Guided walk on the Lakes and Marshes Rail Trail, 4th June 2024

A poster advertising Holborough Marshes, featuring a stylised view of trees in a grassy meadow beside a body of water.

The Lakes and Marshes Rail Trail is a 4.5 mile loop between Snodland and New Hythe stations, taking in the fantastic scenery and wildlife of Holborough Marshes, Leybourne Lakes and the River Medway.


Our guided walks seek to connect people with nature to improve their well-being, promote sustainable rail travel and bring tourist spend to the local economy. We were joined at Snodland station by eleven people from across the county, with nine arriving by rail.

Our walk began with a view of the Pilgrims Way stone in the wall outside All Saints church. There is fierce debate over where medieval pilgrims crossed the river and the likelihood is that they would have used many different routes. A formal ferry at Snodland does not appear in records before the 1800s.

Muddy footpaths took us around the edge of the Kent Wildlife Trust nature reserve for views from the riverbank and of the second world war pillbox that would have defended the river and hampered any invasion.

Across the river bank we were able to see the memorial stone commemorating the battle of the Medway in AD43. It is believed that the Roman legions forded the river at Snodland before defeating the British tribes under Caratacus in a battle near Cuxton. 

Leybourne Lakes Country Park was the second half of our trip, including a welcome break for some light refreshments at the lakeside cafe. The lakes are a series of flooded gravel quarries, which were developed into a country park in 2004, a positive legacy from the area’s industrial past. We saw many dragonflies as we walked onwards to New Hythe station. 

The final leg was to take the train home, or in the case of some of the group, to the pub. A number of walkers had decided to join our walk instead of their regular walk from Cuxton. They were going to meet up with the rest of their group and tell them how much they had enjoyed exploring somewhere new.


We would like to pass on our thanks to Maidstone Borough Council for their support managing bookings for the event, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council for welcoming us to Leybourne Lakes Country Park and everybody who came along for our Rail Trail ramble. We hope you’ve inspired you to plan your own Days Out By Rail adventures.

A group of tired walkers seated on a train.