Paleolithic rock shelter.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Camer Luddesdown

As you can see this is steep and slippery

This was lurking in the woods
The cycling section on their mounts.
This week the group was swelled by the mass ranks of cyclists who, seeking a break from the biting winds of the past few weeks, enjoyed the dubious pleasure of mud baths and paddling pools on today’s walk. The walk began from Camer Park. Those who were early savoured the delights of the cooked fare on offer at Daff’s caff.  Upon arrival of the stragglers, the group of eight walked through the park before joining the Wealdway. Following the Wealdway along the side of Henley Wood, the route eventually reaches Luddesdon Court and the memorial. Luddesdon is the joining of the two valleys crossed through the walk. At Luddesdon Church we left the Wealdway and joined the path which led up through a muddy, woodland track to the Gag Plantation. The path eventually meets the North Downs Way.
At this point a suitable seating area was found for an early lunch. It was remarked that the seating, which consisted of freshly felled logs, was excellent -  much welcomed by those who had not found the previous hill or the subsequent, extremely muddy pathway/swimming pool to their liking. Rather than continue along the North Downs Way the path leads down a challenging, steep slope to Great Buckmore Farm. The path, which would otherwise have been a ski slope, has been greatly improved by an aggregate base laid within the last year.
Crossing Wranging Lane and on to Lockyers Hill, another hill looms up towards the skyline. The road is marked with a 25% gradient! The path off the hill is just as steep but was made slightly easier by a series of steep steps. At the top, a lengthy rest was in order to recover from the resulting exhaustion. Striking out across a field of horses the path reaches two extremely interesting buildings. One of these is a very large, old barn and the other is the half timbered ‘cottage’ of Coombe Hill Farm. The lane between the two buildings leads onto a path which veers down to the next valley towards Dene Manor and a tennis court. At the bottom of the valley a winding path through a copse leads up another hill to join four other paths. Unfortunately the views were not very clear but looking back it was possible to see the two valleys crossed during todays walk as well as Luddesdon.
Taking the path down the hill towards Camer, it is necessary to cross a field which was today populated by a number of hostile looking bullocks. A less courageous group of hikers might have been deterred by the interest that they showed in the party but a few ‘strong’ words from the more vociferous members of the group sent the cattle packing. Reaching the top of the hill the path rejoins the Wealdway and returns to Camer Park where a cup of tea was enjoyed by all.
The walk took three and a quarter hours and was five miles in length. It is an adaptation of Walk 15 from Pub Walks in Kent,  starting from Camer Park rather than the Cock Inn in Henley Street.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Today’s walk (February 20th) began at the village of Newnham close to the George pub. It was nearly aborted at the start when the most senior member of the group spotted that it began with a hill! Once at the top the walk levelled off and no further complaints were heard. Skirting Champion Court where there was some spectacular yew and holly topiary the path led back towards Sharsted Court and Sharsted Wood. The weather was kind and there were short periods when the warmth of the sun was evident.

Emerging from the woodland path the route took a right turn along a lane towards Pinetrees Farm . From the cottage we crossed several not too muddy fields before emerging at the Old Rectory at Kingsdown and the church of St Catherine. The church was a particular highlight. Although not ancient, having been built in 1865, it is extremely well maintained by the Churches Conservation Trust. It was designed by Edward Welby Pugin, son of Augustus Pugin. It is the only remaining Anglican church designed by Edward and has been well restored by the Trust. It has become isolated from its parishioners by the building of the motorway and after the storms of 1987 the church became redundant. A statue to St Catherine can be seen above the porch. The church is well worth a visit. The group took the opportunity to take an early lunch before setting off on the return leg towards Bluetown.
Before reaching Bluetown the path leads through an orchard belonging to Great Highham Farm. Along the field adjacent to telegraph poles the track eventually leads to a further plum orchard, not currently maintained and then on to Doddington Church. Following the track through Doddington Place onto the Doddington to Newnham road we arrived back in Newnham where there are a number of interesting houses - including one belonging to someone who is yet to become famous!

The total walk was 5.5miles long and took us three hours.

All photos by JC

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Harty to Oare

6 of us met up at the Harty bird reserve where it meets the river Swale . It was overcast but with a hint that the sun may put in an appearance although with the temperature at 1C that was not much help. we went onto the sea wall and headed west . The going was very muddy and the tide out but still a good day to be retired . we basically followed the sea wall past the ruins of a few ships and the old gunpowder factory where we cut inlands . A lot of the going was via the roadway but we cut to the footpaths were we could and finally made the village of Oare .
On through the village to the head of Oare Creek then following the footpath along the side of the creek we slowly made our way back to the starting point
A really enjoyable walk albeit very muddy and cold
 Start of walk from Harty bird reserve at River Swale

 Along sea wall along side river Swale
 Bird reserve

 Old wooden slip way used to load and unload bardges
 No idea what caused this

 This is a real bird house

 Another blot on the landscape

 along side Oare Creek

 Sluice Gates

 Tea Break for old codgers

GY ay a Artisian Well

Gushing with pure, fresh water, this is a  artesian well. This is a survivor of a fuse factory which once stood here. A factory in this remote spot? Yes, not just this one, but three. On the other side of the road was the Cotton Powder Company, producing every kind of high explosive, and in vast quantities, and, beyond it, the Explosives Loading Company, filling bombs and shells with its product. Between them these two factories occupied an area larger than the City of London, with their own offices, power station and railway network. Imagine something like a huge modern chemical factory.

Following photos by JC