The soldier beetles, Cantharidae, are relatively soft-bodied, straight-sided beetles, related to the Lampyridae or firefly family, but being unable to produce light. They are cosmopolitan in distribution. One common British species is bright red, reminding people of the red coats of soldiers, hence the common name. A secondary common name is leatherwing, obtained from the texture of the wing covers.
I must confess to not knowing a great deal about Ightham Mote before doing this walk. I still know very little about it at the time of writing this blog entry, suffice to say it is now a National trust property dating from 1320 with important later additions and alterations. It is a rare example of a moated medieval manor house. An exhibition depicts the largest conservation project undertaken by the Trust, which was completed in 2004. As far as this walk is concerned, Ightham Mote is only a very a small part of the route – of course one can deviate and have a proper look, but that sort of activity is out of scope for this project.
This is a middle distance walk at 3.5 miles, and is fairly flat for the most part. The few uphill climbs are not too much of a challenge for anyone of moderate fitness. Alas, I am not in that category. It is a circular walk and starts and ends in Shipbourne, which seems a nice little place.
Once past the church, the route heads out into proper Kentish countryside through rolling fields and past the odd Oast House. This is probably one of the quieter walks until the route snakes back across a main road. Much of the route follows various bits of the Green Sand Way – as do many of the other walks in this project.
As I mentioned at the start, this walk skirts past Ightham Mote, so here is the obligatory shot of it. According to the National Trust website…
Ightham Mote has many special features, including a Great Hall, crypt, Tudor chapel with a hand-painted ceiling and the apartments of the American donor Charles Henry Robinson. An enchanting feature is the Grade I-listed dog kennel, situated in the picturesque courtyard. Ightham Mote also offers lovely gardens and water features, with lakeside and woodland walks.
I have never seen a Grade I-listed dog kennel before and had I known about this beforehand, may well have decided to take a peek. Possibly.
Every walk needs a sheep shot or two.
Some sort of Pheasant I believe – I am not joking when I say that in this field there must have been forty of the little beauties. I have never seen more than one at a time before.
All in all, a nice walk. We saw some history as the title suggests but no mystery, other than the group of flies that seemed to follow us round. We had both showered before the walk so I can only assume that the Lynx Effect also works on insects.
A bumblebee (also spelled as bumble bee) is any member of the bee genus Bombus, in the family Apidae. There are over 250 known species, existing primarily in the Northern Hemisphere although they are common in New Zealand and Tasmania. They are gorgeous little balls of fluff. I love bees.