On the way back from Pluckley last week, we were lucky to drive through Charing a very beautiful village and saw that our book of Kent walks had a trail tracing some of the route that the pilgrims would have taken. Charing would have been the last stopover before the pilgrims arrived at Canterbury.
We now have a pattern to our walking: we arrive, have lunch then go on our walk. The guidebook recommendation for Charing was excellent and they were really keen and accomodating as I had asked for no cream or butter etc. If you ever find yourself in Charing, The Pilgrim’s Table is well worth a visit. We could hear the sound of horses’ hooves on the road and looked up to see a carriage of four white and grey dappled ponies with big long maroon feathers in their browbands pulling a carriage up the middle of the High Street. It was a fantastic sight so we decided to delay the start of our walk a little so we could try and catch a glimpse of the bride when she passed.
She looked extremely nervous.
The walk started off in Charing High Street.
Which only needs a candlestick maker.
Ludwell House which was owned by Elizabeth Ludwell who made made bequests to the village.
Sherborne House which was once a shop in the 16th century. Now there is a big display of teddy bears in the window.
The Swan Inn which looks like it has been converted into flats now. The plaque says it is an early 16th century hall house with 17th century additions. In the 10th century, it as a posting house – perhaps some of the Canterbury pilgrims rested their heads here?
We headed back out of the centre of the village and spotted this Anderson shelter in the garden of a local school. I am so impressed that someone at the school spent time building something like this.
We crossed a main road and arrived at our first stile which took us into a field where it looked like horses were trained for show jumping.
The first pull was uphill. I found it pretty hard going – my legs were tired straight away and I had to stop for water as soon as I got to the top. pao convinced me to climb over the stile at the top before stopping and I’m glad he did!
The view downhill was amazing though.
A canopy of trees hung over the Pilgrim’s Way which we followed until we came to some houses then a long road.
We saw a lot of horses on this walk. Here are a couple which we came upon unexpectedly in the woods.
Some of the Pilgrim’s Way was paved and quite easygoing.
That just eased you into the rocky bridle path you had to traverse.
This wall made me think of the play that the rude mechanics put on in A Midsummer’s Night Dream…
In this same interlude it doth befall
That I, one Snout by name, present a wall;
And such a wall, as I would have you think,
That had in it a crannied hole or chink,
Through which the lovers, Pyramus and Thisby,
Did whisper often very secretly.
This loam, this rough-cast and this stone doth show
That I am that same wall; the truth is so:
And this the cranny is, right and sinister,
Through which the fearful lovers are to whisper.
I could imagine that Hippolyta and the Duke might have lived in a house like this one which we found when we came to the end of the bridleway.
But there was a grander one than that still!
In order to get back to the car – I had to cross a field of cows. After last week’s incident, I was ready to run if they started moving. Thankfully, they didn’t move a muscle.
And we arrived back at the church
and the adjacent Archibishop’s Palace.
Charing appeared on the BBC Restoration programme but as it is not open to the public, it would seem that they did not win in 2004. The site does give a bit more information on archbishop’s palaces.