While walking the Wealdway last month the weather cleared just long enough to get a panorama overlooking the Weald from the South Downs near Wilmington.
Starting the final leg of the Wealdway at Gover Hill I had just 16 miles or so to get to Gravesend. The first few miles of walking was through a lovely woodland of chestnut coppice and oak standards. It had been the first be of decent production woodland I had walked through on my entire journey. It was not long however until I reached the other side and the view over to the North Downs.
Today (day 3) started off with quite a bit of road walking so I was able to make good progress on the tarmac of the narrow country lanes. Before long I was high up on Bidborough ridge and the snow started up again – though this time they were large delicate flakes which drifted haphazardly in the breeze.
Thankfully the strong northerly winds had blown itself out overnight, though the forecast still mentioned wintery showers, as I started out on day 2 from East Hoathly. The frost on the ground had stiffened up the mud just a little, though most of the fields were permanent pasture and not too muddy or slippery underfoot.
I was soon walking through Great Wood, its name the reminder of what was once here. It had probably been decimated several times over the centuries – nearby there are extensive remains of former iron-foundries which would have used the wood as fuel, but more recently the Great Storm of 1987 destroyed much woodland in the area.
The Wealdway guidebook had been looking lost on my bookshelf for quite a while and, as a very kind lady at Kent County Council had copied it for me as it had gone out of print, I felt it had laid there for long enough. At 80 miles long it would split nicely into 4 parts – as the perfect accompaniment to the Easter bank holidays.