Sep
2020

Faversham to Whitstable

Walking from Faversham to Whitstable

The walking distance from Faversham to Whitstable is roughly about 10 miles. While heading through Faversham a historic market town in Kent, I felt that I had to come back and just make a day of it. There is so much history in the town, which I didn’t have the time to appreciate. I had a return ticket to Whitstable and that’s where I was heading.

Oyster Bay in Faversham at the edge of the Boat Yard.

 

After a brief walk through the town, we came to a boatyard

I  came across the walk on The Saturday Walkers group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/Saturday.walkers.club

You can find a whole range of walks available to download into PDF

The first part of the walk from Faversham to Whitstable was by far the best. Walking through the old ship repair yard out onto the Creek leading further out onto the swale. The landscape changed, it became remote with only the sound of wild birds and the sight of open sky to keep us entertained.

Old timber in the boatyard.

An old railway carriage is suitably rustic with wild weeds growing into it.

 

Anyone who has read my blogs will know I love old towns and I am especially fond of boats, docks, rivers, and industrial wastelands!

see my blog about the  Excel/ Docklands & Trinity Buoy Wharf

A boat somewhat past its sell-by date lies in the marshy creek broken but still alive as a sculpture in it’s crumbled splendor.

Faversham Creek where the walk really starts.

I love the desolation in this picture, I don’t know why exactly, I think it just feels open and allows the mind to wander- far away from the world of computers, words and rules. Creeks seem to create an atmosphere and I’m sure there are many a tale to be told of adventures and history at Faversham Creek, of which I will explore in my day in Faversham Post later in the year.Two sheep huddled in the bramble, I think they are trying to get some shade; it was unseasonably hot.

A sculpture along the seafront as we head into open sea front at Seasalter near Whitstable.I love this homemade sculpture situated along the sea wall as we walk into Seasalter just before Whitstable

As Andy Warhol said Images are worth repeating. I mention him as I had recently been to his exhibition at The Tate and repetition was his trademark.

 

Arriving at Whitstable

It was hot and the Old  Neptune Bar on the seafront was crowded. We headed off around the back to a bar called The Smack. I wasn’t keen on it as we had to sit in the back garden with the sun beating on our heads. After walking 9 – 10 miles we wanted some shade.  My favorite place in Whitstable is The Handsome Sam, a great bar where you can drink locally brewed, beers, ciders, and wine.

https://www.facebook.com/thehandsomesam/photos/a.946863342010437/1043607299002707

 

Newcastle Upon Tyne In lockdown,

Yet another plan ruined. My next port of call was to visit South Shields, Northumberland, and Kielder forest. A long weekend with a couple of long walks, and catching up with friends and just spending time in the North East which I always find relaxing. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Instead, I have to contend with something closer at home. More on that next month probably in the Kent area.

 

 

 

 

Aug
2020

A DAY OUT IN HASTINGS

Walking from Bexhill to Hastings

I had intended to get off at Hastings and head up to the hilltop to the Castle in Hastings.  That was the plan. On the day, due to the humidity and length of the journey,  (  We had taken the slow train from victoria) and were glad to get off the train earlier at Bexhill on sea, to walk down to the seafront for a straight and flat walk to Hastings.  We still had our day out in Hastings, although we managed to avoid any serious hill walking.

3 figurines, a cyclist, a vocalist, and a cricket batter!!!

I have over the years had loads of days out, walking in hastings with some serious hill walking;as well as  walking from Rye to Hastings- Hastings to Rye and comparing Hastings to london etc, see an old post here.

Hastings/London

Walking along a quiet path by the seafront.

 The castle in the distance. Normally I would be up there straightaway.

 

There are many interesting buildings in Hastings.

I could just do a blog on some of the many interesting buildings. Here is one of an old house near the pub First in Last Out.

 

I love the colour scheme & design of this shop window with the flat above it. 

