Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘walks around the UK’ Category

When we first moved to the coast in 2016, travelling from London to Broadstairs on the train, past all the stations enroute, I remember being intrigued by the places behind the names, and excited about the possibility of exploring them all….and that was only those north of my destination. I subsequently discovered many more, south of Broadstairs.

sunrise over Viking Bay, Broadstairs
sunrise over Viking Bay, Broadstairs

I have since then been to all of the seaside towns, either by train or when out walking the coastline, as well as to many of the more inland places. They are all awash with centuries of history, and many of these villages, towns and the City of Canterbury, are mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book. It is just phenomenal and I am constantly in thrall to the many layers uncovered during my research.

Faversham, along with Broadstairs, Canterbury, Sandwich and Dover are my favourite places to go….castles, Saints, Normans, Vikings, abbeys, a cathedral, ancient churches, historic houses, medieval houses, famous people and royal visits and tales of smugglers – who could resist!!

chalk cliffs kent, the tartar frigate pub broadstairs, walks of england, coastal walks of england
a network of smugglers tunnels wind their way below ground in Broadstairs

I first met Faversham on my Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales walk in 2017 (as mentioned in a previous blog), and although the memories are of blistered feet and muddy shoes, I still have fond feelings for the place ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

So since I mentioned it briefly yesterday, I thought I should expand on that and tell you more about this ever so fabulous and famous town, a town that missed out on being a city thanks to a small detail….it doesn’t have a cathedral (or a castle for that matter). Oh the semantics…

Faversham; Old English origin, meaning “the metal-worker’s village” lies next to the Swale, a strip of sea separating mainland Kent from the Isle of Sheppey in the Thames Estuary. There has been a settlement at Faversham since pre-Roman times, next to the ancient sea port on Faversham Creek, and was inhabited by the Saxons.

One of Henry VIII’s boats perchance??

Fefresham was held in royal demesne in 811, and is further cited in a charter granted by Coenwulf, the King of Mercia. Coenwulf described the town as ‘the King’s little town of Fefresham’, while it was recorded in the Domesday Book as Favreshant.

Mentioned as Favreshant in the 1086 Domesday Book, Faversham was noted as : King’s land, with 2 salthouses, a mill and a market; a market town and small port.

Faversham was used as a summer residence by the Kings and Queens of Kent, and has many other royal connections; Stephen (1092 or 1096 โ€“ 25 October 1154), often referred to as Stephen of Blois, was King of England from 22 December 1135 to his death in 1154 and was buried in Faversham Abbey. However, during the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1538, most of the abbey was demolished, and the remains of Stephen were rumoured to have been thrown into Faversham Creek along with his consort and son who were buried with him. Subsequent excavations revealed empty tombs when they were opened.

Abbey Street was constructed around 1201 in order to provide an appropriate approach to the abbey from the town, and still houses timber framed buildings; described as “the finest medieval street in southeast England”.

Medieval buildings in Abbey Street

A royal visit by Queen Elizabeth I in 1573

Location of the Guildhall during Elizabeth I’s reign
Current Guildhall – built as a market hall in 1574 by the people of the town and nearby parishes, converted into the Guildhall in 1605

Faversham was established as a link arm to the Confederation of Cinque Ports as the (Limb of Dover).

The Shippe Inn

Other famous people linked to Faversham (besides me, that is ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‰)

Richard Arden, a 16th century mayor, was murdered by his wife and her lover. Nice ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช

There are some fantastic buildings surrounding the market place

Faversham also lies on the old Saxon Shore Way route between Gravesend on the river Thames near City of London and Hastings on England’s south east coast and known for the ‘Battle of Hastings’ which is when William the Conqueror defeated King Harald in 1066. William the Conqueror is responsible for the ‘Great Survey’ of England; the Domesday Book completed in 1086.

The Saxon Shore Way, a long-distance footpath of 163 miles in England, starts at Gravesend and traces the coast of SE-England as it was in Roman times, as far as Hastings in East Sussex. There are a couple of places where the route runs inland; around what was the Isle of Thanet – once separate from mainland England by the River Wantsum, and again on the south coast past Folkestone.

That’s us, the island on the right ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Some 5,000 years ago Thanet was separated from mainland Britain by 600 metres of sea – The Wantsum Channel, it is now connected again since the river/channel silted up some time ago.

When the English Channel was formed by the sea breaking through, an island of chalk was left on the east side of the county – now known as the Isle of Thanet.

