River Stour, Kent

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The River Stour (pronounced /ˈstaʊər/) is the river in Kent, England that flows into the English Channel at Pegwell Bay. Above Plucks Gutter, where the Little Stour joins it, the river is normally known as the Great Stour. The upper section of the river, above its confluence with the East Stour at Ashford is sometimes known as the Upper Great Stour or West Stour. In the tidal lower reaches, the artificial Stonar Cut short cuts a large loop in the natural river.

The Stour has Kent's second largest catchment area (the River Medway having the largest). The lower part of the river is tidal; its original mouth was on the Wantsum Channel, an important sea route in medieval times. The river has three major tributaries, and many minor ones. For much of its length it and flows in a generally south-west to north-east direction.

The historic city of Canterbury is situated on the river, as are the former Cinque Port of Sandwich and the railway town of Ashford. The route of the Stour Valley Walk follows the river.



Upper Great Stour

The source, of what is known at that point as the Great Stour, is near the village of Lenham, within a short distance of the River Len, a tributary of the Medway. That source is on the Greensand ridge and at first the river flows along the Low Weald valley at the foot of the ridge in a southeastward direction: three small streams enter from the north, having their headwaters on the ridge, before reaching a point where the river turns to the north east. This part of the river flows through rural countryside, passing the village of Little Chart, before entering Ashford near Great Chart.

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