It’s been cold and rainy this week, so we’ve mostly stayed tucked up at home. Fortunately, the weather brightened up this Sunday though and we got ourselves out to park #2 of The Medway Parks Challenge, a Charles Dickens favourite, Rochester’s The Vines.
This is actually the second time we visited this year, it makes for a perfect little detour when walking around Rochester. We like to walk past the Cathedral on Boley Hill, past the Old Archdeaconry, through The Vines and then back towards the High Street on Crow Lane.
The Vines is another of Medway’s Green Flag Winning parks and is immaculately kept with support of The Friends of The Vines Community Group. It’s a small park at about 3 acres, the smallest of Medway’s eight Green Flag parks, but has plenty of history and things to see. It consists of green lawn, with some large flower beds and an impressive variation of mature trees.
One of the most impressive features is a giant sequoia tree in the north east side of the park between the paths. It has a grounded bed and some stools for people to sit on. At the centre of the park a tree sump has been carved into a book of Oliver Twist and has a small plaque explaining some of the tree types.
The park is paved, with footpaths at each corner leading to the middle of the park. An avenue of trees has been planted from The North entrance by the Old Archdeaconry to the southern, main entrance of the park. There is some history on these trees shared on the Friends website, explaining that in storms of 1983 and 1990 some trees were lost.
The park has many benches, litter bins and some small wooden features for children to play on. I particularly like the ‘vine’ metalwork on some of the entrance railings. The park is very accessible and has no steps, except two small steps for the west entrance. In summer and during Rochester’s event weekends the park can be very busy with people sitting enjoying the surroundings.
During our visit a man stopped us (we suspect he had heard about the Medway Parks Challenge…!) and said to us that we was surprised how little green spaces Rochester has. Pretty surprising, with The Vines, Esplanade Gardens, Churchfields and Rochester Castle Gardens I actually think Rochester has rather a lot of green space!
We’re sure to visit the Vines regularly this year and hopefully we’ll be able to get some pictures when things are a bit more green and less wintery.