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The Joys of Walking!

The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 29 Mar 2018 16:45

The weather today was very different to the last two rainy days. I had blue skies and fluffy white clouds for all but the last couple of miles of my walk when it started to drizzle. It was quite cool, but that's a good thing when walking. :D

I'd planned the route a few days ago. The idea was to revisit some of the best scenery in the area, so I decided to wait for a sunny day to make the most of it. I also included about four miles of country lanes between Old Wives Lees and Boughton-under-Blean that I'd not travelled before. The whole walk from home was just over 21 miles, but the loop part would be about 15 miles - if anyone's interested! ;)

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From Harbledown, I followed the North Downs Way through Chartham Hatch and on to the edge of Old Wives Lees. At Chartham Hatch I met up with the reindeer (that I've mentioned once or twice before in this blog); they'd lost their antlers since I last saw them:

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I've walked most of the Kent section of the North Downs Way and this is definitely one of my favourite bits. There are vast swathes of orchards covering the rolling hills and the views are always wonderful:

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In this photo you can see in the distance some of the great many mobile homes I'd just passed. It's not a holiday park or a retirement village, but a village for the hundreds of EU workers who work in these orchards. Or at least, they'll work here this year, but who knows what will happen next year. I think it's very sad that so many of my fellow countrymen didn't want migrant workers from eastern Europe 'over here'...

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The farm is just over the hill. I'd walked down the steep slope by the row of beech trees, then across the freshly ploughed field to some woods where I looked back to take this photo...

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And finally, on the return leg, I took this photo looking across to Hernhill. The road continues to rise for quite a distance and the views are excellent. It's near to where I spotted a deer a few months ago, but I didn't see one today - I think that'll have been a one-off. There were lots of pheasants though...

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Booked cruise: Marella Explorer - Caribbean, Christmas 2018
Booked walking holidays: Easter: Cotswolds; Summer: Kintyre & Islay
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby grannyM » 29 Mar 2018 17:42

Nice photos again Dave. :)

The weather continues to be rather chilly here so not much walking these past few months for us. Although not as adventurous as you and Fred we do miss our walks around this part of the coast.
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 06 Apr 2018 15:01

Having done local walks for the last three days, it was nice to go a bit further today to do a walk with my wife in the area around Alkham.

Alkham is a really lovely old village about halfway between Dover and Folkestone and situated in a deep valley. The surrounding countryside is quite idyllic with its 'Tellytubbies' green rolling hills. Being only a few miles from Dover, Alkham's The Marquis hotel is highly rated and might well suit someone cruising from or visiting Dover.

This walk had a number of highlights, one of which was seeing our very first flowering bluebell of the year! :D

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Another highlight was St John's Commandery at Swingfield. Rather than try to paraphrase a description, this is from the English Heritage website:
The sisters of the Order of the Knights of St John of Jerusalem had a house at Swingfield until about 1180, when they were removed to Buckland Priory in Somerset.

The Knights Hospitaller, of the same order, then established a small community on the site, of which the 13th century chapel is the only remaining building.

The Knights Hospitaller were a military and religious order founded in the 12th century with the purpose of caring for and protecting pilgrims to the Holy Land. Their main unit of local administration was the commandery, where knights and sergeants lived together under the rule of a commander, who administered the estates with which the order had been endowed. Revenues from commanderies funded hospitals for sick pilgrims.

After the Suppression of the Monasteries, in 1540 the chapel was converted into a farmhouse, and since then has undergone successive phases of alteration.

Traces of other buildings survive only as slight earthworks to the south and west of the chapel.

Fred reading the description in situ...

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Here's me admiring the view of Alkham as we were almost back. The photo doesn't do it justice - it was a fantastic sight:

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And this is the village green, with an intermittent stream (meaning almost always dry!) running through it. The free car park is just behind the trees to the left.

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For anyone interested in doing this highly recommended short walk (just over 7 miles), here's the route we took...

