A SECRET SANTA OR A GIFT FOR CHRISTMAS.

The Discerning Walker’s Must Have Accompaniment

Pub Guide to 1066 Harold’s Way

Secret Santa Pub Guide v2This guide is what walkers have been waiting for since 1066 Harold’s Way was first published in 2013 – the definitive guide to all those watering holes along the 100 miles from Westminster Abbey to Battle Abbey, East Sussex that now includes the final ten miles to Hastings Castle.

Of course, if these inns and pubs had been open 950 years ago who knows what might have happened. Certainly, the march may have taken a little longer and those battle-hardened reinforcements would have been in position to defeat Duke William and the Normans. Fired up on ‘Spitfire’, ‘Bombardier’ or ‘Harvey’s Best’ they could have taken on the world – or fallen asleep on Caldbec Hill.

Just following this Pub Guide is worth the walk from Westminster Abbey. LOOK INSIDE

 

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More than just footsteps on a path – History Walks, Talks and Books

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This General Has Been Demoted To The Ranks

The Havelock

IMG_20191029_204042

It is now just the Havelock, the General has been demoted back to the ranks although the ranks did appear to be enjoying singing to the juke box and watching the horse racing on one of the many TVs.

Refreshed and re-opened, this renowned heritage pub has an updated appearance that belies its history and thankfully, the Grade 2 listed and protected tiled pictures that make up one wall have been preserved.

In some ways, the Havelock is more luxurious with its light coloured paint, comfy chairs, carpets and wooden flooring but it is early days and with beer at £2.50 a pint, that pristine gloss may soon disappear.

Thankfully for me, there was an alternative to the lager offerings of the two T-bars and the Doomed on handpump in the excellent Tim Taylor’s Landlord. A pint to enjoy with time to savour the tiled picture of the Battle of Hastings.

8.30pm on a Tuesday night was perhaps not the best time to visit the Havelock for a quiet pint, during the day might be better but those tiled wall pictures and the Tim Taylors were worth the visit.

In the fifteen years that I have lived in Hastings, ownership of this historic pub has changed more than once, and it has been closed two or three times with landlords struggling for profitability amidst rising town centre rents. If a juke box, TVs, a fruit machine and a weekly meat raffle keep the old General alive then I will be happy to include this new Havelock in ‘Beer Notes’ and in ‘Pub Walks in Hastings and St Leonards’.

Follow this link to read my original Blog posted in 2017

https://historywalksblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/16/the-general-havelock-to-the-pier-and-back/

The Havelock appears in ‘Pub Walks in Hastings and St Leonards’ and in the soon to be published

Beer Notes to ‘Capital to Coast, the Guide to Walking 1066 Harold’s Way’.

This pub guide is a ‘must have’ accompaniment for the discerning walker on ‘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. 

The Havelock will be No 64 and the final entry in the Beer Notes Guide.

www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

CAMRA WhatPub

‘The clean and commodious village ale house’

The Leather Bottle (33)

Cobham Leather Bottle 3

Cobham will always suffer in that it is far too early in the walk to Rochester to stop for a drink or food. However, visiting the historic church and a look over the church wall at the New College took up enough time to enter The Leather Bottle when it opened at 11.30 and marvel at all the Dicken’s memorabilia on display that cover the walls of every room with Pickwick and Edwin Drood taking centre stage.

Dickens called the Leather Bottle ‘the clean and commodious village ale house’ in which stayed the love-lorn Mr Tracy Tupman of the Pickwick Papers after his rejection by Rachel Wardle.

The inn is said to have acquired its name when, about 1720, a leather-bound bottle containing gold sovereigns was found on the premises. At 11.30 in the morning, the Leather Bottle is largely empty of all the visitors and tourists that come to eat, for almost all the tables are set for food – it is after all, the archetypal English Country Inn of undoubted age, black beams, leaded windows and history. At that time in the morning, I had a coffee but Tim Taylor’s Landlord, Black Sheep and Leather Bottle Best were on offer for those in need of something a little stronger on the way to Rochester.

Distance from path:       On 1066 Harold’s Way

Food: Yes  Accommodation: Yes

54-56 The Street, Cobham, Gravesend. DA12 3BZ        Tel: 01474 814 327

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. The Leather Bottle will be No 33 in Beer Notes

www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

CAMRA WhatPub

The Leather Bottle

TWO JULY DAYS TO REMEMBER – The 1066.run

1066 Harold’s Way is a long distance walk inspired by King Harold’s epic march to the Battle of Hastings, 1066.

100 miles from Westminster Abbey to Battle Abbey, East Sussex to be walked in ten easy stages although King Harold’s men took three days to reach their camp at Caldbec Hill with a camp at Rochester and another possibly at Bodiam by the upper reaches of the Appledore Estuary.