The Wantsum Channel today

The SSW follows the creek inland from The Swale and into Faversham and then back out again from the opposite bank and once again follows The Swale and into the Thames river at Gravesend. Since I’ve already walked so many sections of the SSW on my various walks, it makes sense for me to actually do the whole route…one day LOL I mean it’s not like I don’t have about 100 other walks to do and I have LOADS of time on my hands ….as if ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

Faversham is located on the main road between the City of London and Dover and therefore became an important stop over for travellers between the Port of London and the Port of Dover. As a result of this inns were of paramount importance and today you can see and stay at one at least one such…The Sun Inn. Seriously one of my favourite ‘places I stayed’ on my many walks. It had everything I needed after arriving drenched and in pain. A massive double bed, a huge bath and fluffy white towels. Perfect.

the sun inn faversham
The Sun Inn, Faversham – best room and bath ever
The Sun Inn, Faversham - Day 3 Rochester to Faversham
The Sun Inn, Faversham – Day 3 Rochester to Faversham

Faversham truly is awash with history and I could write up so much more, but this is already quite a long post, so for now I’ll just add one more photo

history of faversham
historic buildings of Faversham

Okay, make it two photos LOL – the architecture is so varied that if you’re a fan of architecture you could spend the whole day walking around and still find more to see

architecture in faversham
architecture in Faversham

I’m sure to visit Faversham again when I start the next section of my insane intention of walking the entire English Coast and of course the Saxon Shore Way….now that my interest has been well and truly piqued. I’ll tell you more about it then…meanwhile…

Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to read about my adventures, I really do appreciate your time and support. Have a fab day/afternoon/evening wherever you may be in the world. ๐ŸŒ๐ŸŒŽ๐ŸŒ

In case you’re interested: more about my Canterbury Tales Walk from Southwark Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral (p.s. please don’t feel obliged to read any of them, it’s just in case you’re interested).

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2011/02/20/the-start-of-my-pilgrims-journey-in-the-footsteps-of-chaucer/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/07/06/the-prelude-southwark-to-canterbury/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/07/07/prelude-day-1-southwark/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/07/09/prelude-day-2-southwark-and-the-city-of-london/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2011/03/10/my-canterbury-tales-12th-february-day-1/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2011/03/26/my-canterbury-tales-february-13th-day-two/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/08/03/arriving-in-rochester/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/08/08/day-3-rochester-to-faversham-part-1/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/08/09/day-3-rochester-to-faversham-part-2/

https://notjustagranny.co.uk/2017/08/14/faverham-to-canterbury-the-finale/

Read Full Post »

Really excited to receive my first postcard from my Alps to Ocean virtual challenge today.

1st postcard

I started the challenge on 30 December 2020, walked 115.6 kms so far, and am 1.8 kms ahead of target.ย  I so enjoy reading the information that comes with the postcards; learning about places I never knew existed until I started these challenges.

Oooo…..just keeping ahead.

I was 20kms ahead when I arrived at my current assignment on Monday but if course with limited time and 2 days a write off, I’m going to be hard put to keep up to speed ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

Alps to Ocean, New Zealand

Here I am at Lake Ohau, the third and smallest parallel glacial lake in the Mackenzie Basin that serves as a water storage for the Hydro scheme. It is connected to Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo (the other two parallel lakes) via an artificial canal. Lake Ohau is stunningly located between The Barrier mountain range to the west, Ben Ohau range to the east and Naumann range to the north which lies between Hopkins and Dobson rivers that feed into the lake.

This turquoise blue lake is a perfect environment for both powered and non-powered activities. Although at the height of summer the temperature reaches a mere 60ยฐF (15ยฐC) any swimming enthusiast wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity for a crisp splash in the lake. Luckily for me the weather was in my favour and I went for a brisk swim before starting my onward journey. However, I did hear that any sailor or windsurfer on the lake must be mindful of the northerly winds as the water gets choppy very quickly.

It might be debatable what’s considered a national dish in NZ, perhaps fish and chips or perhaps a gourmet meat pie. No matter, my choice was the traditional piping hot meat pie encased in a crispy pastry. This humble meat pie has been part of NZ’s cuisine since 1863 when the early British settlers brought it to NZ’s shores. It’s the perfect size to be eaten with one hand whilst chugging their popular Lemon & Paeroa soft drink with the other. The soft drink’s history goes way back to 1907 when it was originally manufactured in the town of Paeroa by combining lemon juice and carbonated mineral water.

