At the end, we had a cup of tea from our flasks in the car, then we drove back to Oare to pick up the bikes. We had a quick look at the two ‘English Heritage’ properties before driving to Canterbury where we were booked in at the Youth Hostel for the night.
Today’s Walk started very well – with a kissing gate, one of eight! The first half mile or so of river bank was quite muddy because there were cows in the field and a lot of rain fell in this area a week ago – in fact a whole month’s-worth fell in one day causing localised flooding. Good job we hadn’t planned to walk last week! After the second kissing gate, conditions improved because the cattle hadn’t been allowed along there to mess up the path and turn it into a quagmire. I am terrified of slipping over because I know how easy it is to break a leg.
The same went for a kingfisher which he was convinced he saw as we cycled over a little stream. After the second kissing gate, we had to cross a small drainage ditch. Colin was first, and saw the blue streak of another kingfisher as it flew away from under the little bridge. I just saw the back of it as it disappeared behind some bushes. Excitement! Excitement! But we didn’t see any more even though we approached all further ditches cautiously and quietly. We did see a pair of swans with cygnets, and no less than five herons standing on the far side of a field where we think there must have been a drainage ditch.
We couldn’t make out whether the ‘shooting’ noises we kept hearing were bird-scarers or a clay pigeon shoot, it just didn’t sound right for either. As we approached the village, the noise stopped and some youths emerged from the bushes walking ahead of us. We don’t know what they were shooting at, but reckoned they must have run out of ammunition. We passed a row of pukka houses which were only half built. They overlook the creek (pure mud, except at high tide) and there is a boatyard a few yards further down. We wondered how much they were selling these ‘waterfront residences’ for. We passed the pub and the door was open, but Colin wouldn’t even look in to see what ales they sold because it wasn’t in his ‘Good Beer Guide’! There was our car, parked by the side of the road we were walking down, actually on ‘the nearest safe path to the coast’.
That ended Walk no.36, we shall pick up Walk no.37 next time about fifty yards south of the pub in Conyer. We had some tea from our flasks, then drove back to Oare to pick up our bikes. Next we drove down to the A2 to look at two ‘English Heritage’ properties which we had passed within a mile of on our walk (rule no.10).
The second is described as ‘part of a medieval complex of royal lodge, almshouses and hospital, this is much as it was 400 years ago’. We parked a little down the road and walked back to look at it. Certainly a very old building, but it closed yesterday for the 2001 season! It won’t open again until next Easter. We tried to look in the windows, but couldn’t see much.