Fields, Flowers and Finding the Way
The plan was simple enough. I would leave the car in Faversham and then walk a ten or eleven mile loop, taking in Goodnestone and Seasalter. It would be great training for my participation in the NSPCC’s London HACK, and would give me the opportunity to take photos of somewhere new. I had a step-by-step walking guide from Explore Kent and set off with enthusiasm. What could go wrong?
At first, not much. I headed through the Market Place, past timber framed houses and St Mary of Charity, Faversham’s parish church, then on to footpaths and the grain fields, some of which had recently been harvested and were now popular with the local gull population.
Ah, the fields. They were pretty, certainly – the hedges boasted a variety of colourful flowers and I don’t think I have ever seen so many butterflies and dragonflies in one place (or perhaps they were damselflies – blue flashes of colour that seemed to disappear just as soon as I had spotted them) – but after spending a considerable length of time on a ‘detour’, wondering where on earth the kissing gate had disappeared to, I was keen to find something different to look at, even as I continued to snap away…
I finally admitted defeat and headed back the way I had come, resigned to the fact that I was going to have to return to the car and perhaps drive to one of the other stops before going home. But then I had a little luck and, just as I was about to leave the fields, overheard a few words of conversation between a small group of hikers. They seemed to know where they were going and, for some reason, I had a suspicion they were headed the way I should have gone in the first place, so I decided to
stalk them follow their lead. Sure enough, after just a short distance, I found not only the kissing gate but also a way of crossing the railway track and, a little further on, polytunnels, oast houses and a hop garden. I was back on route!
Feeling rather pleased, I started to enjoy my surroundings again, noticing the sweet smell of ripening berries and the slightly disconcerting rustle of the grain. I found St. Bartholomew’s, a small Norman church, an orchard, pastures and a blackcurrant field (complete with a sprinting bunny, reminding me of an episode of Peter Rabbit I watched with my four year old goddaughter last weekend. Didn’t spot Mr McGregor though…).
And that’s where it fell apart again. The helpful hikers were long gone and I was on my own, in the blackcurrant field, and once again completely baffled by the instructions on my, by now, very crumbled bit of paper. As it so happened, the guide stated that a shortcut was possible from that particular spot, and, with time ticking on, I decided to skip Seasalter and head back to Faversham, beside the creek and along the Saxon Shore Way.
I don’t give up easily and am determined to return one day to complete the walk, though perhaps with a friend in tow to help with navigation!
(P.S. I am going to be away from my computer for a couple of weeks, so this will be my last post until early September. I hope you will join me again then. 🙂 )