Brian’s daughter bought him the 1066 Harold’s Way guidebook some time ago and he has recently been having days out following the route. This is one of his valuable comments.
I have now got as far as Sandhurst and was most impressed by the Loose Valley an area that I had not previously visited but further on there was a particularly difficult section.
At the bottom of page 103 the advice is to ‘follow the waymarked path through the trees and between the ponds’ but unfortunately this path is totally overgrown with nettles, brambles etc. It is only a short section before the horse grazing area is reached but it is virtually impassable. I did eventually manage to battle my way through and I think that I still have one or two scars to prove it! Something needs to be done about that section of path. However having said all that the route through The Weald has been most enjoyable.
Sadly the pub scene has deteriorated since the book was published. Only the Leather Bottle of the three pubs in Cobham was still functioning and a similar story at Staplehurst with only the Kings Head still open and the Hop Bine at Knox Bridge has also closed.
Fortunately the Lord Raglan was still up and running and the Woodcock which I thought was a real gem. As you are probably aware the Bull at Sissinghurst is now known as the Milk House.
I am not sure yet when I will be doing the final section to Battle but am looking forward to the pint in the Abbey Hotel!
The Loose Valley is superb, a real gem so close to Maidstone but it is sad about the pubs closing with The Railway Tavern, Staplehurst a particular loss being so convenient for the Station and we were always made to feel very welcome. They say it is ‘awaiting a new tenant’ so there is always hope.
Looking forward to meeting you in Battle.