The weather was grim when we visited Offham, which probably goes someway to explaining why it has taken me four months to actually post the photos from this walk. It was wet, gloomy and cold. The walk was unspectacular in so many ways but I resolved to blog the whole book so here goes…
The walk itself is fairly flat and at 4.5 miles isn’t the longest. There are *some* nice bits, though they are few and far between. Be warned, the book is not very clear about the beginning, which probably explains why we walked at least half a mile in the wrong direction.
We also managed to get lost near the end. So, there we are. Not the nicest of walks, but that’s life.
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.
It has been a long and lazy winter, so the 50 Walks Project has somewhat taken a back seat to TV, the web and general inactivity. However, the time felt right to venture out again and we chose the Ivychurch walk called ‘Across Romney Marshes’ or number 15 in the book
I have never really spent much time on the Romney Marshes and this walk has done nothing to change my enthusiasm for the place. This is by far the most flat of the walks, which is to be expected as there isn’t even a hint of a hill anywhere on the Marsh, but this also makes the scenery quite bland. Very bland in fact.
Unfortunately the route instructions are not all that accurate either and we guessed at some points which direction to take. The Marsh is also covered in rubbish. Shame, but there you go.
This walk hasn’t put us off though, and we are hopeful that there will still be many more enjoyable routes still to discover. I wouldn’t rush to try this one again. Ivychurch itself is really nice – a pretty little village with a nice church.
Once again this walk took us to a place we have have never heard of. It lies to the south of Brasted Chart, near Sevenoaks. The National Trust property of 200 acres (81 ha) nearby is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It contains the highest point on the Greensand ridge to the north of the Weald. This is as far west in Kent as you can go, pretty much, so we have now done the most easterly and westerly of the walks listed. The name suggested that this walk might be quite hilly and this has been confirmed by my aching calf muscles.
The walk starts in the National trust car park and loops out around Ide Hill and back, with many a hill in between. The walk itself is only listed at 3.5 miles, but we went badly wrong at one point so I suspect it was closer to 4.5 miles by the end.
Being the highest point in Kent does make some stunning views, though this walk probably does not make the most of them. There are some good vantage points but not as many as we had hoped for.
Not the best walk so far, but not the worst. Doing a project like this I suppose you have to take the rough with the smooth and I am sure that there will be plenty more interesting locations to explore.
Some weeks have passed since our last walk; basically life has gotten in the way. Amazingly for a Bank Holiday weekend, the weather started nicely, so we gave my parents a call and decided to try Walk 1: Across the White Cliffs, which basically runs from Dover to St. Margaret’s and back along the Saxon Shore Way, traversing the famous White Cliffs.
I must have misread the AA book as I was convinced this was an easy walk of 4 miles, but in fact it is 5.5 miles with a difficulty rating of 2 (of 3) and proved to be quite hilly. There are alternative paths that are away from the cliff edge and are less prone to peaks and troughs – this was vital on the way back as I hit the proverbial wall and nearly had a snooze to regain both energy and enthusiasm.
The walk starts at the National Trust car park at the start of Langdon Cliffs, which has a great view of Dover docks.
The cliffs were even visible in France as the weather was so nice.
The Coast Guard Station is interesting. From an architectural point of view it doesn’t exactly fit in with rolling fields and chalk cliffs, but I don’t mind the occasional futuristic building.
It is possible to go right to the cliff edge, if you so desire. Personally that sort of thing freaks me out…
… though some people are clearly insane.
The half way point is St.Margaret’s, but just before you reach the village the walk takes you past South Foreland Lighthouse. The National Trust has the following to say about it:
A striking landmark on the White Cliffs of Dover, this beautiful and historic building was the first to have an electrically powered signal and was used in experiments by Faraday and Marconi. Today, visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy views across east Kent and the Channel.
The National Trust continues to graze the chalk downland along the cliff top using Exmoor Ponies. In other areas, where grazing is not possible, a hay cut is taken for the benefit of the chalk downland. It was nice to see some, even if they were right at the end of the walk!
Another great walk all in all. The scenery is stunning (on a good day) and the area is well worth a visit even if you are not doing the full walk. It is a great location just to see how busy the English Channel is. Go, enjoy and look at boats.