Walk 1 Robertsbridge to Bodiam Castle
Saturday 29th March 2014
Distance 11 miles
The omens had not been good but with the luck of Harold, and of History Walks, the weather changed to ‘just perfect, not too hot and no rain.
The train drew up to the end of the line at Robertsbridge and discharged a merry band of walkers onto the platform. A welcome for Michael and a surprised James who had succumbed to beer persuasion the night before—well done girls. An extra quarter mile would be added to the walk total for the stroll from the station towards the Seven Stars but no one seemed to mind that early in the morning.
The path from Robertsbridge led over the A21 towards Salehurst and the stepping stones on the path up to the village that were impassable a month ago. Sadly the church was locked so the salamander font will have to wait for another time. On to Bodiam, the stiles have been rebuilt and are not so daunting, a path has been marked through the orchard and the track from the A229 provided an easy walk to
Bodiam Castle and the first real stop with 4 1/2 miles completed. There was still a breeze over the Kent Ditch that cooled hot walkers, and a goat provided some amusement but the track soon turned to grass and began to tire legs. From flat to undulating, up and down, over stiles and up banks, muddy paths through woods and a final climb up to Sandhurst for a picnic lunch on the village green.
It would have been easy to stay watching the world motor by but I was eager to visit the shop to celebrate the first of the Castles with bottles of Sandhurst beer. The rest of the group followed and loaded their treats into the car to collect at the station where few bottles lasted the train journey home to London.
The final leg to led through the hopfields that grew the hops for the Sandhurst beer before the climb to The Woodcock at Iden Green. It is a very special place that restored the body and the spirit for the last mile to Benenden.
It had been a harder 11 mile journey than the 12 miles walked a fortnight, before over the North Downs from Rochester to Maidstone. The lack of clear paths and all the stiles are now just a memory but there were some tired bodies who sat outside The Bull. New 3 Castles passports and stickers were awarded before reviewing transport plans to get back to Robertsbridge station.
Well done Hannah, Gemma, Louise, Lyn, Sharon, James, Jim and Michael.
All the photographs from the walk can be viewed at: