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Hoo St Werburgh, commonly known as Hoo, is a large village and civil parish in the Medway district of Kent, England.
A Confusion of Names
Every time I mentioned Hoo to anyone that didn’t know it, they instantly thought I was joking with them about the name. It’s not who, it’s Hoo!
Believed to be a Saxon word for a spur of land, this little peninsula separating the Thames and Medway rivers, holds some interesting scenes. A walk along the river presents you with both sweeping views of tower blocks, and luscious green fields. A combination of countryside and industrialism gives this area a unique look.
A Walking Observation
Despite this juxtaposition, many a great walk has taken place here and I can recall encounters with cows as well as exploring old war bunkers. Past Hoo Marina, you’ll find Hoo Fort in the middle of the river. It remains an explorers dream, though it has to be approached with caution due to tidal and structural concerns.
If you’re a twitcher, you’ll love this stretch of the walk, which is part of the Saxon Shore Way. Just up from the boat graveyard, there are reed beds that attract a plethora of birds. Northward Hill is a bit further on with a different landscape altogether, offering a greater variety of species.
This is a great place for a picnic on a bright day or bring a flask and make use of an old bunker if the weather turns.
By the church in the village, there is a sunflower field that, if caught at just the right time, makes for an excellent backdrop. I’ve seen a few photoshoots take place there.
Between the horse stables and the church, there are some chicken coops where you can often purchase fresh eggs; it’s always worth carrying some change.
A Step Further
If you’ve tired of walking, there’s always the Fenn Bell Nature Reserve. Great for all the family, this little place offers animal experiences, pub grub, and event functions. Not as large as a zoo but a fun little stop nonetheless.
Slough Fort, a mid 19th century fort, was built to help protect the Thames. Enthusiasts offer educational days, guided tours, and ghost hunts so you are sure to find something of interest.
Cooling Castle, built of Kentish ragstone, was built in the 1380’s by the local Cobham family in a bid to add to defences for the Thames. Now, it is private property that's only visible from afar. Cooling Castle Barn, adjacent, is used as a spectacular wedding venue.
Upnor Castle, situated on the banks of the River Medway, is yet another fortress. This was designed to protect the anchored warships but failed spectacularly in June 1667 when the Dutch attacked and successfully destroyed a large number of English ships.
Open to the public, much of this castle can still be viewed. Another spot for a wedding, it would appear that Medway has a few interesting locations up its sleeve.
Failing that, find a pub - there are many to choose from!
Hoo St Werburgh
With its full name Hoo St Werburgh sounding rather grand, Hoo is a still a homely little village. It feels quiet, not as built up as areas in Medway such as Rochester or Strood, yet, and has the added advantage of picturesque views; if you close one eye and ignore the power station.
While I wouldn’t recommend a 6-hour detour to visit, it does hold a certain charm and if you are in the vicinity, you can make a nice few days out of it.
Many people stay at Allhallows Caravan Park which is close by.
No idea why, but Hoo also the one place I have seen countless rainbows. Enjoy!