An early morning on Sunday 11th May it was sunny with a beautiful clear blue sky. Later on more and more clouds built up although still dry. Thirteen adults, four children and a dog turned up for the ramble. They arrived at the meeting point at Leigh with its nice green ground on which some 12 years old boys were playing cricket while we waited for all participants to join. We waited for any latecomers from 10.30am until 11.00am promptly before we left to start our day outing.
We walked down Green View Avenue and we passed a cricket pavilion. Over a stile then followed a path and went under railway arch. Straight-ahead over two fields - no animals in sight. When we crossed over the first footbridge, unfortunately Peter Brown had a bad fall over metal rail just before the footbridge. He hurt himself with his face and leg but not too serious. He said he was okay. We carried on walking - turned left and right before we reached the second footbridge, which we crossed. We passed trees on our right, then sharp right over a third footbridge. We managed to squeeze through the stile, but the dog couldn't, so David Foot wanted to carry it over the stile. The dog resisted it with a fuss. He had difficulty with balance and had to push it over the stile. Everybody laughed at him, we wished we had a camera to take some photographs. Oh bother!
On a footpath we walk along the right-hand side of the field and we saw a few cows on the field at the other side. Turning right, we went over Ensfield bridge (where there was a great flood in early 2002), and then along side the riverbank until we turned right at the fork just before the brick pillbox. We crossed the bridge over a ditch and went straight up hill until we saw the biggest fallen oak tree. Mervyn Wright was interested in checking the lines around this damaged oak tree to see how old it was. he though it was about 150 years old. Wow, it was really very old tree. After that we continued to walk and turned left on the track around a few pretty old farmhouses then followed the filed edge before we join the concrete road. There were some lovely fields of yellow rapeseed oil plants and the other side field of little wheat plants that have started to grow for the summer season.
We got to the top of the hill by road and we had a splendid view of beautiful countryside in between Sussex and Kent with the North Downs Way. We walked through first cast iron gate and then went straight ahead for the second gate. Crossed track and diagonally left down to field corner. We could see beautiful Penshurst Castle from the top of the field then we went down to a road. Straight on to a gatehouse and then turned right at the road. After one and half hours walking we turned right to a church. Everybody was pleased to stop for their lunch at a pub and cafe! We enjoyed ourselves resting and relaxing for an hour. It was good to see Leslie and Brenda Culver surprised to see his brother, Kenneth and his wife, Felicity. It was a small world! They didn't know that they were walking at the same time and place in Penshurst. We had a good chat for ten minutes before we departed. We walked through a pretty old house and a church.
We went along the path through a gate into park. We went straight ahead towards the gap by gate in the fence and saw the wall of Penshurst Place. There was a beautiful and very old buildings, built as a manor house for a wealthy London merchant, Sir John de Pulteney during the reign of King Edward III. Then original building was built in 1341. We walk along the same fence, over a stile by an old oak fence and saw sheep with lambs.
We walked up hill between the trees; went over a stile to the top of the hill and then suddenly, the rain came! We put on our light raincoats. The rain didn't last long and stopped. We arrived at a gate at top of the hill, then went straight on up to a centre tree-lined avenue for five hundred yards, over crossing paths and stile. At the end of the avenue, we turned left and went along the road to Leigh. We passed Leigh railway station and walked under a bridge. Eventually, we arrived at this pretty village where we took a toilet stop at the pub just before it close at 3.00pm. We were lucky! we walked back to the green at Leigh where our cars were parked. At about 3.30pm our walking was over. Everybody had a great time and a nice break for a walk like that. I will plan another ramble in September or October so next time you are welcome to join us.
Richard Monk - Ramble Leader.