A fitting Epic, Tradition and Legend – they could all describe Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House
There is always a surprise to be discovered when walking a new route.
Sections of the map become alive, trees, woods and streams provide a background symphony and paths that meander through history lead to pubs that appear to be forgotten.
Muddy boots left at the door, a fire in the inglenook and a pint that seems like nectar seems like a pastiche of what all pubs should be but those who have walked 1066 Harold’s Way with me can picture that very pub.
In summer, a garden with a view and those cool pints of beer, a lager brewed with champagne yeast or a local cider all serve to take the heat out of the walk, refresh weary legs and stimulate conversation of shared experiences.
But sometimes, the surprise takes a different route.
It is May 2013 and on Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House, just below Sandhurst and walking towards Benenden, there is a vineyard and as I passed from vineyard to hopfield I said hallo to a group of three men, one of which appeared to be in charge of all he surveyed. I wish that I had a longer conversation.
That first time I walked the route they were just comments, words on a page but further research revealed that rather than the grapes and the hops being sent away to an anonymous brewer or winery, they were in fact made into wine and beer locally.
You must imagine that further research was undertaken with more than a little relish.
Sandhurst Vinyards, produce a white, a red and a rose wine and the Sandhurst Beeris brewed from their own hop varieties. Both wine and beer can be bought locally at Johnsons in Sandhurst.
Sandhurst ‘Epic’ proved to be a light refreshing bitter beer and the ‘Tradition’ a darker and less sharp taste.
I later celebrated walking a successful re-route with ‘Legend’, the final Sandhurst beer, a darker beer slightly stronger than the previous two beers at 4.8% but still with that enjoyable bitter after taste and it will become a definite favourite of mine.
Sandhurst Vinyards, of Hoads Farm, Crouch Lane, Sandhurst
Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House Walk 1 Robertsbridge to Benenden Walk Report