Wild and Desolate

1066 Harold’s Way Walk 3: Lesnes Abbey to Dartford

Erith.jpg

This is a mixture of the wild and desolate and the urban and industrial, of old paths and new roads, old bridges and new bridges, meandering rivers and canals built in hope, Saxon Manors and concrete architecture. We pass the detritus of modern urban and industrial re-development and the solitude of a Church that figured in history during King John’s reign.

It is a walk that reflects the dreams of men and often their failure, from the monks of Lesnes Abbey who fought to hold back the Thames to the navigators and entrepreneurs of Dartford, building a ship canal that could not cope with the pressure of the tide.

Erith belies its history and its royal connections. Once it shaped England with a Council between King John and the Barons to avoid further civil war and a French invasion. Later, it was to build ‘the greatest ship ever known’, the ship that took Henry VIIIth to France, to ‘the Field of the Cloth of Gold’. Now it is a modern town with little of the past on show. Its closeness to the Thames has left it with factories and depots obscuring the river but Erith leads to the wilderness of the Cray Marshes with the QE2 Bridge soaring above the landscape. Even with power stations, breakers yards and flood defences there is still a beauty about this salt marsh.

The land has been farmed for centuries and at a curve in the River Darent, a path leads to Howbury Manor, less than half a mile away and mentioned in the Domesday Book. It would have stood at the time of Harold and with the Roman road only 1½ miles to the south – perhaps Harold dropped in for a ‘beer or a wine’ with the owner.

Follow the Darent to Dartford with its industrial heritage of paper production and engineering. Although the factories and paper mills have gone under the breakers ball there is now space for new dreams to be fulfilled and the herald of a new age for Dartford.

1066 Harold’s Way is a 100mile long distance walk from Westminster Abbey to Battle Abbey, East Sussex, inspired by King Harold II’s epic march to the Battle of Hastings 1066. The guidebook is available from good bookshops, Amazon, Waterstones, Foyles and by mail order from History Walks.

http://www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

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A Mad March Day, The Wilderness of Cray Marshes

Walk 3 Poster 3

Poster 9/22

Big skies, the long grasses rustle in the breeze, a hint of rain and a welcome relief from an industrial Erith.

All the walks and all the photographs of 1066 Harold’s Way that I have taken over the years, all have their own special memories and a unique quality that encapsulates the experiences of walking 1066 Harold’s Way. From the photographs I have created a series of posters that reflect all that is good about walking 1066 Harold’s Way.

For those who have already walked all or part of 1066 Harold’s Way, I hope that they will bring back memories for you. For those of you who have yet to experience the walk from Westminster Abbey to Battle Abbey, I hope that these photographs will show you what is in store for you along the way, in this anniversary year, after all we will be celebrating 950 years since the Battle of Hasting was fought on Senlac Hill.

David

www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

Lesnes Abbey to Dartford

PHOT0004.JPG  Erith Mud 2 

This is a mixture of the wild and desolate and the urban and industrial, of old paths and new roads, old bridges and new bridges, meandering rivers and canals built in hope, Saxon Manors and concrete architecture.

It is a walk that reflects the dreams of men and often their failure, from the monks of Lesnes Abbey who fought to hold back the Thames to the navigators and entrepreneurs of Dartford, building a ship canal that could not cope with the pressure of the tide.

The wilderness of the Cray Marshes and the QE2 Bridge soaring above the landscape lead to the River Darent and Dartford.

PHOT0007.JPG  Lesnes Heath

River Darent 2  PHOT0012.JPG

Walk 3 label

Download your 1066 Harold’s Way Passport

and collect your ‘walk ‘stickers’.

 

 

 

Catch Southeastern Trains from London Bridge to Abbey Wood, return from Dartford, it is just around 30 minutes each way.

1066 Walks

1066 Harold’s Way is a 100 mile long distance walk, accessible by public transport, devised, created and written to follow King Harold II on his epic journey from Westminster Abbey to Battle. There are castles and battle sites, rivers, streams and valleys to cross, forests to forge and hills to climb, Roman roads, green lanes and ancient foot-paths to walk.

Celebrate the 950th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings in 2016 and walk 1066 Harold’s Way.

In 2017, the second walk, ‘1066 Harold’s Way The Final Journey’, will be published. This will be a walk from Battle Abbey to Bosham that will follow the progress of the funeral cortege of King Harold II after the Battle of Hasting. It is a new 80 mile long distance path that will traverse Sussex from east to west, along Saxon trackways and Roman roads that follows a legend that he was first laid to rest at Bosham, near Chichester. It is a good story and a good walk.

For more information visit:

1066 Harold’s Way 

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Southeastern Trains

1066 Harold’s Way

The Greater London National Park will encourage and inspire people to enjoy all that London has to offer.

The Green spaces link the City to the countryside and 1066 Harold’s Way links Westminster to Battle Abbey, East Sussex.

With 1066 Harold’s Way one of only five long distance trails that start from the centre of London, History Walks and 1066 Harold’s Way support and have contributed to the idea of the Greater London National Park.

I wish the Greater London National Park every success

http://www.greaterlondonnationalpark.org.uk/

1066 Harold’s Way starts at Westminster Abbey and follows the Thames Path to Greenwich and the Thames Barrier before leaving the river and following footpaths through Marryon Park, Marryon Johnson Park, Charlton Park, Plumstead Common, Bostall Woods, Bostall Heath, Lesnes Abbey Woods, Franks Park, Erith Riverside and Cray Marshes to Dartford.

1066 Harold’s Way continues to Rochester, Maidstone and south to Bodiam Castle and Battle Abbey.

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   Label 2  IMGP0613 

PHOT0004.JPG  IMGP0391