and Yalding Weir. At the weir can be found The Anchor pub and the Island cafe and gift shop that incorporates a handmade teapots workshop, Teapot Island.
For more information on how to reach local attractions go to John Hewes “Visit By Train“ website. He currently has details and maps of the areas around Aylesford, Beltring, Maidstone West & Barracks, Snodland, Strood and Yalding stations on the Medway Valley Line. He also has details for many other stations in Kent.
Ale by Rail
Local member and Community Rail Partnership supporter Jeff Tucker has written up details of the pubs that are easily reached from Medway Valley Line stations between Snodland and Paddock Wood. Unfortunately the most northerly part of the line falls outside their area so pubs in Halling, Cuxton and Strood aren’t covered.
For more information about the Medway Valley Line Community Rail Partnership, please contact Louise Skipton-Carter on 07768 035840.