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Temptation: The Woodcock Flies Again

IMG_20190719_124745 (1).jpg

Temptation, that desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise. It can also suggest that it can be a thing that attracts or tempts someone suggesting enticement, seduction, a draw or a pull or equally an invitation.

And that to me sums up The Woodcock, a walk leaders’ nightmare, the pub that no one wants to leave.

But it closed in 2018 and appeared doomed, never to fly again but like a phoenix it has arisen again and it re-opened its doors in April 2019.

On 1066 Harold’s Way, there are still 6 miles to walk to Bodiam Castle, uphill and down dale and across the Kent Ditch. King Harold and his men walked this stretch but The Woodcock wasn’t open then. And when planning Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House, I made sure that the route passed The Woodcock after all, I get to choose the route.

The good and righteous of Iden Green realised what a draw the pub would be and banished it a mile away from the village, down a narrow country lane that led to Dingleden but the villagers I spoke to know the back way – just 5 minutes down this path and on the route of 1066 Harold’s Way, and I followed their admission.

The 2019 version of The Woodcock has been refreshed rather than altered beyond recognition. A couple of walls have disappeared, some of the nooks and crannies have gone, the new bar is sleek and bright, the fire is lit and the floors levelled ready for the success that eluded the Woodcock of old.

Once it felt like an old and comfortable pair of slippers where the slightly dark atmosphere and the warmth of the fire and the conviviality of old men at the bar promised times past until Greene King’s accountants became the owners.

Mind your heads, the beams are low there’s a fire lit and on warm days, there is a garden to enjoy. It is a free house again and beers are Cellar Head Amber, Long Man Best, Harveys Best, all on handpump and well kept.

There is still an old world feel but it is without ornamentation and just a little of that old warmth that catered for the mind, body and spirit has gone – perhaps a wider market beckons for The Woodcock although a television was being screwed to the wall as I left!

But, lunchtime on an Autumn day, sitting around the fire, talking amongst friends, it will still prove hard to leave and continue the walk to Bodiam Castle.

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 Woodcock  will be No 49 in Beer Notes



The Woodcock


Great News!

1066 Harold’s Way is to be a ‘Waymarked Trail’ for 2019.

Waymark v21066 Harold’s Way has been adopted by Beyond Marathon for their 2019 Ultra Marathon event 1066.run to be completed over the weekend of 6th to 7th July 2019 and in the spirit of the men of King Harold’s army they aim to finish in 30 hours.

My especial thanks to Mark and Richard of Beyond Marathon who have undertaken to waymark the whole route for the benefit of the competing runners and for all future walkers inspired by King Harold’s epic march to battle.

London, 11th October 1066

“Listen carefully. Cross London Bridge and turn left at Watling Street, it should be signposted Rochester, Canterbury and Dover. When you get to the big river and the old Roman bridge stop, the army will camp there the night. Tomorrow, turn right – south, along another Roman road to Maidstone and Bodiam. Wait for me there and we will cross the estuary together before meeting with the rest of our army at the Old Hoar Apple Tree, Caldbec Hill on the 13th. Everybody knows where to meet and how to get there – good, off you go and be careful – we have a battle to fight. Don’t get lost!”

Following the new ‘Waymarked Trail’ would have helped King Harold’s men.

Walking Capital to the Coast. Walking 1066 Harold’s Way from Westminster Abbey to Battle Abbey and Hastings Castle.





A Path Worth Walking

1066 Harold’s Way

Be inspired by King Harold’s epic march to the Battle of Hastings.

Diversions, amendments, additions and re-routes to ‘Walking 1066 Harold’s Way’ will be published on the website, the blog and social media and hard copies will be free to download, with the exception of 1066 William’s Way which will be available at a discounted price from History Walks.


Thank you to all those who plan to walk 1066 Harold’s Way next year – 2019.

This year I have re-walked, revised and updated ‘Walking 1066 Harold’s Way’ with a view to re-publish during 2019.

Little has changed apart from a new bridge at Greenwich, a slight re-route around Sissinghurst and a couple of good pubs that have sadly closed but, importantly, the route remains fundamentally unchanged from Westminster Abbey to Battle Abbey.

However, the new edition of ‘Walking 1066 Harold’s Way will include an extra section from Battle Abbey to Hastings Castle (1066 William’s Way) creating a true Capital to Coast Walk, adding ten miles to the journey and completing the story of the Battle of Hastings.

The Thames Path along the Embankment has diversions because of the work building London’s new ‘super sewer’ and with all new riverside development between Greenwich and the O2 Arena, there is a trek around the backstreets which is a little tedious to say the least.

The Tideway project is scheduled to last until at least 2022 but there is hope that the Thames Path, after Greenwich, will be reinstated next year.

If you need further information or to clarify the route, please e-mail me at historywalks@aol.co.uk

Happy Walking






Treacle Pudding, Apple Pie and Spotted Dick

Knxbridge Cafe v3

It does what it says on the tin

It’s a halfway house for walkers that need a sugar fix before the final five and a bit miles to Sissinghurst.

Yes, it is a café but worthy of inclusion in Beer Notes as a great place to stop with all the usual café specials to tempt you. Although it has a great reputation for that ubiquitous full English breakfast I find that walking on a full tum presents its own problems, especially with hills to climb.

But more of interest, and just to add a little energy of course, are the treacle pudding, apple pie and spotted dick all served with custard and all washed down with tea in a mug.

The Knoxbridge is a clean and wholesome well-kept café, friendly and with excellent service. Light and airy, formica tabled, ketchup and brown sauced it buzzes to the hum of regulars and visitors but be warned, it closes at 3 in the afternoon and all-day Sunday.

Best get a move on then.

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.


Timeless Old Town

History Walks – More than just footsteps on a path

For A Taste of Hastings and St Leonards

Discover and Explore ‘Pub Walks in Hastings and St Leonards’

Walk 4

The Plough, West Hill, George Street and The Albion

Walk 4a

Check out the walk on You Tube


Walk 1 The General Havelock, The Pier and The America Ground

Walk 2 The North Star and Alexandra Park

Walk 3 The Horse and Groom and St Leonards

Walk 5 The Royal Standard, East Hill, All Saints Street and the Cinque Port Arms

‘Pub Walks in Hastings and St Leonards is also available as an e-book (Amazon Kindle) and by mail order from History Walks

To see all the walks and for details of how to buy: Click Here ​

Web: www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

Links: CAMRA WhatPub,

A Walk is not just for Christmas

Plough Cover

Pub Walks in Hastings and St Leonards

Walk 4 The Plough – West Hill, Hastings Castle, George Street and The Albion

Watch Walk 4 on You Tube  http://www.1066haroldsway.co.uk/news-caky

Visit History Walks at www.1066haroldsway.co.uk for full details of ‘Pub Walks in Hastings and St Leonards’