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Saturday, 9 December 2017

Saturday Walk Staplehurst to Headcorn

Saturday Walk Staplehurst to Headcorn T=swc.80

This morning of this walk is an easy stroll through fields and woods in the Low Weald of Kent. After lunch at Frittenden you then carry on over low-lying fields to the pretty Kent village of Headcorn,

Length: 7.9miles (12.8km) 2 out of 10

Trains: Get the 0940 Dover train from Charing Cross (London Bridge 0948), arriving Staplehurst at 1039. Buy a return to Headcorn (the next stop on this line). Return trains are xx15 & xx45.

Lunch: The Bell and Jorrocks, Frittenden (01580 852415) Good idea to ring.
Tea: In Headcorn High Street, you have the George and Dragon, the Village Tea rooms and the Kings Arms.


Anonymous said...

12 got off of the train and we were then joined by two others who had taken different trains so n=14 on the walk altogether
Weather w=bright-sun-but-right-cold-all-day with the frost hanging around in patches throughout
This was an emotional roller coaster of a walk so although only a 2 on the toughness scale spiritually we suffered horrendously for the first hour and then we hit a high for the rest of the day. The cause of the angst was the closing and boarding up of the Bell and Jorrocks pub as reported by a fellow walker who had just driven from the St Leonards area past the pub on the way to meet us at the station. We were all a bit deflated, to put it mildly, by this news - no Bell and Jorrocks would mean that this walk would be a no no in future and the Bell and Jorrocks had been a great pub which we were very sorry to see close.
Anyway duly forewarned we went to a local newsagent and we stoically stocked up on sandwiches and assorted nibbles ( several even bought chocolate bars ) for a picnic lunch. Curiously the chap who had warned us of the closing of the pub got on very well with the woman in that corner shop that he had suggested but he does seem to get on well with most people.
We set off in low spirits, hardly talking, all looking inside ourselves for a reserve of strength to carry on with the walk only to meet another walker about an hour later only to be told that she had rung the Bell and Jorrocks and they were, ONLY, waiting to find out how many were, only, expecting lunch - howls of delight and some dancing in that field on that day the like of which you have never seen before was had ( if Mr M Tiger was with us he would have written a folk song about it I am sure ) whilst said walker rang the pub and booked a table.
8 had lunch at the Bell and Jorrocks which was fabulous and good and extremely reasonable prices and a varied selection and the pub was warm and welcoming and a true delight and had a roaring stove, albeit it at the other end of the pub away form our table and blocked out by the locals. What a glorious time we had, it was really like Christmas.
Fortified by the food and warmth we set off in the cold and did the last 5 km odd across some somewhat muddy fields to the Village Tea Rooms in Headcorn where tea and cake was had. On our table two of the cakes we're a bit disappointing - light and dry and flavourless sponge, whilst the third - a light fruit cake got the thumbs up.
Off to the train station and a kip back to London Bridge for some - whilst others chattered - least said soonest mended - I said ‘ least said ‘.
The moral of this story is - don’t trust a drivers fleeting glance.
Long live the Bell and Jorrocks
Divine Dish ( Miss )

Anonymous said...

