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