This General Has Been Demoted To The Ranks

The Havelock

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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

Temptation: The Woodcock Flies Again

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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

www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

CAMRA WhatPub

The Woodcock

A Little Something for 2020

3Cs Scotney

Explore the history and the industrial past of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, on a walk between the four great National Trust properties; Bodiam Castle, Sissinghurst Castle, Scotney Castle and Bateman’s.

Re-walked, revised and updated for 2019, the guidebook takes you on a journey through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty across Kent and East Sussex

“It’s a highly original work and the well-written guidebook is full of interesting historical information including smugglers’ tales, rebellions, industry and murders.” Walk, the magazine of The Ramblers, March 2016.

From History Walks, Talks and Books – More than just footsteps on a Path.

For more information visit: www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

Next Talk– Walking the High Weald

Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House

3 Castles Rye U3A

Look Inside http://online.pubhtml5.com/uslz/gnfe/

This talk is an engaging account of a walk between four National Trust properties; Bodiam Castle, Sissinghurst Castle, Scotney Castle and Bateman’s, that explores the history and the industrial past of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in this part of Kent and East Sussex.

And such a varied landscape brings together tales to tell of Mad Jack Fuller and Bloody Baker, Admiral ‘Foulweather Jack’ Norris, and Captain Swing. There are tales of smugglers and Mechanical riots, Napoleon’s horse, aliens in Robertsbridge and, of course, that ‘vengeful dragon’ in Angley Wood.  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.

From History Walks, Talks and Books – More than just footsteps on a Path.

For more information visit: www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

Next Talk– Walking the High Weald

Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House

2019 3 Cs Polegate

Look Inside http://online.pubhtml5.com/uslz/gnfe/

This talk is an engaging account of a walk between four National Trust properties; Bodiam Castle, Sissinghurst Castle, Scotney Castle and Bateman’s, that explores the history and the industrial past of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in this part of Kent and East Sussex.

And such a varied landscape brings together tales to tell of Mad Jack Fuller and Bloody Baker, Admiral ‘Foulweather Jack’ Norris, and Captain Swing. There are tales of smugglers and Mechanical riots, Napoleon’s horse, aliens in Robertsbridge and, of course, that ‘vengeful dragon’ in Angley Wood.  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.

From History Walks, Talks and Books – More than just footsteps on a Path.

For more information visit: www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

You never know what is just around the corner

Walking 1066 Harold’s Way – Staplehurst to Sissinghurst

Road sign

Getting off The Arriva No 5, that wonderful bus service that provides a link for walking 1066 Harold’s Way from Maidstone to Sandhurst, I was in plenty of time to complete the walk from Staplehurst to Sissinghurst.

After the disappointment that The Railway Inn was still closed, and likely to be for the foreseeable future, I wondered what changes there might be since I last walked the route.

I was soon to find out and within five minutes my plans had changed.

I left the Railway Tavern and walked south along the A229 for a few metres and took the first road left, Fishers Road and continued to the end.

Instead of the expected paddock there was now a small housing estate nearing completion and although the footpath took a similar route as in the Guide, there was no path south!

Health and Safety issues with the continuing building work has meant that the path has been closed and although it is likely to be re-instated in the Autumn it was no good to me today.

So, for the moment, there is no alternative but to walk the mile along the A229, first on Station Approach and the High Street to re-join 1066 Harold’s Way at the top of the hill by All Saints Church.

Walking through the length of this very long village is not the ideal start to a walk but, for the moment, needs must and there is the consolation that you are walking along the old Roman road and the likely route of King Harold’s men on their way to battle.

The rest of the route is still good with the added bonus that the revitalised Knox Bridge pub should be open for weary walkers after a very chequered recent history.

1066 Harold’s Way

Route

Imagine Walking 1066 Harold’s Way

There can be no more emotive walk

Cover website

Click for You Tube Clip

We have just finished the 1066 Harold’s Way walk and are feeling very pleased with ourselves! We live near Battle and, having walked the 1066 country walk last year, we got the walking bug. We were really pleased to then find a copy of your 1066 Harold’s Way book in a shop in Battle and have really enjoyed the variety of the different sections, the industrial and social history along the Thames and the wildlife and different terrains along the way. Thank you so much for writing the book! Karen and Tim

I finished my walk in Battle last Friday, tired and feet a bit sore, but I feel so elated that I did it and the countryside was so beautiful. Your book is an inspiration and very interesting historically. Christine N

www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

Walk to Battle

Map d3Imagine 1066, the Battle of Hastings and King Harold’s epic journey to his date with destiny.

The 14th October 1066 is one of the most emotive dates in English history and Harold’s march to the Battle of Hastings is part of our heritage.

This 100 mile long distance walk starts from Westminster Abbey and finishes at Battle Abbey, East Sussex and is an opportunity to discover and explore, in easy stages and fully accessible by public transport, the beautiful countryside of Kent and East Sussex .

Add William’s Way to your journey and walk from the River Thames to the English Channel to finish at Hastings Castle.

www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

Dreaming

Tube new

Imagine 1066, the Battle of Hastings and King Harold’s epic journey to his date with destiny.

Imagine being part of King Harold’s army, did it rain, was it dry? Three days of marching, the nights were drawing in, the noise, the fear and a battle to face – a camp at Rochester, a camp at Bodiam and a final climb to Caldbec Hill.

For the 14th October 1066 is one of the most emotive dates in English history and Harold’s march to the Battle of Hastings is the stuff of legends.

Follow in King Harold’s footsteps, along the probable route to the Battle of Hastings, a walk that starts at Westminster Abbey and finishes at Battle Abbey, East Sussex.

Be part of 1066 Harold’s Way – the start of your adventure.

For more information, visit www.1066haroldsway .co.uk