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This walk of approximately 5 ¾ miles will start at Rochester Station, newly opened in December 2015. We will look at the bridges across the River Medway which has been a strategic crossing point since Roman times. The A2 road bridges and the service bridge underneath are all maintained by the Rochester Bridge Trust (see additional notes) and, after lunch, there will be an opportunity to visit the Bridge Trust exhibition in the newly restored crypt (in itself an impressive project) inside the Cathedral.
The route will take walkers along Rochester High Street, old and new Rochester Bridges, Strood Community Trail, up to the M2 road bridge and adjacent high-speed rail bridge. We will cross the M2 road bridge and walk back into Rochester. Although predominantly through an urban area on tarmacked pathways, there are several stretches of public footpaths that may be soft underfoot (especially in wet weather) so appropriate footwear is advisable. There is one stile and two ladder stiles to cross over a small stretch of farmland.
Those wishing to take lunch will find there are plenty of places to eat in the High Street, from restaurants to pubs and cafes.
For additional information contact Tony Barber: e email@example.com or t 0208 300 1830 or mob (daytime only) 07575 840658. Alternatively contact Stewart Biggs: e firstname.lastname@example.org or to 07967 282095.
You are reminded that you walk at your own risk.
Since Roman times a bridge has crossed the River Medway at Rochester, and since medieval times the Wardens and Assistants of Rochester Bridge have maintained this strategic river crossing. Today the Trust owns and maintains the two A2 bridges and the service bridge at Rochester, crossings as important for today's traffic and modern life as at any time in our history.
In February 1382 a royal commission was appointed to decide who was responsible to repair the ruined Roman bridge. The commissioners, who included Henry Yevele, the best English architect of his time, and the powerful Kentish knight and landowner Sir John de Cobham, concluded that Rochester needed a new bridge with stone arches. Sir John recruited the help of another wealthy knight, Sir Robert Knolles, and between them they paid for the construction of a new stone bridge 100 yards upstream from the remains of the Roman bridge.
To pay for the maintenance and repair of the new medieval stone bridge, Sir John de Cobham and Sir Robert Knolles petitioned Richard II and received a royal patent in 1399 establishing the Wardens and Commonalty of Rochester Bridge and granting them power to own property and to use the income to maintain the bridge. Through the continued efforts and generosity of Sir John de Cobham and further royal grants of Henry IV and Henry V, the Wardens and Commonalty accumulated properties in Kent, Essex, and London and over the centuries have used the rental income to maintain the bridge. Many of these properties still belong to The Rochester Bridge Trust today.
Over the centuries the Trust has also contributed towards the cost of bridges at Tonbridge, Yalding, East Peckham, Wateringbury, and Maidstone, and more recently has taken a leading role in the construction of the Medway Tunnel. In addition to this core purpose of funding crossings over or under the River Medway, the Trust occasionally makes grants for education, for repair of churches, and for other capital projects in the City of Rochester and the County of Kent.
Walkers are invited to visit the Bridge Trust exhibition in the Cathedral crypt after lunch. Admission is free