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

A Mad March Day, The Wilderness of Cray Marshes

Walk 3 Poster 3

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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

The River Thames at Erith

Walk 3 Poster 2 Erith mud

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All shadows and glistening mud revealed by low tide and a big blue sky.

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

An August Day on Lesnes Heath

Walk 3 Poster 1

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The scent of the heather rose to fill the air on this hot day – I could have been on the Derbyshire moors instead of South East London, just a handful of miles from the Shard.

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

The Beautiful Bostall Woods

Walk 2 poster 4

Poster 6/22

Such a wonderful copper carpet

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

They Came From Outer Space

Walk 2 poster 2

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The Shining, they seem unreal

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

The Towers of the Merchants

Walk 2 Poster 1

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From San Gimignano to Canary Wharf, the merchants built ever higher towers to reflect their wealth.

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