After my finger-licking good pie and L&P hydration, I set off for what was to be the hardest part of the journey. The first 3.5mi (6km) was an easy section as I traversed the lower slopes of the Ohau range across several creeks before I found myself on a narrow track and a sustained climb of about 2.5mi (4km) to the highest point of the trail at 2,952ft (900m). Not that I particularly trusted that I was at the highest point for a while since all along there were several “false summits” where the trail appeared to reach the highest point to then discover that there was more upwards winding to go. During the winter months part of this upward climb proves to be even more hazardous as it becomes part of an avalanche path.

Reaching the top was quite the accomplishment but given its exposure and strong winds I spent little time admiring the view and started my descent. If I thought the climb was a challenge the steep descent with its tight steep bends was even more ghastly for the next half-mile or so.

The rest was a rolling descent crossing several streams. Clean drinking water could be collected at these streams enabling me to top up my bottles. The track joined with Quailburn Road and for the remainder of my journey I travelled beside Quail Burn River first to the west of me and once I crossed it to the east of me, almost like a constant companion, until we parted way with the river flowing into Ahuriri River and me rolling into Omarama for the night”.

Well, it sounds like I had a good time ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ However, I’m not sure about the meat pie I ate ๐Ÿฅง ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ since I’m vegetarian, but ๐Ÿคซ๐Ÿคซ we won’t tell anyone. As for the “false summits” and descent of the Oahu range…that reminds me somewhat of the many false summits and descents I made in Spain along the Camino. ๐Ÿฅด๐Ÿฅด๐Ÿฅด

So far along this challenge I’ve walked from Ramsgate to Faversham over a few days and 3.5 days in Throwley. I wonder where else my journey will take me!!

Read Full Post »

My latest assignment has not taken me too far afield this time and I find myself in the depths of Kent. Not too far from where I’m located are villages familiar to me; Charing for instance….I stayed there on my pilgrimage to Canterbury in September. ๐Ÿ™‚ so that’s been a fun discovery. I am of course familiar with Faversham having stayed there in 2017 during my Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales walk from Southwark Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral, as well as which I finished my latest stretch of the English coast there last Saturday – from Whitstable to Faversham. The Sun Inn; 14th century inn, was the perfect place to stay and I’d love to stay there again sometime.

the sun inn faversham
The Sun Inn, Faversham – 14th century inn with the best room and bath ever

However, the house where I’m working is toooo far from Faversham for me to do any proper exploring, but I have a few country roads I can follow and so far I’ve had 2 good days to get out and about. Of the 5.5 days I’ve been here so far, 1,5 produced rain and 2 produced fog…so I’ve only managed 2 proper walks since arriving on Monday 4th. The sun looks like its burning through the fog so hopefully tomorrow will be a good day for walking.

foggy day in kent
a foggy day in Kent

In the meantime the two walks have unveiled some gems as far as churches are concerned and some amazing houses…..some of which date back to the 15th century. In fact the house I’m working in was built in 1435!!! It’s pretty awesome with some fabulous beams and a huge fireplace. The floors are really wonky and sink in the middle and without heating, its VERY cold!!! I’ll let the photos do the talking

country walking
the long and winding road…..
first world war throwley airfield
Throwley Airfield 1917-1919
the old school house
The Old School 1873-1935
houses at Throwley Forstal

Although I haven’t been able to get out that much, I have walked far and wide, clocking up 16.3 kms over 2 days. Its something of a challenge to find different routes when you’re limited to long stretches of road and a 2 hour break. If I had longer, I’d walk to Faversham for sure. It’s only 5 miles away but would take 1hour 35 minutes to walk there and no time to return before my 2 hours is up!!

I have though seen 2 beautiful sunsets and enjoyed the lengthening shadows of the graveyard. Hopefully tomorrow will bring fine weather so I can get out again…

p.s. there may be a problem with the photo galleries…..if there is I will fix them later…..they look fine via my computer, but on my phone there seems to be an issue….sorry for that.

Read Full Post »

Following on from my recent walk from Margate to Whitstable via Reculver, researching the Roman fort uncovered the information that Reculver too had been mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ Roculf: Archbishop of Canterbury. Church, mill, 5 salthouses, fishery.

To say I was delighted would be an understatement. Updating my Project 101 page brought the tally to the grand total of 150!! Hoorah. https://notjustagranny.co.uk/project-101/project-101-domesday-book-towns-villages/

By no means a huge number, and considering that 13,418 (settlements) : cities, towns, villages and hamlets are mentioned….150 is not that many, but it’s way more than most have visited.

