17 April 2013
The meeting point for todays walk was the carpark at the viewing point on Farthing Common off the B2068. Leaving the carpark the route followed the edge of the common towards Lyminge for about 100m before joining the North Downs Way. From the top of the Downs the views towards the south are spectacular but were unfortunately shrouded in mist. The route following the North Downs Way the route takes a sharp decline before a steep ascent to achieve the same height. Early in the walk an executive decision was taken to preserve energy by skirting around the edge of the bowl rather than imitating the sheep which have grazed the hillside. Their grazing has created a number of false terraces. At the other side of the bowl the path crosses a number of fields with some newly born lambs. At this point, looking towards the coast a small plane was building up enough courage to take off from a grass field below. A warm up circle produced some interesting sound wave effects but eventually the pilot decided to take off. Within five minutes he was back down on the ground!
Continuing the path the route reaches Staples Farm before moving off towards the Swingfield (Tolford Hill) radio station. On reaching the radio station the village of Etchinghill can be seen below and can be reached by continuing along the North Downs Way. However at this point we took the Saxon Shore Way and the Elham Valley Way. The trig point on MOD land indicated that we had reached the highest point of our walk – 181m high. Eventually the path begins to decend through a wooded area which seemed an appropriate point to break for lunch.
At the bottom of the hill we deviated from the Saxon Shore Way to take a bridle path round Tolsford Hill towards Tolsford Plantation where the primroses were numerous. Upon reaching the main road the route crossed over to take Cuckoo Lane where there were some more new born lambs. One of the houses on the route had a small stall outside selling a range of home grown produce. Following a generous offer from Gordon to sub out those without small change, the stall was left short of a couple of bundles of rhubarb and a jar of honey. Postling is a very pleasant village with some interesting houses and church. At the end of the village the route reaches the Pilgrims Way. At this point we took a side path to lead back to the bowl and to rise up to the North Downs Way again. John, who had in a previous existence been a Welsh mountain goat, took the more adventurous route and rejoined the route ahead of the rest of the group who had taken the easier but longer and windier journey to the top. The mist had by now cleared and the views were much clearer. It was possible to see the lighthouse at Dungeness. Retracing our steps from the early part of the walk we reached the car park at about 1.00pm
Five of the usual suspects took part in the 6.5m walk.
Note this week I was stuck in the dentist so all photos by JC and for some reason cannot alter the size Will have a try later