By: Peter Clements
Ever since the Crab and Winkle way was opened to the public I’d had the idea of producing a woodcarving of some kind to put up at the entrance to the off-road section of the NCN 1 in Whitstable.
I had no idea whether such a thing would be allowed by the ‘powers that be’ and presumably I’d need to draft an initial proposal. The trouble was, I had so many ideas about what to include and the longer this went on, the more unlikely it seemed that I would actually get something completed on the scale I had in mind.
There were four connected themes that I felt were important to represent:
- the original use of the Whitstable to Canterbury route as the world’s first passenger carrying railway
- the change of transport mode to that of walkers and cyclists
- the ‘Crab and Winkle’ nickname fondly used by locals of previous generations
- a slightly tongue in cheek ‘seaside postcard’ element
While the original idea was to include all of these in a large scale single oak carving, I soon realised this would have been a too large an undertaking and I wondered if it would ever become a reality or remain just an idea. To actually get started, I thought the best thing to do would be to try a small section from part of a chestnut log obtained from nearby woods. The idea for the method of relief carving into the face of a round log came from a Canterbury woodcarver who had hollowed out a niche into tree stump in a park, with a figure crouched within it. This was very large scale, having been roughed out with a chainsaw then finished with carving tools so mine, to be produced in my shed, was to be far smaller in comparison.
After consultation with the Crab and Winkle Trust, it was agreed that the carving could be fixed to the stile provided it was not wider than the 15cm rail to which it would be attached. First I had to split the chestnut log into sections using metal wedges revealing the sweet smelling wet timber inside which was then flattened with an adze and a handplane. Next, an elliptical shape was into the bark with a smaller elliptical raised panel onto which the design was transferred using carbon paper. The design was in turn carved with gouges and chisels.
The completed carving was approved and then attached to the stile at South Street. It proved to be quite popular with the public so a second almost identical one followed shortly afterwards. The ‘cheeky seaside postcard’ idea came to be a reality about a year later using the same methods as above. I really liked the idea of a cyclist being pursued by an angry crab pinching the cyclist’s bottom! It seemed appropriate that the crab would appear to be chasing the cyclist away from the Whitstable seaside. From the other direction then, what about a cyclist being chased by Stevenson’s ‘Invicta’ locomotive? These themes are now represented in the second pair of carvings which are now in position at the other stile further inland at Blean.
I’m glad to have been able to contribute to this well- used and popular section of the NCN 1 on which I am a volunteer ranger. The carving project was really enjoyable and worthwhile and the first two carvings have weathered nicely and now blend in well and look as if they’ve always been there. I think the project has succeeded in combining old and new uses of the route with a humorous element that will be associated with the traditional coastal town.
We had a very successful day clearing out the south portal of the Tyler Hill tunnel on May 17th. There was a great turnout and it was lovely to see some new faces. The portal, a listed building, is on private property and has been beautifully restored by the land owner. The tunnel is now home to bats so we also needed permission and supervision of a licensed bat expert. Many thanks to everyone who helped out.
Saturday 3rd of May was the Crab and Winkle Line’s 184th anniversary. To celebrate we organised a clear-up of the embankment between Clare Road and Station Road in Whitstable. There was a good turn out and we managed to remove all of the litter and all of the larger fly-tipped items by our scheduled finished time. Serco took a pile of rubbish around midday. We made a second pile which has now also been removed, the cans and bottles are to be re-cycled. A number residents from the immediate vicinity helped out alongside Crab and Winkle Line Trust members and trustees. A big thanks to all that were involved, the area has been greatly improved.
Today we met with Phil Harrison from BBC Radio Kent at the Penny Farthing on the Invicta Way, part of the Crab and Winkle Way. Phil rode with us to Canterbury to meet members of Spokes East Kent Cycle Campaign. The reason for Phil’s visit was to find out why less people are commuting in Kent by bicycle according to a census from 2001 to 2011. Since 2011 we have had some infrastructure improvements and with the impact of the Olympic games hopefully that trend has reversed. As we cycled up the old track bed to the winding pond Phil asked, ‘Why don’t more people do this?’. It was a lovely sunny morning and as usual an absolute joy to commute along the Crab and Winkle. We met at about 6:45 but we still saw other cyclists and passed dog walkers who said hello as they always do. When we reached the University Phil went on to meet Adrian Oliver from Spokes and CyclingAge to talk about their Dr Bike Lab and issues cyclists face. Many thanks to Adrian, Phil, Radio Kent, CyclingAge and Spokes for making this happen.
You can listen to the radio show for the next 7 days on the BBC iPlayer the main cycling features are at 1:53:00, 2:36:50 and 2:50:32.
Our new leaflets can be found at Canterbury and Whitstable railway stations – with an excellent map of the path and lots of other info too.