It’s still astounding to discover that many English people who have grown up in the country, have no idea of its existence.

1086 is only one of the most significant dates in English history following on from the 1066 Battle of Hastings, and yet…..

My original intention was to visit 101, but it seems that my travels and my job will take me to many more than I anticipated.

I’ve wanted to walk to Reculver from Broadstairs ever since we first visited the place some years ago, but never seemed to find the time, it also did not seem doable. But now with my crazy decision to walk the entire English coast over the next 5 years, it became doable ….๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ and in comparison to the distances I’ve since covered on my various walks, it was easy peasy

When I set off from Margate last week I could see the ruins of the church farrrrr away in the mists of time and remember thinking ” oh gosh, it’s so far, will I be able to do it ?” But it was easier than expected, and voila

St. Mary’s Church, Reculver

St Mary’s Church, Reculver, was founded in the 7th century as either a minster or a monastery on the site of a Roman fort at Reculver, which was then at the north-eastern extremity of Kent in south-eastern England. In 669, the site of the fort was given for this purpose by King Ecgberht of Kent to a priest named Bassa, beginning a connection with Kentish kings that led to King Eadberht II of Kent being buried there in the 760s, and the church becoming very wealthy by the beginning of the 9th century. Ref wikipedia

Will this too be eaten by the ever encroaching sea
A Roman fort, now long gone
The remains of the Roman wall, and where the fort once stood

It’s a fascinating place and I’m certainly going to follow up on more of the history and I feel another visit is warranted. I noticed on my way to Reculver that there is a walk along the River Wantsum; which once cut off the Isle of Thanet from the mainland.

The River Wantsum

I ๐Ÿ”ฎ another walk in the future ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ˜„ except it will not be in winter!! And I’m not walking across any mudflats….more of that later ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช

Can you see my folly?

More about Project 101 https://notjustagranny.co.uk/project-101/

Read Full Post »

Well, would you just look at that!! Just over 24 hours to go (UK time) and we say goodbye to 2020. I can hardly believe it.

Not that the new year, 2021 is going to start off very well at all with now 8 in 10 people in the UK going into tier 4 and virtual lockdown. Although 2020 didn’t do too well at all, 2021 is not going to get off to a very good start.

To say I’m peeved at our useless government would be an understatement because tomorrow brings the double whammy of the final twist of the Brexit knife and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic to really give this year a bad name. And do I believe our feckless PM when he spouts out his nonsense about having got a good deal?? No. I do not.

Meanwhile I, like millions of others, am trying desperately to keep my head and not fall into the pit of despair at the way life seems to be spiralling out of control. To that end I’m not watching the news nor reading the papers and still off Facebook. I am however spending quality time with my family and walking….walking and walking. I’m also grateful to still have work.

Although I only started in April, having the Conqueror virtual challenges has been a bit of a life saver really because keeping up with my targets gets me out, and the walking, which I love, keeps me sane.

I’m nearly at the end of the 2020 challenge and yesterday I completed the Mt. Fuji challenge after a fantastic walk from Margate to Herne Bay 22.18 kms. Although it was bloody freezing, I thoroughly enjoyed the walk and was not only surprised at how quickly I walked the distance, but also at how easy it was.

I’ve long wanted to walk from Broadstairs to Reculver after visiting the Roman site a few years ago, so it was absolutely thrilling to finally make the journey, albeit only from Margate. Except for one very short section, there is a promenade/footpath and the sea the whole way. The final section to Herne Bay was a breeze…literally and figuratively. I nearly froze ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ it was so darn cold – at one stage I was sucking my thumb just to get some warmth back into it.

Fortunately the cafeteria at Reculver was open so I stopped for 15 minutes to rest my feet and warm up with a hot chocolate and a yummy caramel fudge brownie…delicious.

Herne Bay is a fascinating place with so much history, not all of it good. But they do have some fantastic fish and chips shops….๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ I have to give a shout out to Gary of EKS Office Equipment in Herne Bay for not only agreeing to charge my phone (for free) but also allowed me to sit in a corner of the showroom to eat my chips while I waited. It was very much appreciated.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed the walk, despite the cold, the saddest sight was the vast amount of plastic pollution that quite literally lined the whole 22kms….I could have filled 50 black bags and still not cleared it all. Its terribly painful to see all that pollution.