Soldier runningAstonishingly impressive then was the feat of the runners who completed the distance, over the weekend of 6th and 7th July, the fastest of whom ran the 100+ miles in 22 hours with the remaining runners finishing in the next 8 hours.

The 1066.run largely followed the route of 1066 Harold’s Way with the finish line set at the gates of Battle Abbey and as I watched the runners finish their amazing runs, I was not entirely convinced that this modern army would be ready to face the might of Duke William’s men camped across the valley at Telham Hill. Perhaps it would be enough to battle the A21 and Southeastern Trains on the way home.

Congratulations to all the runners who took part on what proved to be a very tough course and made the event a success and to all the support along the route.

My special thanks to Richard Weremiuk and Mark Cockbain of Beyond Marathon Ltd, who organised the event and who have added such great value to 1066 Harold’s Way through waymarking the whole route for the 1066 runners and for the benefit of all future walkers.

If you missed the race this year, there is always next year for the 1066.run promises to be an annual event.

Of course, it is not compulsory to run 1066 Harold’s Way – the route can be walked in those ten easy stages, enjoying the views and the pubs and that special sense of history that is outlined in ‘The Guide to Walking 1066 Harold’s Way’, available by mail order from History Walks.

History Walks                          www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

Beyond Marathon Ltd             www.1066.run

Wipe Your Feet First

The Sir Garrard Tyrwhitt-Drake Visitor Centre and Café

cobtreemanorpark

Cobtree Manor Park

Once the tea and coffee, soft drinks and burgers and the sandwiches were all served from a wooden hut and drunk and eaten on picnic benches outside. No worry about muddy boots or muddy dogs and on good days it was a pleasure.

But when it was damp or there was a cool wind blowing, it was less than relaxing after the climb over the North Downs from Rochester and there was still an hours walk to Maidstone along the Medway River.

Now there is a ‘posh’ new visitors centre and café serving all sorts of treats from things on toast to soup and chilli and when wet, space to sit inside but ‘wipe your feet first’.

It is a good café for dry days and days when children play on the magnificent fort or follow the trails through the park but for muddy walkers it may still be the picnic tables outside!

Cobtree Manor was once the home of Sir Garrard Tyrwhitt-Drake (1881-1964), twelve times Mayor of Maidstone and also a High Sheriff of Kent. The estate housed his private zoo, the largest in the country, and included lions and tigers and bears and elephants. On his death, he bequeathed the estate for the benefit of the people of Maidstone of which part has evolved into the Country Park.

 If you do catch a glimpse of a lion or a tiger, don’t worry, it’s carved from wood.

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. The Sir Garrard Tyrwhitt-Drake Visitor Centre and Café will be No 40 in Beer Notes

www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

Spoilt for Choice

oldmill

Lancaster Bomber, Courage Best, Betty Stogs, Hardy Hanson’s Old Trip and Fuller’s Brit Hop were all on offer this week in the L-shaped Bar of the Old Mill.

The pub was built around an 18th century windmill which still stands aloof above the roof next to Plumstead Common and the Old Mill has an enviable reputation as a good beer and music pub that regularly appears in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide.

The small part carpeted bar is popular with what CAMRA’s WhatPub describes as characterful and conversational locals in residence’ who on warm and busy weekends overflow onto the street outside in high spirits that can cause somewhat of an imaginary barrier to outsiders and as a result, on my Saturday walks, I have never been tempted inside.

It is very much a locals pub.

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. The Old Mill, Plumstead Common will be No 22 in Beer Notes

www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

CAMRA WhatPub

It does what it says on the tin – it’s a Café!

Thames Barrier View Cafe & Information Centre (21) – halfway point

img_20190128_101852At the half way point on the walk between Greenwich and Lesnes Abbey, the Thames Barrier Café makes an ideal stop for coffee and tea and even a snack lunch, warm and cosseted from the river’s winter chill. In summer, the tables and chairs and picnic benches allow time to wonder at those great steel barriers that would swing up from the river bed in times of flood.

The adjacent Information Centre has a working model of the Barrier, films showing inside the Barrier, its machinery and construction, boards on the Environment Agency, flooding and past, present and future of the Thames Barrier and flood defences, but it is not always open.

The Thames Barrier Café does what it says on the tin – it is a café after all with limited opening times. However, it is a welcome break after the Thames Path, before the climb up into a green London courtesy of the Green Chain Walk, especially when there is little opportunity for a ‘loo’ stop or a drink from the Thames Barrier until the end of the walk at Abbey Wood. Be warned.

Open Thursday – Sunday 11.30 am – 3.30 pm (Winter hours)

Thames Barrier, 1 Unity Road, SE18 5NJ                      Tel: 0208 305 4188

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. The Thames Barrier View Café will be No 21 in Beer Notes

www.1066haroldsway.co.uk