Well for three of us the emotional rollercaster actually kept rolling throughout the day. While others might have been depressed about their picnic lunch and with their heads on the path, my good friend M, an architectural historian, and I stopped at lenghth at Staplehurst Church to admire the Pisan Pillars, the anchorite cell (brrrr) and most importantly (please add to walk notes) a medieval door with very old, possibly Norman, ironware with beautiful forms like a dragon. This door is halfway on the South side behind a heavy curtain; you can open it by sliding a heavy bolt and lifting the latch. Here we were joined by another walker L who had gone wrong at an earlier turning point and was an equal admirer of old churches so we made a happy trio for the day to come. Having topped up my flask with hot coffee in the local pub for the picnic later on (we were oblivious to the good news that the pub was open but as you will notice later there would not have been enough time in the day to pay it a visit anyway). The next 30 minutes or so was spent happy walking and path finding which was made quite difficult because it was invisible in the wet, grassy field. Then we discovered my friend had lost a much needed walking stick, so L very kindly offered to retrace our steps; that took a good 20 minutes. M and I decided to have our lunch in the middle of the path in the wet field while waiting. This caught the eye of a curtain twitching Boggis nearby who stormed over asking 'What on earth are you doing on my path? 'Well, Sir', I answered politely, 'waiting for a kind friend who is searching for a lost walking stick and, being hungry, eating my sandwich and having a coffee' (it was 1.15pm after all). 'You are not allowed to have a picnic on a walking path; you can only walk here!', Boggis barked at us. Is this true? I have no idea. It was hardly Glyndebourne with tables, chairs & the family silver but me sitting on a small plastic bag to keep my bum dry on a muddy field. My friend M, only 4"4' tall started arguing with the 6" farmer about the validity of his statement and I gave her some hard looks and assured farmer we would be gone before sunset (he was definitely not amused at this point). After 20m we decided to walk on as slowly as we could without falling over to give L a chance to catch up, keep warm and avoid ending up at the end of a pitch fork. Soon L appeared with no stick but was tanked profusely and we trotted on finding it really hard to follow any path. We ended up on the wrong side of a small wood and I could see how to get us on the correct path by some 'light' trespassing, climbing under some barbed wire (cleverly installed by Boggis; he must have shares in a barbed wire firm, never seen so much of it around his various fields) and then over some and walking 50/100 m through some very light wood. easy peasy, if you do it regularly. This was not approved of by M nor L so they tried to find the correct path of getting to the other side. This took another half an hour while I paced up and down the other side in the sunshine on a lovely ridge. What I then discoverd that said Boggis had also managed to lock the gate on a legal footpath to go in and out of this little wood at point N5108804 EO33.912 9please report if you know how to do this). So you now have to climb over it, a problem for my 4"4' friend. However, suddenly after 30 m or so M & L popped up behind me to much mutual rejoicing and we then walked on till the next church at Frittenden, which we paid a short visit. Remarkably without further incidents worth mentioning we arrived at 4.20pm, just before closing time, at the lovely church in Headcorn with a very old and original wooden screen from before the Reformation. Got some tea in Cafe Costa for the train back and met three fellow walkers on the platform. An eventful but wonderful day out recommended for longer days if you wish to visit churches and have lunch in the Bell & Jorrocks.

Anonymous said...

I am glad to hear that the Bell & Jorrocks has not closed - it would, agreed, have been a sad loss.

As for "Boggis" (a new word for me), if it is the field I am thinking of, there is no defined path across it, just a right of way. I am no lawyer so have no idea whether you are allowed to picnic in such a field, but I know the type of person you are describing, and they are a nuisance. If it is the field I am thinking of, I never cross it without some nervousness. This is just one of those farms that somehow emanates unfriendly vibes towards walkers without having to do anything. Occasionally the field has over-curious beef cattle in. I am always happy to gain the bluebell wood beyond. If there were another viable route I would use it, but sadly there is not - not without missing the bluebell wood too.

I cannot make sense of your grid reference, if that is what it is, so I can't locate the locked gate you describe. Is it on the walk route? If so, the paragraph number in the directions it is in would be helpful. In general, if you discover blocked paths, try informing the county council. I seem to remember that Kent has an online facility to report such things. Or google Kent County Council Public Rights of Way Officer and see what comes up.

Re Staplehurst church and its attractions: I will update the walk document at some point, but there is a big heap of corrections and updates to various walks to process and this one will have to wait its turn....

The walk author

MG said...

The locked gate on the footpath-signed right of way was I think in para 25. MG

Anonymous said...

The 'Boggis' referred to in the second walk report is the cruel, slow-witted farmer from 'Fantastic Mr Fox.'

Sean said...

The Ramblers website is a useful resource for advice on walking issues: see You have the legal right to "pass and repass along the way", which has been interpreted as allowing you to stop to rest or admire the view, and to consume refreshments (as long as you don't stray from the path or cause an obstruction). It's worth knowing your rights if you have this kind of unpleasant encounter.

Anonymous said...

I have now checked the correct grid reference TQ 795417 and will report it to the Ramblers with whom I am in contact. It's on the South side of the wood where it is at its most narrow. Maybe this walk should be posted again in the summer and then checked again.

Anonymous said...

The location I mentioned in the main walking report N5108804 EO33.912 is latitude and longitude. Not every country has such fine Ordnance Survey maps as the UK. A more universal system is latitude (your position north or South of the equator) and longitude (your position East or West of Greenwich). This reference will tell anyone anyone, including yourself, where you are in case of emergency or if you are simply lost/off track. Any good gps will tell you these data and with a local good map you can then pinpoint your location.

Anonymous said...

Looking at the grid reference, I think there is supposed to be a stile next to this gate. Maybe the problem is that the stile has disintegrated (or been removed).

The walk author