Discerning 10

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from History Walks, Talks and Books –  More than just footsteps on a Path. http://www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

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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

Spoilt for Choice

oldmill

Lancaster Bomber, Courage Best, Betty Stogs, Hardy Hanson’s Old Trip and Fuller’s Brit Hop were all on offer this week in the L-shaped Bar of the Old Mill.

The pub was built around an 18th century windmill which still stands aloof above the roof next to Plumstead Common and the Old Mill has an enviable reputation as a good beer and music pub that regularly appears in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide.

The small part carpeted bar is popular with what CAMRA’s WhatPub describes as characterful and conversational locals in residence’ who on warm and busy weekends overflow onto the street outside in high spirits that can cause somewhat of an imaginary barrier to outsiders and as a result, on my Saturday walks, I have never been tempted inside.

It is very much a locals pub.

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 Old Mill, Plumstead Common will be No 22 in Beer Notes

www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

CAMRA WhatPub

It does what it says on the tin – it’s a Café!

Thames Barrier View Cafe & Information Centre (21) – halfway point

img_20190128_101852At the half way point on the walk between Greenwich and Lesnes Abbey, the Thames Barrier Café makes an ideal stop for coffee and tea and even a snack lunch, warm and cosseted from the river’s winter chill. In summer, the tables and chairs and picnic benches allow time to wonder at those great steel barriers that would swing up from the river bed in times of flood.

The adjacent Information Centre has a working model of the Barrier, films showing inside the Barrier, its machinery and construction, boards on the Environment Agency, flooding and past, present and future of the Thames Barrier and flood defences, but it is not always open.

The Thames Barrier Café does what it says on the tin – it is a café after all with limited opening times. However, it is a welcome break after the Thames Path, before the climb up into a green London courtesy of the Green Chain Walk, especially when there is little opportunity for a ‘loo’ stop or a drink from the Thames Barrier until the end of the walk at Abbey Wood. Be warned.

Open Thursday – Sunday 11.30 am – 3.30 pm (Winter hours)

Thames Barrier, 1 Unity Road, SE18 5NJ                      Tel: 0208 305 4188

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 Thames Barrier View Café will be No 21 in Beer Notes

www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

DON’T GET LOST

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.

www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

www.1066.run

 

 

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.

Tapestry

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

David

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

http://www.historywalksblog.wordpress.com/

http://www.historywalksblog.wordpress.com/category/walk-diversions/

 

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.

www.1066haroldsway.co.uk

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