Today’s walk began early at 9.45 as a scorcher had been predicted by the met office. Convening in the Doddington parish church car park we set off east past the cheerily named Beheading of St John the Baptist Church towards Doddington Place. It was at this point that our photographer, having thought that his camera had been fixed, realised that it hadn’t - hence the dearth of photos on this week’s blog. Our deputy photographer being on a two week leave of absence somewhere in Norway was sorely missed. Reaching the grounds of Doddington Place the path crosses a grazing field containing a number of sheep called ‘Shawn’ who were already seeking shelter in the shade of trees. We also sought the shade by entering Sharsted Wood. Taking the central path until reaching a tree house we turned northwards before reaching the Court. The tree house appears to have been developed further since our last visit as it now contains storage space for logs at its base. The path eventually reaches the M2 which we crossed before joining Tickham Lane. Passing on the road by Mountfield Farm we took a footpath towards Lynsted Park. At this point there was a healthy discussion about the dynamics of fly swatting using an electronic tennis racket style swat. The challenge of swatting moths was explored. It was felt that the density of a moth is likely to be less than that of a fly and thus it will be forced forward out of the range of the swat when attempting a forward motion. This was another one of those ‘who cares’ moments but did provide a few minutes rest to enable us to take on board liquid refreshment.
Upon reaching Lynsted Park there is a pleasant cricket green with some sofas and cushions on the boundary for spectators. We resisted the temptation to rest at this point as it was already too hot. Crossing Lynsted Park we headed for the cherry orchard at Lynsted Court. Here there are benches and although relatively early in the walk luncheon was taken. The farmer was picking a few baskets of cherries before setting off to Whitstable to sell them. It appears that the market for cherries is not good and he had organised a cherry picking day for Saturday. Having received his blessing to pick a few of the white cherries, we supplemented lunch with a desert before setting off for the village of Lynsted.
The name Lynsted comes from the Old English ‘Linde Stede’ meaning ‘the place of the lime tree’, which is presumable why, as part of the Queens Jubilee, a small leafed lime tree was planted on the side of the road entering the village. The sign recognising the tree is set back off the road and almost obscured by undergrowth. Reaching the village, opposite the church there is a footpath. It is not well marked but again provided some welcome shade. We crossed Mill Lane and after about a mile rejoined Tickham Lane where we met a group of four other walkers making their way to the pub in Lynsted! Looking back at this point there are some spectacular views of the Kingsferry Bridge over the Swale. The path then leads through the orchards of Layterton and Monks Farm before reaching Norton Road. This is a well maintained tree lined road with the trees cultivated to act as wind breaks for the fruit trees in the orchards. It leads onto a footpath which returned us across the M2. A liquid refreshment break was taken whilst listening to the music created by the traffic on the M2 below. We continued along the path for about a mile before reaching Sharsted Court. At this point we re-entered Sharsted Wood and retraced the earlier part of the walk to Doddington Place. It was noticeable that there were even more shorn sheep resting under the trees. Passing the church and the AA 5 star bed and breakfast accommodation we reached the carpark to find that the sun had moved further round and that cars were unprotected. The temperature at this point was 32 degrees. There were six walkers who travelled the 6.5 miles in a heat wave – mad dogs and Englishmen!
The above text by one of the few educated ones in the group , and the youngest
Note , the repaired camera did not work so we had to revert to using the camera on the phone which is very poor quality To make matters worse the better photographer was still on his cruise so we are stuck with the following photos . I took a few at the start as one it was hard work using the phone camera plus it then simply got too hot .
Yes we did pick a few but with the farmers say so and yes they were very nice but a bit battered at the end of the walk
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
The walk began at the car park in Shorne Country Park. There being no new cars this week, a prompt start was possible. Taking the black route from the car park we eventually went downhill to the faerie ring. There were a number of offers to complete the picture but our photographer felt it was inappropriate to spoil the shot of inanimate wood carvings found in the faerie ring by the inclusion of any real fairies. Immediately beyond the ring is the notorious Cardiac Hill. This was not the only time that the four letter word, hill, would pass the lips of our most senior walker accompanied by a range of adjectives – some appropriate, others less so. The view at the top of the hill of the Thames is special. The woodland however is starting to encroach and it is likely that the view will disappear in time. Turning left and leaving the park from the northern exit we passed along an overgrown path until we eventually reached Shorne Ifield Road. At Upper Ifield we took the footpath known as Muggins Lane north towards the A226 and Chalk. This took us through a field of linseed and provided a number of views of the Thames. Upon reaching the A266 we crossed over to take the bridleway to the church. The Parish church of Chalk, lies a mile east of Chalk village which is where Dickens spent his honeymoon. The Parish church of the Virgin Mary is an 11th century church and overlooks the north Kent marshes. The church was closed but over the doorway is a small niche. This used to house the statue of the Virgin Mary which has long since disappeared. Lunch was taken in the graveyard.
Setting back on our return journey we retraced our steps to the A266, pausing only to allow the junior member of the group and most forgetful to return to the church porch to retrieve his walking stick! Turning eastward for about a kilometre along the A266 towards Gad’s Hill we eventually reached the path heading towards Shorne. The path which is clearly marked again allows views of the shipping on the Thames. It was at this point cousin number two raised a deep philosophical question – what is the difference between a boat and a ship? There followed a lengthy discussion which concluded that a ship can carry a boat eg a lifeboat, but a boat can’t carry a ship. This seemed to satisfy the assembled masses until someone pointed out that a submarine is always a boat and no-one knows what the Americans consider a boat or a ship. It was at this point that a conclusion was rapidly drawn – who cares? - or words to that effect. During the course of the discussion a ship, or was it a boat, in the distance had travelled at least a kilometre.
The path eventually reaches the village of Shorne. Following the road round to the Street and through the village, we found ourselves at the foot of Tanyard Hill. The senior member of the group, cousin number one, spotted the hill but fortunately, those at the front were beyond hearing distance and were not aware of the concern that hills can generate amongst those with a phobia of hills. At the top of the hill by Tanyard cottage, we took the right fork along Woodlands Walk. This led eventually to Shorne Country Park where we rejoined the black route back, past the lake to the Visitors centre and the promised cup of tea.
There were five participants who competed the 5 mile distance.
Start Of Walk at Shorne Country Park
Blot On The Landscape
River Thames In the Distance
You Can Just See Shorne Church
Mary The Virgin Church At Shorne
Fishing lakes At The Country Park , Our Return
Thursday, July 04, 2013
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.