 

 Hastings pubs

 The first in Last out is an interesting pub, just a little bit off the main high street in the old town. I wasn’t sure how busy the place would be and had eaten a packed lunch on the beach. It did the trick and left enough room to sample a few local beers. The First in Last Out is also a brewery. (FILO)https://www.thefilo.co.uk

The first in last out had a good selection of Germans beers. I didn’t sample the menu on this occasion but will do next time.

It was fairly crowded in the old town, but the pubs managed to control a certain amount of ‘social distancing’. It was too humid to do much walking. At the end of the day, the walk came to about 9.5 miles so not bad

 

Spend more time in the wild

Abbie Barnes has got it together with a team to make videos of some of her wild walking. Going out into the wild has always been my desire but I seem to be destined to fight battles at my place of work, and other such endeavors.

To be fair to myself,( and sorry to those who have heard me bleat on about it.) I had planned to go on a hillwalking retreat in Scotland and it was cancelled due to the corvid situation. I  have been forced to mooch and mope a lot! but somewhere over the rainbow, there is a pot of gold and I am looking out for it.

Funnily enough, part of the Rob Roy walk was very close to the hill walking retreat in an area called,  Balquhidder, Lochearnhead.  last time I was up there I stumbled across Rob Roys’s grave; when out walking!

ROB ROY WALK SCOTLAND this is a rather long video but gives you a good viewing of the area.

Making videos is something I plan to start doing, as complimentary to my blog. A lot of people prefer video to text and I understand that but my blog isn’t strictly about walking, so any video will be a side feature.

 

Over the Rainbow in Wales
I have wanted to go walking in Wales for ages, and a friend of a friend advertised their place on Face book.  A secluded vegetarian/vegan guest house in Cardigan Bay, only 3 miles from the west Wales coast. I need to plan something for next spring. Although Plans seem a bit pointless right now, it’s on the list.

The next walk will be Faversham to Whitstable, I haven’t done this one yet. I have printed out the instructions from The Saturday walkers club website, they can be found on FaceBook.

Until then, a video from the retreat that never was!

 

 

Jul
2020

I want to walk the world!

 

I aspire to walk the world across the hilltops! 

My plan was to start with a hillwalking course in Scotland. I wanted to develop my hillwalking skills and learn more about the great outdoors; skills such as  map reading and as well as perseverance in the face of adversity! My desire to walk the world has gone on hold. It will have to wait! 

The retreat I had planned to go was called Dhanasoka  It is a Buddhist retreat, and located in an old hotel facing a loch. it is a beautiful and tranquil spot.

Beautiful Lake

Increasingly frustrated from all of the cancelled events of the year, I looked for walks closer to home but wanted to walk somewhere new.

 One of the walk leaders in The South Bank Walking Group suggested a route I could do which was not off-limits. A manageable distance from Brixton/Herne hill.

 

Walking from Eynsford to Shoreham (Kent)

Walking from Eynsford to Shoreham Kent.

 

The walk started at Eynsford which is a pretty village in Kent, with a river running through it.

My first observation was that it was popular for cyclists.  One of the Ramblers had emailed me a  summary of the walk-in hand.  The first part was straightforward enough, we found the Roman Villa.

We then forged ahead and came to Lullingstone Castle.

I’m not a big fan of visiting castles but will mention it anyway.  It is a historic family mansion frequented by Henry V11 (he got everywhere that one!) and Queen Anne, it also home of the World of Garden of Plants.

http://www.lullingstonecastle.co.uk

 

Following the walk ‘instructions’! left us perplexed at times.

 

‘follow the path from the centre by going near a hedge, to begin with!’Which path, what hedge? 

We backtracked to Lullingstone Park where we saw the Lavender fields.  At this point, I knew from my brief research that we were about two miles to Shoreham Station. We got there in the end and very lovely it was too. https://www.castlefarmkent.co.uk/pages/visit-us

East Dean to Seaford

Arriving at East Dean village, I headed to the Tiger Inn to use the available loo. The sign in the toilets read, 

“Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday and all is well.” 

