History Walks, Talks and Books by David Clarke – more than just footsteps on a path. Inspiring, exploring and discovering unique walks with a sense of history. Long walks and short walks, there’s something for everyone.
3 Castles and the Ironmaster’s House
A 50 mile circular walk around the history of Wealden Kent and East Sussex. A journey between Bodiam Castle, Sissinghurst Castle, Scotney Castle and Batemans.
This Bird is dead, deceased, gone to meet its Maker.
The Woodcock is no more.
What sad tragedy it is that walkers will never feel the warmth again of the fire on winter walks or sit in the garden on a summer’s day.
Isolated and weather boarded, remote down its country lane that led to Dingleden and little else, it was supported and enjoyed by all who discovered its charms.
It was always a walk leader’s nightmare for every group would want to stop and savour its delights and bang their heads on the beams inside. The Woodcock sat by the footpath from Sissinghurst to Bodiam Castle and I found its charms irresistible when researching and walking both 1066 Harold’s Way and Three Castles but now the doors are shut and its lease for sale.
It was once a freehouse and served as a ‘gentlemen’s club’ for the owner, who delighted in serving Goacher’s excellent beers and food to satisfy, but he retired around four years ago and Greene King became the owners, offering a tenancy and a beer tie for dreamers.
The rest is history but its reputation will continue with the hope that the Woodcock will fly once again to the delight of every walker who passes by.
Beer Notes will be published in 2019 as a ‘must have’ accompaniment for the discerning walker on ‘Walking 1066 Harold’s Way’ – the long-distance walk from Westminster Abbey to Battle Abbey and Hastings Castle inspired by King Harold’s epic march to the Battle of Hastings 1066.
Three Castles is an opportunity to take the time to explore the castles and houses and towns and villages along the route. It follows man’s ingenuity and progress and a changing industry from agriculture to iron, to sheep, to the woollen trade, smuggling, hopfields and back to agriculture. Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House will take you on a picturesque and enjoyable tour of the High Weald – without getting mud on your boots.
Thank you to the Friends of Dover Museum who gave me a warm welcome and who were happy to listen to my illustrated talk on Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House on Wednesday 8th June 2016 in the wonderful Silver Screen Cinema attached to the Museum.
Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House is a 50 mile journey around the history and industry of the High Weald of Outstanding Natural Beauty with the four great National Trust properties of Bodiam Castle, Sissinghurst Castle, Scotney Castle and Bateman’s being the cornerstones of the walk.
It is a story of agriculture to iron and back to agriculture and is inspired by stories of Castles, follies, smuggling, Captain Swing, the mechanical riots and that ‘vengeful fire breathing dragon’ that lives in Angley Wood.