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

Talking The Walk – Hawkhurst Local History Society

3 Castles Hawkhurst Local History GroupThis 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.

Three Castles is an opportunity to take the time to explore the castles and houses and towns and villages along the route. It follows man’s ingenuity and progress and a changing industry from agriculture to iron, to sheep, to the woollen trade, smuggling, hopfields and back to agriculture.

There is a soul to the High Weald; one that reflects the passions and industry of man and also the tensions of war and rebellion. It is now a very pastoral picture with only occasional reminders of the noise, smoke and fire of the iron industry. The ironmasters and the rich woollen trade are survived by their architecture at Sissinghurst, Cranbrook and Burwash and Brightling. The derelict hoppickers cottages, next to the River Teise in Lamberhurst, provide a startling contrast to the rich and landed.

Talking the Walk

3 Castles Cranbrook U3A

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.

Three Castles is an opportunity to take the time to explore the castles and houses and towns and villages along the route. It follows man’s ingenuity and progress and a changing industry from agriculture to iron, to sheep, to the woollen trade, smuggling, hopfields and back to agriculture.

There is a soul to the High Weald; one that reflects the passions and industry of man and also the tensions of war and rebellion. It is now a very pastoral picture with only occasional reminders of the noise, smoke and fire of the iron industry. The ironmasters and the rich woollen trade are survived by their architecture at Sissinghurst, Cranbrook and Burwash and Brightling. The derelict hoppickers cottages, next to the River Teise in Lamberhurst, provide a startling contrast to the rich and landed.

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.

For information on this and other talks visit:        www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

True Warriors

The Final Adventure of Javier and Gavin

Finally Gavin and I have finished Harold’s Way.

The last day was longer than we expected and we finished in the dark and the pouring rain.

Javier

It was a valiant effort and I know what it is like having walked through hail, snow, rain and Sussex mud to get to Battle although I did not walk the last two stages in one go.

Certificates and passports have been sent.

Javier has to be congratulated in producing a vlog of their final walk and one of their whole adventure from Westminster Abbey to Battle.

Javier Gavin 9 and 10

Javier Gavin1066HW

Thanks for the films.

A Triumph over Adversity

Congratulations to St Stephen’s Walking Group, Tonbridge

Dear David,

I thought I would send you a brief note to thank you for all the effort you put in to design this walk and how much our group have enjoyed walking it over the past 15 months. The group is called the St Stephen’s Walking Group, associated with St Stephen’s Church Tonbridge and has been in existence for some 33 years. 25 people took part in the LDW and 3 completed it, although some have only missed one or two sections and hope to catch up.

We actually finished on the 7th May 2016 having started on the 21st February 2015. We intersperse a walk like this with other short walks around Tonbridge in the winter, climbing Munros in the spring and usually a holiday, last year and this in Northumbria walking the St Oswald’s Way. I attached an article in our Church Newsletter from last month for interest.

With kind regards

God bless

Rowland Wills

‘Click the pic’ to read the great review of their walk from Sissinghurst Castle to Bodiam Castle in their Newsletter ‘Encompass’

St Stephens

www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

The Vengeful Fire Breathing Dragon of Angley Wood.

Stories of the High Weald

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Thank you to the Friends of Dover Museum who gave me a warm welcome and who were happy to listen to my illustrated talk on Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House on Wednesday 8th June 2016 in the wonderful Silver Screen Cinema attached to the Museum.

Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House is a 50 mile journey around the history and industry of the High Weald of Outstanding Natural Beauty with the four great National Trust properties of Bodiam Castle, Sissinghurst Castle, Scotney Castle and Bateman’s being the cornerstones of the walk.

It is a story of agriculture to iron and back to agriculture and is inspired by stories of Castles, follies, smuggling, Captain Swing, the mechanical riots and that ‘vengeful fire breathing dragon’ that lives in Angley Wood.

Shelf Life

Those National Trust cornerstones of ‘Three Castles and an Ironmaster’s House’; Bodiam Castle, Sissinghurst Castle, Scotney Castle and Bateman’s now have the guidebook on their shelves and available sale in their shops for all to enjoy this 50 mile circular walk around the history of the High Weald.

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3Cs Cover

  Published by Bretwalda Books

  Supplied by Mayfield Books and Gifts