I thought it was apt, as my anxiety had been difficult managing and I wasn’t sure about coming down to the coast.  Should I be doing this, aren’t we still in a pandemic? I don’t know anymore, I wore my mask on the train and sat alone.

Walking from East Dean to Cuckmere Valley is the easiest route which includes the Seven Sisters. I still clocked up over 8 miles. The downs were fairly empty, compared to the parks of London anyway. That was a welcome sight 

Sheep far up on the hilltop among the clouds.

Three sitting looking at the view out at the Seven Sisters

 

 It’s an easy walk from East Dean Village to Cuckmere Valley, and the walk includes the ups and downs of The Seven Sisters.

I always feel happy when I have reached Malcolm’s gate, the gateway to the seven sisters cliffs.

 

More Coastal walks

A good stretch for the old legs, and a view for the eyes

Heading back towards Cuckmere Valley

Cuckmere Valley

 

EXCEAT

I have been walking in this area for some years and always been confused as to why some people call the area around Cuckmere Valley, Exceat. Now I understand what they are referring to.  I eventually did my research to see what the story was.

Exceat as a village in East Sussex no longer exists but was located by the Seven Sisters Visitors centre in the Cuckmere Valley, between Friston and Seaford.

Some people still say Exceat for the area where The Seven Sisters Visitors centre! is situated. The village was founded in Saxon times hidden away from the weather in the valleys. The black death & subsequent raids by the French, led to the village being abandoned  & the area became part of West Dean. For more info on the area start with the link below.:

 https://www.sevensisters.org.uk

In my neighborhood

At last some sense from Lambeth council regarding the traffic in my neighborhood.  It has been officially recognised that there has been a 300% increase in speed since COVID 19compared to last year

The council has set up a low traffic neighborhood scheme diverting traffic away from Railton Road and adjourning roads off it. Anyone living in the area is being encouraged to join the action group. This is for a trial period of only 9-18 months and to make it permanent the council must by law, consult with all of us.www.LowTrafficActionGroup.org to join(highly recommended if you want to live in a great area: email: hello@LowActionTrafficGroup.org


Until next time I should do at least one coastal walk in August.

Until then keep on keeping on.

 

 

 

 

Jun
2020

Newhaven to Cuckmere Haven

Venturing out into an eerie uncertain future, starting at Newhaven, we were faced with open space and sea.

We Walked from Newhaven to Cuckmere Haven. Newhaven is an old port town, from there you can take a ferry which crosses the channel daily, over to  Dieppe in France.

As we got to Newhaven Port we came across some very serious looking building work and thought it must be something to do with the ferry service.There is little else there, it is a rundown, industrial port, but I’m sure that is set to change.  I often have to travel to France, and this route might be an option. 

https://www.dfds.com/en-gb/passenger-ferries/ferry-crossings/ferries-to-france/newhaven-dieppe

It wasn’t long before we were at the sea.

 

solo person walks alone

Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away!

I think this is some sort of Sea Lavender, a very vibrant colour.

This yellow plant I’m not too sure about but could be Horseshoe Vetch, or bird’s foot trefoil. After this day, I eventually found an app that can detect the names of flowers, so soon I shall be an expert.

 

Sea kale, I do know of, and I love its strength and beauty; remote and wild.

 

I’m enjoying browsing through the collins complete guide to British Wild Flowers too, it is one of my book choices from last year. See my Reading section

Good Reads

I had to do a double-take here, as from afar I thought it was a monument, the ball of wool is loose with the scissors in the middle! 

 

monument to a knitter!

 

Cuckmere where the river meets the sea.

We walked onwards up to Seaford Point, where we came across a man playing the bagpipes, which is somewhat unusual.!

More usual and not something I was pleased to see was golfers playing up on Seaford Point. I will say no more on that subject for now. 

walking across Seaford cliffs towards Cuckmere Haven

 

After our climb to the top, We then headed down to Cuckmere Haven. At this point, you see The coastguard cottages facing the seven Sisters.