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Booked cruise: Marella Explorer - Caribbean, Christmas 2018
Booked walking holidays: Easter: Cotswolds; Summer: Kintyre & Islay
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby rdw123 » 06 Apr 2018 15:15

Lovely photos Dave and nice to see an early bluebell. Did wonder though if that could be a Spanish one as opposed to the native variety. Anyway whatever variety it’s lovely to see. Spring is around the corner. Never heard of that village but it looks very tranquil.
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Gillzajoker » 07 Apr 2018 08:50

Lovely pics., Dave, and was very interested in the history of the chapel. :D
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Postby grannyM » 09 Apr 2018 10:34

Nice to see you had some fine weather for your recent walk Dave. Not a bit of snow in sight. ;)
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 17 Apr 2018 14:44

As I mentioned in a recent post elsewhere (Amazing service from Cotswold Outdoor!), I went to Canterbury this morning. I took my usual route through the woods and across farmland, and, because the weather was so nice, I extended it by a few miles just for the pleasure of enjoying being out and about on a warm day.

It really struck me just how quickly plants grow at this time of year. Less than two weeks ago, I passed a field where the crop was no more than a few inches high (and which I'd assumed were turnips!). This was the field this morning... :o

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Not turnips, but rape - and it had grown about three feet high in a couple of weeks!

And I'd walked along one of my favourite tracks through our local woods less than two weeks ago. There had been some patches of wood anemones, but nothing like this...

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This time, there were even some bluebells mixed in. This bit of woodland is quite special to me because it was here last spring that I saw the white flowers and decided to try to learn the names of as many wildflowers as I could. (They were out a few weeks earlier last year!) I can't yet name a great many wildflowers, but I do recognise the wood anemone. :D
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby rdw123 » 18 Apr 2018 07:21

Thanks Dave. Lovely pictures. Looks like you have had better weather down there than we have had up here and plants are further forward. Cloudy and very windy here most of the day yesterday but the sun is out here now. Hooray.
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The Joys of Walking!

Postby Dave » 21 Apr 2018 16:43

We had a fabulous walk today in an area we'd overlooked until now. My wife's new job involves travelling around Kent and during the week she was near West Farleigh, to the south-west of Maidstone. She said it looked lovely so I planned a walk in the area. :D

Teston Bridge Country Park turned out to be the perfect place to start from, being an easy 30 minute drive from home. From there, we went across fields to visit West Farleigh, then made our way across horsey country to join the Medway Valley Path (this is a very well-to-do part of Kent and we saw many more horses than cattle or sheep!). We followed this excellent marked trail alongside the River Medway as far as Yalding, where we met the Greensand Way - another well-marked trail - and followed that for a few miles before heading north to the river and back to the car.

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This is typical of the scenery alongside this part of the River Medway. It was extremely peaceful and we passed several impressive manor houses (and the like) - I think the one in the photo is Nettlestead Place, a medieval manor house:

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We passed marinas (with some very nice boats!) before reaching the outskirts of Yalding. On this hot, sunny day there were a lot of people in this area - it's obviously a 'nice day destination', with its locks and weir.

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The 'person' in the middle of this kayak is a dog wearing a life jacket... :think:

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Between the weir and Yalding was this amazing display of dandelions:

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We crossed a number of narrow stone road bridges. This one brought us in to Yalding where we stopped for coffee at Yalding Tearooms, which fortunately for us opens on the third Saturday of each month!

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About an hour later, we stopped for a quick picnic lunch halfway up a hill with some wonderful views. This was our first lunch-stop of the year on a walk.

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At the top of the hill we stopped to take photos of the bluebells which are just starting to carpet much of the woodland.

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This is a beautiful part of Kent and we'll definitely be doing more walks in this area... :thumbup:
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Re: The Joys of Walking!

Postby tomvet » 21 Apr 2018 20:28

this is a very well-to-do part of Kent and we saw many more horses than cattle or sheep!


I have heard that sheep were the poor man's cattle but now it seems that cattle are the poor man's horse :shock: :shock: :shock:

My experience is that where you have horses, you can smell the bull!!!! Very often its a case of style over substance!!!!
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