The 7.7 mile long canal was conceived as a way of connecting the River Thames at Gravesend with the River Medway at Strood (near Rochester). Prior to construction of the canal ships had to make a 47 mile voyage down the River Thames and then back up the River Medway.
Unfortunately the canal was never a commercial success.
In 1846 the railway including the tunnel was sold to the South Eastern Railway (SER). The SER decided to fill in the section of canal running through the tunnel to enable a double track to be laid.
A cycle path now follows the canal bank and eventually goes all the way through to Rochester.
The marshes are partially drained by dykes like the one above (which are teaming with fish). It is very peaceful and a haven for wildlife.
Eventually the footpath reached the river bank and linked up with the long distance Saxon Shore Way mentioned in a previous post.
At this point as the light was beginning to fade I decided to follow the river back towards Gravesend.
If you take a close look on the "beach" you will see literally thousands of old broken bottles.