So as the year comes to an end, I have one final day of walking to do to finish my 2020 km challenge. Its been a most satisfying pastime and I must thank my daughter for introducing me to the Conqueror Virtual Challenges….thanks to that I have improved my fitness levels, walked extensively in areas I would likely have not except for wanting to meet the challenge of the challenges ๐Ÿ˜‰ and I’ve inadvertently accumulated way more medals than I had planned. Its been a fairly expensive hobby, but so much fun.

I’ve started on the Alps to Ocean, NZ challenge and hopefully tomorrow I’ll complete another decent distance as my final walk for 2020.

Other than that, I have finally found a suitable place to rent. Went to look at a room last night….and as Goldilocks said “it’s just right ” and I’m saying “It’ll do Pooh” ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ It’s not a huge room, but it’s on the top floor, its spacious, it has cupboards, and a bed, and a skylight for summer nights, and a desk for my books and computer and MOST importantly, the landlord said Jamie can visit. So HOORAH!!! after 18months I’ll have a place to go ‘home’ to. I’m feeling quite emotional. It means I can get my clothes out of storage, and my books and Jamie’s toys and my amazing South African mattress. I can brighten it up with my own bed linen and pictures and bits and bobs.

Today we had a photoshoot done. The fab photographer of @createdwithlightphotography on Instagram did the shoot for me with my gorgeous grandson. We had lots of fun and then had hot chocolate to warm up, because of course it was freezing on the beach. โ˜ƒ๏ธโ˜ƒ๏ธโ˜ƒ๏ธโ˜ƒ๏ธ

Me and my boobee ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ

Tomorrow, weather depending I’ll walk from Ramsgate to Margate one last time before I tackle the next section of my own challenge….to walk the whole of the English coast within next 5 years.

Cheers folks, thanks for reading along with me. In case I don’t get to write a post tomorrow, although I probably will, I wish you all a VERY safe, healthy and wonderful New Year.

Read Full Post »

The highways and the byways of England. Personally I’m not a fan of stiles, some of them are murder to get over, especially when carrying a heavy backpack, and most particularly towards the end of the day… and I’ve often just sat down on the sticking out part and refused to budge ๐Ÿ˜–๐Ÿ˜–๐Ÿ˜–

Country walking… a place to sit??

But eventually I have to just get on with it and drag myself over.

Country walking – albeit different it’s not a favourite ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช

Now, give me a kissing gate and I’ll be happy…even though some of these are so narrow I have to take my backpack off and sling it over separately – at least I don’t have to climb over it.

Country walking – a kissing gate ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜˜

Unfortunately, if you’re going to be daft enough to go traipsing across the country, there is no doubt that you are indeed going to encounter more than your fair share of stiles…

Now this is more my ‘style’ – sorry couldn’t resist the pun ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

Read Full Post »

I’ve had some amazing walks the last few years since moving to the east coast. The scenery along the Thanet coastline is really beautiful, especially at sunrise on a clear day, and then sunset. You can catch a gorgeous sunrise from Broadstairs or Ramsgate, and if it’s a good day, an equally gorgeous sunset from Pegwell Bay or Margate. I’ve been known to rush over to Margate to catch the sunset or a quick walk to the cliffs above Pegwell Bay.

Sunrise in Broadstairs
Sunset over Pegwell Bay

I’ve always loved walking. As a young girl, in my 20s’ when I lived in Hillbrow Johannesburg, I used to spend the whole of Sundays just walking around the suburbs for hours on end. I used to walk to work every day, up the hill and down the other side….right up until I was 8 months pregnant, and then my boss wouldn’t allow me to walk anymore and insisted one of the staff take me home by car and collect me the next day.

I lost my walking after my daughter was born and my husband bought me a car. By then it wasn’t that safe to walk alone anyway and I got lazy.

When I arrived in the UK, my love of walking was reignited. I lived in Dublin, Rep. Of Ireland for 6 months and my sister, brother-in-law and I used to walk everywhere, especially on weekends when we’d head out to Dรบn Laoghaire or Glendalough and the Wicklow mountains. In fact we travelled to so many places, I’ve quite forgotten all but the most memorable. I do remember though being able to walk home from Dublin to Monkstown late at night and never feel unsafe….and my love walking,  freedom really, was reborn.

I remember one weekend when we walked across country from Waterford city to PassageEast in the County of Waterford, took the ferry across the River Barrow to Ballyhack Lower in County Wexford, then walked to Arthurstown and onto Duncannon…and in reverse the next day. One of the many fun excursions from my 6 months there.

