The starting point for the days walk was the church at Frinsted. Although the temperatures were about two degrees the biting north wind made the conditions colder than had been experienced for some time on these walks. Heading south we passed through a number of horse paddocks before reaching the path for Ringlestone. The Ringlestone Ams has a reputation for an interesting style of hospitatity. In the distant past the pub was run by two sisters who were free and easy with a shotgun which they used to threaten any potential customers to whom they took a dislike.
From the pub the path forks and taking the right hand fork we found ourselves at Lower Deans Farm and the North Downs Way instead of the planned right hand path to Hogbarn. The diversion provided some spectacular scenery only blighted by the path of the M20 running across the landscape. At the North Downs Way which doubles up as the Pilgrims Way, the route headed eastwards past Hillside Farm. Upon reaching Stede Hill we came across a horse and rider who took a dislike to one of the group frothing at the mouth and skitting – the horse and not the walker. Having checked to with the rider to confirm where we were on the map, it was felt prudent to leave the horse alone and head north up Stede Hill past Stede Court. The palatial grounds and well maintained buildings suggest that the estate is more than just a going concern! The road eventually reaches the old manor building of Harrietsham. Taking the right hand turn towards Flint Hill after half a mile a wooded area provided a welcome respite from the wind and the inevitable log for a rest and lunch.
The homeward leg of the walk began at Newage Farm heading towards Broomy Lees Wood and involved a number of ups and downs which necessitated a further rest for a refill of tea and coffee just beyond Wrinsted Court. It was noticeable that although the going underfoot was dry and comfortable the amount of grass available for grazing has been severely affected by the poor weather. There were few sheep and a couple of cattle herds but they seemed to be surviving on very poor grassland. Eventually a steep path leads to Madam’s Court. There is no explanation for the name of the farm!
From Madam’s Court the path leads across a field which has an airstrip cut out on it and electricity wires are laced with balloons to ensure that any incoming aircraft are aware of their presence. Beyond the airstrip the path rejoins the paddock area where the still frisky horses were attracted to our backpacks – as by then all food and drink had been consumed their pursuit of those walking was fruitless. Reaching the village of Frinsted we finally returned to cars and some warmth!
There were four walkers who completed the 8.5 mile route