Walk 1 Robertsbridge to Benenden
Wednesday 29th April 2015
Distance: 11 miles
With Mark missing just one walk, this walk, to complete this 50 mile circular walk and receive his certificate, it was only fair that I should walk with him after all he had travelled down all the way from Derby. Similarly, Judy and Daphne missed last year so it was a small and select band that gathered at Robertsbridge with dogs Poppy and Shadow.
True to form, the weather forecast was poor with heavy rain scheduled from around 1pm and the occasional shower in between. Waterproofed against these forecast elements we set off along the lane beside The Seven Stars to cross the A21 to walk to Salehurst.
For the first time, the church was open and I managed to photograph the famed ‘Salamander’ font believed to have been donated by Richard I. The salamanders around the base are now almost worn smooth but the outline can still be seen. There is much history to discover about this large church. Outside, the sheep have yet to do their mowing but gates were still left closed behind us.
Next was a new route to Bodiam Castle, negotiated with little difficulty and as thye sun came out it was getting a little warm.
There was a drinks stop at Bodiam Castle but be warned, the ticket office has now be moved astride the path and over-zealous staff give you the third degree, supposedly checking that you are members and need to show your cards or pay to visit the Castle. It is a public footpath and the National Trust have confirmed that they respect this Public Right of Way and it should not be a problem for walkers. I think that there needs to be some re-training for the ticket office staff on how to deal with walkers using the PRoW.
The former Appledore Estuary restored spirits and we made Sandhurst just after 1 pm, bang on schedule and ate our picnic by the War Memorial. Was that rain? Daphne suggested a coffee in The Swan and we all readily agreed but Mark was persuaded by the Harvey’s Best and I was too as the rain came down outside.
It is a good pub and there is always a warm welcome from Juliet Porter.
What rain? We’d missed it all and continued the walk past the windmill, through orchards, vineyards and hopfields to Iden Green and Benenden.
Mark received his certificate at The Bull, Benenden with stickers given out for Walk 1.
Thank you Daphne, Judy and Mark, Poppy and Shadow, for a good walk.