Canterbury Bid


Welcome to the Great Stour RiverFest! 19- 24 September 2023

Each year, thousands of people visit and enjoy the beauty of the River Stour, the second longest waterway in Kent and once a key Roman trade route connecting Britain to Europe. People picnic along its banks, rejoice in a relaxing river tour or walk along the footpaths that offer glimpses of the river.

The City of Canterbury has many great attractions, from St Augustine’s Abbey and Canterbury Cathedral to the award-winning Westgate Gardens. However, one of its greatest jewels meanders silently through the city centre while providing space for nature and people. It’s appreciated by many but celebrated and cared for by only a few. The jewel in question? The Great Stour River.

Thanks to Canterbury’s devoted local communities and their passion for promoting and protecting this asset, we are excited to announce the inaugural Great Stour RiverFest running from Monday 18 to Sunday 24 September 2023. On the final day of the festival, we also celebrate World Rivers Day! Expect a week of wonderful Stour-related events aimed at celebrating its historical, cultural and environmental interests.

Each year, thousands of people visit and enjoy its beauty while picnicking along its banks, rejoicing in a relaxing river tour or walking along the footpaths that offer glimpses of the river.

Events will include:

  • Great Stour Riverfest presentation with special guest speakers (online)
  • Photography competition with prizes – led by the Canterbury Society
  • River clean ups – for experienced river dwellers only!
  • Franciscan Gardens bat walk – led by Shirley Thomson at Kent Bat Group
  • Riverside open space tour – led by Canterbury City Council’s Environment Team
  • Riverside bulb planting at Westgate Gardens- led by the Franciscan Gardens
  • River dipping at Kingsmead Field and Westgate Gardens – led by Lauren Baker from Kent Stour Countryside Partnership (KSCP)
  • River Stour Arts and Crafts – led by Anna Outdoors
  • Interfaith river walk from Westgate Gardens to Hambrook Marshes – led by Richard Norman from the Interfaith Group
  • River ecology river walk – led by Jon Shelton from KSCP
  • Riverbank litter pick – led by the Canterbury Society

To find out more about your river, join us for a wonderful week of free Great Stour-related events to learn, share stories and celebrate (all events are free)!

The RiverFest will also see the launch of Canterbury’s new Wild Stour Guide and Trail! You can pick up your copy at any of the events or at the Beaney.

Brought to you by Canterbury BID, with contributions from the Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership, the Canterbury Society and St Peter’s Methodist School, this new guide to the Great River Stour allows you to discover the amazing green spaces along Canterbury’s riverside. Photos courtesy of Martyn Barr, Nicola Crockford, Beverley Paton & Simon Pettman and background mapping provided by Clarity Interpretation.

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