This was an important place for smuggling many years ago. Now it is a few walkers, appreciating the scenery. On this occasion, I gave the Seven Sisters a miss. It is a walk I have done on many occasions but just didn’t feel up to it.

Instead, I spent more time exploring the Cuckmere nature reserve. We saw wild birds such as the grey heron; as well as spring bunnies hopping over the fields surrounding the valley.

Apart from the wind blowing on our face the day out was a well needed welcome escape from the Corona Virus nightmare.

DRYING OUT DOWN AT THE VALLEY;
CUCKMERE

 

I only once tried to cross the foot of the river from Cuckmere beach up to Seaford side The tide was going out, & the water was deceptively fast.

I was leading a group at the time and we had walked down from the Seven Sisters and decided to try the river crossing. We endured walking on loads of stones with fast gushing water whipping our calves, making us lose our balance, stumbling on foot with the stones piercing under our feet, ouch!.

 That was a tough crossing. I have yet to find out what time of day is best to cross! I guess I have to study the tides!! is there no end to my learning?

Cuckmere Valley, the meandering river

 

Returning to London, ‘gas masks’ in hand, made for a strange journey back. Lockdown has released some scary demons but at the same time, reminded me how to slow down and keep it real. 

Until next time, keep on keeping on, however you can.

 

 

May
2020

Short Walks

I’m getting used to doing short walks, nearer home. In some ways, these local walks can work out quite well.

The short walks I have done lately haven’t exactly been unusual, new, or exciting but there are quite a few hills around my area. My humble abode is tucked in-between Brixton Hill, Tulse Hill & Herne Hill, I often walk up Herne Hill through Ruskin Park to my place of work, off Denmark Hill.

Swan among the reeds Brockwell Park

Brixton Market in Lockdown

 

The last short walk I did was from Brockwell Park, up to Gypsy Hill into Crystal Palace to visit the Secret Garden. https://www.thesecretgardencentre.co.uk/

Of course, I miss getting out further afield but those days will come back eventually; the upside is at least I managed to do some painting and writing. My creative urges are crying for attention so I enrolled in an online course called turning your doodles into art, something I have been meaning to do for ages. For more information on their brilliant online courses, check out.

https://www.domestika.org/

SHORT WALKS, in the local area

I can’t pretend I’m thrilled at being in lockdown and not to be able to travel as intended. As all organized walks have been cancelled until further notice, it is out of my control. Instead, I can do short walks, & other stuff that I have been putting off for years. Somehow we need to find the positive out of what could be seen as a stagnant situation!

The only plan I have left in place, that could still go ahead, is a hill walking retreat in Scotland, booked for 3/7. I am really looking forward to that.

A quiet road – somewhere in Scotland

I don’t want to say too much about this upcoming event just yet

The hill walking retreat is based in Scotland, the nearest main station is Stirling. I have only visited once before, on a yoga retreat in 2011.

While I was there on the yoga retreat, I did wander off a couple of times; but without maps and a sense of direction, I didn’t stray far. I’m really looking forward to exploring the area again, this time with a professional hill walk leader.  For further details of the retreat, you can check their website below. Beautiful Lakehttps://www.dhanakosa.com/

I intend to master the Rye to Hastings walk one day.

My plan to lead a joint walk from Rye to Hastings in June this year has been scrapped, due to Lockdown. The plan was to do a practice run on June the 5th and lead the walk on the 20th.

I still have those days booked off, so I could do something else instead- but what?

Below is my blog from September 2012, walking from Rye to Hastings. Since then I have done this walk several times, but only led the walk once and that was not plain sailing. Rye to Hastings walk

Hastings Country Park, bigger than you think

 

I think it will be September before I attempt to do this walk 
again. Below are some pictures from the first time I did this brilliant walk.

Rye to Hastings walk

Hastings

Up and down near Hastings

Fairlight cliffs

 

I await with bated breath for news of a return to normality.