Despite the lack of sunshine, and the lack of our walk organiser Peter (who was fighting off germs), the Ockie Road Ramblers turned out in good number to catch the train from London Bridge, with more joining us on route to Staplehurst. There we started our hunt for bluebells and it wasn’t long before we met the first of many locals interested in our activity.
Our first stop was Staplehurst Church, with a lovely church yard, unusual stained glass windows and a slightly frightening sign.
The church is older than the village, and dates back to 1100. After some hunting we found the remains of an anchorite cell. According the the church website, the anchorite “communicated with the church through the round opening in the north wall. The door of the cell was blocked up so that he or she depended for every necessity on the alms left on the ledge in the church.”
We headed off again, and were soon rewarded with our first bluebell sighting.
We also soon came across our first warnings, and sightings, of bulls. But the intrepid group travelled onward…
… and we soon came across a beautiful carpet of bluebells hiding inside a wood.
The next most important objective, after bluebells, was lunch. We placed our lunch ordered from the side of a field – a very impressive feat of organisation. Then we headed to our next stop: St Mary’s Church, Frittenden.
Then it wasn’t too far til we entered the town, complete with it’s very modern garage and found our way to the Bell and Jorrocks.
The pub was very friendly, quite atmospheric and coped well with our large group. Lunch was delicious, and Tony did not disappoint by ordering a crumble with every possible accompaniment.
We came across some guard-ducks (geese?) while we were walking off the pudding, and then our path ran beside an apple orchard with all the trees in blossom.
As was tradition, there was some confusion about the route. This time we had competing digital and paper based maps to guide us, which was lucky as the signage was sometimes a bit worse for wear. But we clearly looked like we knew where we were going as a lovely horse seemed determined to follow us!
It was a lovely walk, beautifully organised by Peter – see you at the next one!
Pictures by Annie and words by Rachel