A digital copy is also available, click on the link below.
The Trust is pleased to announce that a new book on the Crab & Winkle Line has been published. It is available on Amazon.
A ramble and rummage along the Crab & Winkle Line in Kent in search of what is left of the railway that once connected Canterbury and Whitstable. This book is the second in a series of such searches for Railway Remnants. It includes a section on the Trust dedicated to remembering and promoting the line. This book will be of interest to railway enthusiasts, railway historians, all walkers and those with an interest in how the British countryside has changed over time.
Good news for Crab and Winkle Way users. The section from the winding pond to the start of the decent into Whitstable is to be re-surfaced in late July. There may be a little disruption, look out for the warning signs that will be put up 2 weeks in advance.
The Trust is now the official owner of the land along the Clare Road embankment. Completion of the purchase of the land has taken place. Ownership of the land will enable the Trust to proceed with the implementation of the planning permission for a sustainable transport route towards Whitstable Harbour. The land has a length of approximately 400 metres and an area of 2.0055 hectacres.
Litter Clear up
A litter pick up and clear up of our newly purchased land has taken place on Thursday 21st March. CCC provided clearance of the debris collected through SERCO. A large amount of rubbish was collected by our volunteers, and the land looks a lot more tidy now. Many thanks to the volunteers for the hard and some times unpleasant work they undertook on our behalf.
Heritage Open Days
The Trust will participate in Heritage Open Days this September. An organised walk from the Harbour to South Street is anticipated.
The Trust has organised a visit to the southern portal of the Tyler Hill Tunnel with kind permission of the land owner, Archbishops School and Kent Bat Group. There are still places available to go in and see the tunnel which despite it’s age is in excellent condition. There is a charge of £5.00 per member for the visit. The visit will take place on Saturday 18th May starting at 10.30. Please contact John Burden on 01227 769566 to participate.
NEWSLETTER DEC 2012
We have paid over the completion monies for the purchase of the Clare Road embankment land to our solicitors. Completion is said to be imminent and we hopeful that it will take place shortly. Meanwhile we have engaged an engineer Chris Rogers to help us move the project forward. Chris is looking at a number of options to reduce the overall cost of the project to make it more affordable for us. Bringing down the cost means that we will not have to raise such a large amount of money making our job easier.
Representatives of the Trust have attended meetings on the Trust’s behalf, The committee is made up of representatives of Kent County Council, the project leaders, Canterbury City Council, Sustrans, and ourselves. The vital link along Tankerton sea front is now in use and the work of the committee is now at an end as the funding and timescales are complete.
Kent Stourside Country Project have secured funding for a new leaflet. A redesign of the leaflet to bring it up to date is to be undertaken. It is anticipated that the new leaflet will be available for the spring.
Tyler Hill Tunnel
The north portal of the Tyler Hill Tunnel has caused us concern for sometime. Renovation work had been undertaken by the University of Kent. The completed work now shows the portal in all it’s glory albeit behind galvanised fencing.
We are on Facebook so look us up and keep up to date.
Heritage open days
The Trust once again participated in Heritage Open Days last September. We were fortunate when in excess of 40 members of the public turned at Canterbury West Station. The walk showed visitors various relics relating to the Canterbury to Whitstable railway. The tour ended at the northern tunnel portal.
Tunnel visit 18th May 2013
We have permission to go in and visit the southern section of the tunnel on Saturday 18th May starting at 10.00. Members will be able to enter the tunnel at their own risk. A charge of £5.00 per person will be payable. For details please contact the trust via email firstname.lastname@example.org. Places are limited. Thanks to Kent Bat Group for allowing us to visit.
The Trust is willing to give illustrated talks to clubs and societies regarding the history of the Crab & Winkle Line. This was very well received by the members, and was followed by a question and answers session. The charge for the talk is fifty pounds plus travel expenses depending on distance travelled. Please let meetings organisers know that we are available.
Diary for next year
Although no dates have been fixed for next year we hope to represent the Trust at Whitstable Harbour days, and also during Heritage open days. Watch out in the press for details and our future newsletters. Members help to man the stall would be appreciated.
The Trust’s web page is currently under review in order to bring it more up todate. Further information will be added to the site shortly. Should any member have good digital photos of the line during the seasons, which could be used on the web site please let us know. They may be forwarded via email to: email@example.com.
Vattenfall, the owners of the off shore windfarm north of Whitstable, currently have an application submitted to add a further 17 wind turbines to the 31 that already exist. The Trust has made contact with the company and we wish to work with them in order to promote their sustainable and our sustainable shared transport route.
Christmas/New Year 2013
The committee would like to take the opportunity to wish all our members a very Happy Christmas and New Year, with good health for 2013.