A walk across country in Rep. Of Ireland

On most of my overseas trips since, I’ve invariably planned a 10 day stayย  and walked….everywhere, and included a day trip to another destination. When I visited Venice I literally walked around all the accessible islands and usually started at 8am and walked till late at night exploring every nook and cranny. Actually, after Ireland, Venice was my very first trip to Europe and albeit terrified, I loved every minute.

I’ve since walked 80%+ of the streets in the City of London….much of my free time was spent exploring every court, lane and street, and I walked a fair amount of the City of Westminster too. When we still lived in Richmond, I often walked along the Thames riverbank, either downstream to Kew Gardens or upstream to Kingston and even Hampton Court. Even in the snow ๐Ÿ˜‰

When we moved to Broadstairs we used to walk along the beach to Ramsgate. I always thought it was quite far, but its actually only just over 3kms. Now that I frequently walk in excess of 20kms and occasionally as much as 35kms, it seems absurd that I thought 3kms was far ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

During my last stay, I walked along the beach from Ramsgate to Stone Bay and back, and one morning I enjoyed a sunrise walk to Viking Bay…of course I stopped off at The Old Bake House and bought a take-away coffee and my favourite pastry; an almond croissant then sat on a bench on the promenade to enjoy my treat.

Its such a stunning section of the coast and offers much of interest to see. Stretch your legs and walk to Margate… fantastic route, especially along the beach.

No hardship walking in this environment

A few weeks ago I decided to walk to Sandwich (for the 3rd time) in order to increase my mileage for the Conqueror 2020 Challenge.ย  Somewhere along the way I hatched the insane idea of walking the whole of the English coastline….I know…bring on the strait jacket. I blame it on the moon ๐Ÿคญ๐Ÿคญ๐Ÿคญ I’ve walked as far as Dover so far. Of course Covid-19 has held back my horizons, but I’m hoping to get out more frequently in 2021.

Crossing the White Cliffs of Dover

I love walking and one of the benefits of my job is that I get to travel all over England, often times to places I’d never heard of…and then I walk…

Old disused railway line in Lewes

But my walking got a real sense of seriousness when I started training for the Portuguese Camino in 2017, and started following the #walk1000miles challenge in 2016. That really got me going. I struggled at first to get into walking daily, bought my first pair of walking poles (still have them ๐Ÿ˜„), a decent pair of walking shoes (asics) and I’ve never looked back, now I find it difficult to not get out for a walk on a daily basis and get quite tetchy if my walking is interrupted ….๐Ÿ˜‰

Stunning coastline between Deal and Walmer.

Show me a path and I’ll walk it….

Read Full Post »

When Danny Boyle incorporated those famous words; our green and pleasant land into the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, he must have been talking about the hills of the South Downs….

“The aerial photograph reveals a pretty maypole, water mill, orchard and pasture inhabited by 70 grazing sheep. A village cricket green, orchard and farmers’ cottage complete the entrancing scene”. Extract from Daily Mail.

The only thing missing from my walk today was ‘a pretty maypole’ and I saw a windmill rather than a watermill.

I decided to spread my wings today and cross the downs to the little hamlet of Kingston. It looked close on the map, and unusually for me I didn’t do a distance calculation…. decided to just go.

It was a LOT further than I expected, but it was fabulous. The downs really are just beautiful and the green fields literally spread from horizon to horizon….as far as the eye can see.

I whizzed on down the now familiar route of Rotten Row past the non-existent Winterbourne Stream, left into Bell Lane and hung a right at the Swan Inn, and right again onto Juggs Lane.

Juggs Lane

A real country lane, narrow and lined with grass verges and trees, and hedgerows. I passed the occasional house nestled amongst the trees, and driveways leading to hidden houses, and soon crossed the motorway farrr below. The views across the valley to the east were spectacular and in the distance I could see the white cliffs above Cliffe, the Lewes Golf Course and the chalk downs where I walked last week.

I walked across those white cliffs last week

Autumn is truly here now and showing her fabulous colours. The road crossing the bridge and up the hill was of course metalled, my least favourite surface for walking. A group of cyclists whirled by, a mix of old and young – the youngest probably about 5 years old….a brilliant road for learning to ride safely.

Autumn, my favourite season

But soon I left that behind as the road became a sandy track beneath a tunnel of trees….the wind was howling through the tunnel like a freight train, the branches creaking and cracking with the strain. Passing a couple of orchards and definitely a few cottages one of which had horses and free range chickens.

Absolutely fantastic. It felt just wild!!

