The rendezvous point for this week’s walk was again Lullingstone Country Park. After admiring the latest acquisition of a Nisson Qashqai belonging to the mountain goat, we set off southward from the car park along the Darenth Valley walk. Retracing the end of last week’s walk we past the Lullingstone Hop Farm taking a short detour to look at the farm shop and farm. There are some pleasant views of the river at this point including a windmill. The Darenth Valley path passes a hop field and lavender field before reaching a meadow which eventually meets the river again. The river is now flowing well after a number of years when it was dry and in danger of disappearing altogether. There followed a deep philosophical discussion about why the river had recovered. The Welsh wizard concluded that this was because the water board had diluted it! Walking along the path we eventually reached Shoreham and the former home of the artist Samuel Palmer – the Water House. Palmer was a painter who had lived in Shoreham and painted mostly landscapes and scenes of Shoreham and Kent – Garden in Shoreham
Shoreham is a very pleasant village with numerous interesting buildings and cottages. Taking a small detour we visited the local parish church of St Peter and St Paul. The yew tree avenue stretches up to the spectacular porch built in the late fifteenth/early sixteenth century. The jewel of the church is undoubtedly the rood screen which is one of the few pre-Reformation screens still surviving.
Travelling back through the village and passing the two pubs crossed over the ancient bridge. We then headed towards the other end of the village and the recreation ground. The ground has two benches which offered a suitable place for an early lunch and a rest before setting off uphill towards Meenfield Wood. Half way up the hill the Shoreham stone cross can be seen. Upon reaching the wood we continued uphill and then down towards Timberton Bottom. Upon reaching the road we turned right heading towards Darenthdale passing a signpost for London and, slightly off the road, an old memorial. On reaching Darenthdale we turned left along Cockerhurst Road. After a quarter of a mile we took the path up another hill towards Homewood farm which again showed some clear views of the valley. Upon reaching Redmans Lane, (the same road where we had last week undertaken a scientific experiment to see how far a golf ball would roll) we entered the wood and Lullingstone Park. Taking the black route we followed the path down from the top of the hill to the back of the car park and a welcome cup of tea.
There were four participants and the route covered five and a half miles.