NEWSLETTER SPRING 2012
The Trust has secured the land along the Clare Road embankment by agreeing to purchase the freehold from SUSTRANS. This opens the way forward for the Trust to push forward with the project for the sustainable transport route linking the Invicta Way to the Harbour area. The Trustees have issued instructions for an ecology report to be prepared which is required as part of the planning approval. The survey will be conducted over a period during the next few months.
The Trustees will be looking at ways to maximise the potential of the land being purchased to see whether we are able to achieve any added value. The land purchase does have covenants In favour of previous land owners so that they can benefit from any potential up lift in the value of the land. We are grateful to SUSTRANS for allowing us to purchase the land at an advantageous price and securing it for the benefit of the local community.
The clock continues to tick on our planning permission for the bridges and the Clare Road embankment. Your Trustees are currently looking at ways to secure the planning permission. We are also looking at ways to reduce the cost of the bridges which could entail a completely new design. This would mean a new planning application preceded by new local consultation. In an era of austerity we need to look at ways of making our project affordable to ourselves and attractive to possible funders.
The Crab & Winkle Quilters
The first exhibition of the Crab & Winkle Quilters quilts, wall hangings and miniatures will be held at Littlebourne War Memorial Hall, High Street Littlebourne CT3 1ST on Saturday 2nd June 10.00 to 17.00, and Sunday 3rd June 10.00 to 16.00. There will be a raffle of a quilt, tombola, sales table and light refreshments. Entrance £2.50, children free. There is disabled parking and all parking is free. Proceeds to Special Needs Advisory & Activities Project. Contact: Marion Fox 01227 455697.
Our AGM is to be held on Friday 25th May commencing @ 19.30 in Blean Village Hall Tyler Hill Road Blean Canterbury CT2 9JA. The hall is situated a short distance from the Crab & Winkle Way at Blean Church. Car parking is available at the hall. The hall is only 100 metres from the Tyler Hill road bus stop in Blean using Triangle services 4 from Canterbury and 6 from Whitstable. Services run every 30 minutes during the evening. The Chairman will present his annual report, as will the secretary and the treasurer. The accounts will also be presented. This is an opportunity for members to hear what the Trust has done during the past year and learn about our latest news. Please come along and show your support for our wonderful project.
THE BEVERLEY FARM FOOTPATH ARCH
BEVERLEY MEADOW, CANTERBURY
The Trust remain concerned about the condition and the safeguarding of the Beverley Arch which is Grade 2 Listed and have been informed by David Kincaid, Conservation & Countryside Team Leader of Planning & Regeneration at Canterbury City Council, owners of the Arch, that limited repairs to the brick Arch plus blocking off the ‘tunnel’ to prevent children (and others) getting stuck are to be carried out. Serco is considering some sort of railings set back 300 mm’s behind the exposed brick Arch so that the railings would be hidden in the shadows. JRB
This picture shows the current state of the northern portal of the Tyler Hill tunnel, after the trees the tree felling.
CIRCULATION of the NEWSLETTER
Owing to the rising cost of postage and stationary, the Trust has made the decision this will be the final hard copy of the newsletter to be routinely posted to all members. In future, the newsletter will be viewable on the Trust’s website:- www.crabandwinkle.org
If you do not have internet access but would still like to receive your hard copy of the newsletter by post, please contact either Secretary, Robin Townsend on 01227 831546 or John Burden on 01227 769566.
With thanks to Keith Spencer, the Crab & Winkle is now on Facebook “Friends of the Crab and Winkle Line”.
Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards
As part of their work to achieving an award under the Duke of Edinburgh’s award Scheme, Joe and David have spent a total of 26 weeks clearing vegetation along the old railway line north of the University. They completed their assignment in February and are currently undertaking A level exams. The Trust thanks them for their efforts, and wishing them well in their exams and at University in the Autumn.
The Trust has issued instructions to Lloyd Bore Ltd to prepare an ecology report on the Clare Road embankment. The report will take some time to prepare. The Trustees will consider the report when it is presented and a copy will be sent to the planning department as required under the planning consent.
Heritage Open Days
The Trust will be offering a guided walk as part of Heritage Open Days on Sunday 9th September. The walk will start at Canterbury West Station, on to North Lane, a viewing of the southern tunnel portal from the footpath. The walk will then continue up University Hill to Eliot College to view the plaque and ending at the northern tunnel portal. The walk start @ 10.00 and is expected to take about one and a half hours.
Whitstable Harbour Open Day
The Trust will be manning our stall at the Whitstable Harbour open days this summer. Watch out for details in the local press.
Crab & Winkle Line Trust ticket insert
The Trust has commissioned a card to resemble a train ticket to attract increased interest and membership. A copy of the ticket is included in this mailing. We hope that members will approve of this initiative to give the Trust a higher profile in the community.