The path went on for quite some way and then through a gate and onto the rolling green fields….a green and pleasant land…..

I was completely on my own and the sense of freedom and wildness as the wind tried to sweep me off my feet was exhilarating. I can quite see why Julie Andrews ran and ran singing “the hills are alive…” and all that. But this girl doesn’t run (unless her life is at stake ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ) so I just thought about it. And I definitely wouldn’t give up the day job to sing….

Mind you, I pretty much flew across the field with the assistance of the wind and soon realized that I had possibly miscalculated the distance relative to my free time of 2 hours….that field went on and on and on. And the wind howled like a dervish

Howling like a dervish ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

To my excitement I spied a windmill (not a watermill but good enough) in the distance, the arms stationary without sails, but I could just imagine how fast they’d be whirling with the force of the wind.

A windmill ๐Ÿ˜€

I finally reached a farm gate and checking my app saw that I was near the road that leads into Kingston. Within 5 minutes of walking I was there. A quick visit to the 13th century ‘St Pancras Church of Kingston near Lewes’. Beautiful little church but again closed. I wish himself Archbishop whatshisname would pass on some of the wealth hidden in the vaults of his church and send some money to these parishes so they can afford to open up these amazing little churches and have them cleaned according to Covid-19 standards after visitors.

St Pancras Church of Kingston

By now 1 hour and 10 minutes of my break had passed so a dash of speed was needed. Finding the ‘finger’ post (really? That’s what they’re called?!) opposite the pub as directed by a local, I was soon wending my way along a ‘twitten’!! Yes, that’s exactly what he called it, and yayyy me, I knew what he meant ๐Ÿ˜‰ Its so weird hearing locals talk about the twittens. I’ve travelled extensively in England and the UK as a whole, and I’ve literally never heard the word before, but I shall never forget it, and may just introduce it to some other areas of the country – twitten sounds so much more romantic than ‘lane’. Not to be rude about lanes or anything but….

A twitten in Kingston

Said local man suggested it should take me no more that 30 minutes to get back to Lewes and he was spot on.

After leaving the twitten behind me I crossed an enormous field and in the distance I could see the grazing sheep and cows…thankfully in the distance..

Then through a very smelly and muddy farmyard. I think it takes a certain type of person to cope with muddy yards. It would drive me crazy and I’d be constantly trying to clean it up ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช

From there I crossed a narrow road and onto a cycle path. Hoorah for cycle paths. This one took me nearly all the way into Lewes but at the cricket field I turned off the cycle path and onto a far prettier and more pleasant bridle path.

The bridal path

Suddenly I was on familiar territory having walked this way a couple of times now and soon passed the Priory and then left into Southover High Street, past Anne of Cleves House and the stunning Manor House

Manor House

Then right at the Swan Inn, right into Rotten Row, and left into the High Street.

Swan Inn, Lewes

8.94kms, and 1:59:16 – I arrived back at work with 44 seconds to spare ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ total number of steps 13365 : elevation 111 meters….enjoyment; immeasurable.

Another fantastic walk done and dusted. I love seeing different parts of the country and always try to visit somewhere other than where I’m working. I’ve explored Lewes thoroughly now and beyond an outstanding visit to the castle (Saturday hopefully) and my still unaccomplished walk downstream of the river and the walk along the disused railway track, I think I’ve seen pretty much all of Lewes and then some.

But I still have 9 days here so I forsee a few more interesting explorations in my future

Mapmywalk
A short compilation

Read Full Post »

Fantastic discovery today. I set off during my break, determined to find the river path. Instead I found Lewes Priory….or should I say, the ruins.

Lewes Priory

Like 99% of all the abbeys, monasteries, and priories in the country, Lewes Priory also fell foul of Henry VIII’s foul temper!!

Seriously, if I could go back in time, I’d go back to the mid-16th century and give him another whack on the head, maybe knock some sense into the man.

Imagine if he hadn’t destroyed all these amazing buildings, what magnificence we would see today.

But sadly we have to be satisfied with exploring the ruins and trying to imagine what they must have been like. But at least there are some remains to be seen. So little respect was shown for the historical value of the priory that the modern railway was run right over the chapter house. Listed as a Grade 1 building, it seems we have a little more regard for important places these days (although HS2 puts the lie to that ๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿคจ)

In the 11th century, monks traveled from Cluny in France to establish the first Cluniac priory in England. The Priory survived for 450 years until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1537.

A number of interpretive boards give you an idea of what the Priory would have looked like and show snippets of how the monks lived and worked. A herb garden has been recreated, replicating the gardens worked by the monks.

Its fascinating to see how thick the walls were built.

The Helmet Sculpture by Enzo Plazzotta, erected in 1964 to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Lewes in 1264, is absolutely stunning.

The Helmet Sculpture

The Battle of Lewes

For a more detailed history of the Priory here’s the link to the main page https://www.lewespriory.org.uk/history-overview

And in case you were wondering….. Cluny is a commune in the eastern French department of Saรดne-et-Loire, in the region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comtรฉ. It is 20 km northwest of Mรขcon. The town grew up around the Benedictine Abbey of Cluny, founded by Duke William I of Aquitaine in 910. Ref wikipedia

Lewes Priory is a must visit if you’re in the area or perhaps walking the South Downs Way ….take a small diversion and visit the town, there’s so much to see.

Read Full Post »

I recently arrived in Lewes for my next assignment (the benefit of working as a Carer is that although I’m away from home a lot, I get to visit some amazing places.

The day after I arrived I set out to explore and noticed that some of the lanes were named ‘twitten’ like Church Twitten for example. So i visited wikipedia and did some research – A distinctive feature of the centre of Lewes is the network of alleyways or ‘twittens’ which run northโ€“south on either side of the High Street and date back to Anglo-Saxon times. According to the Dictionary of the Sussex dialect and collection of provincialisms in use in the county of Sussex published in Lewes in 1875 “Twitten is a narrow path between two walls or hedges, especially on hills. For example, small passageways leading between two buildings to courtyards, streets, or open areas behind”. Some twittens (e.g. Broomans Lane, Church Twitten, Green Lane, Paine’s Twitten) remain flint-wall-lined pedestrian thoroughfares, others (e.g. Watergate Lane, St Andrew’s Lane and renamed Station Street (formerly St Mary’s Lane) are now narrow usually one-way roads. The most notable of all Lewes’ twittens is Keere Street. A weekly Sunday morning run up and down all the twittens on the south side of the High Street โ€“ the so-called Twitten Run โ€“ has operated in the town since November 2015.

Hmmmm….tell me more. I love a good challenge and of course I’m currently following the Inca Trail virtual challenge so I did some planning and on Sunday during my break I decided to walk all the ‘twittens’ – I managed to walk along most of them and on Monday I walked the rest.

Along the way I discovered amazing places and hidden gardens. The twittens all run downhill, so there was a lot of downhill and up hill walking to be done LOL

First I walked along Rotten Row past the old Toll House from when the town was gated and near to where the Westgate was originally located – it’s no longer in existence unfortunately. I walked right to the end past the Lewes cemetery and left into Bell Lane and then left into Southover High Street where I passed the Anne of Cleves house, sadly closed atm due to Covid-19. There a number of wonderful old houses/buildings dating from the 14th and 15th centuries.

Still following Southover High Street I walked passed Southover Gardens and up to Bull Lane (off Southover Road).

From there I walked up Paines Twitten to the High Street then right and down St Swithun’s Terrace. Left again into Bull Lane and left into Green Lane up to Stewards Inn Lane where I turned right and then right again into St Martin’s Lane. Downhill all the way to Southover Road and then left into Watergate Lane uphill to the High Street. A lengthy walk later I turned downhill into Walwer’s Land and left into Friars Walk and after a quick visit to the church; All Saints,

I turned left into Church Twitten and uphill once again to the High Street. Last turn right into Broomans Lane back to Friars Walk and then back to the High Street and home…5.55 kms.

The following day I walked a total of 4kms to finish walking all the lanes and twittens.

Lewes is seriously cool and I wish I had planned to stay overnight for recreational purposes ๐Ÿ˜ƒ Maybe next time.

Meanwhile I have plenty more exploring to do, there are some fantastic dedicated walks and circular walks in the area. And so much history to discover….

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Cafe Catalina

Life, as told by the caffeine-fueled Cat Ramos

Wake up!

Operation Get A Life

40thousandkm

: around the world :

Dining with Donald

Donald on Dining in and Out.

Laura Bruno Lilly

The road ends, but the journey continues...

Wet and Dusty Roads

Camino stories & other journeys

Roman Life - Food, fountains and fabulous Romans

An authors tales and travel advice to inspire, inform, and help create your Roman experience https://www.amazon.com/author/brontejackson

Londiegan

A Londoner and a San Diegan

The A to Z of Travel

The encyclopaedia for global travellers.