Journey

(Royal) Tunbridge Wells into the Ashdown Forest

We leave Tunbridge Wells in two groups, through Groombridge, and finally quit Kent. Alex and Nejm are our new partners, and we meet to form a full  gang in a woodlands called Bad Brook. We move on the next day, in heavy rain, to the Ashdown Forest, where we build shelters to settle for a couple of days. Storms lash at us, which we weather stolidly, and enjoy the delights of woodland freedom. Then we say farewell to our friends, and move on.


Some get stuck in Tunbridge Wells

Some get stuck in Tunbridge Wells

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Faversham to Tunbridge Wells

From Faversham we walk to Ospringe, and through the many villages of Kent. We sleep in the garden of the Plough at Stalisfield Green, and in the morning busk in Charing.

From here we walk along to Pluckley, Britain’s most haunted village, and then through Smarden into Biddenden. We are exceedingly tired, but make the final push to Three Chimneys, where we sing to the pub diners, and score bread, cheese and ale.

We sleep in a wooded bomb crater, just off the road. In the morning we walk to Cranbrook, where we sing in the sunshine to many folk. Then onto Goudhurst, by which time the day is advancing and we are fatigued.

small-in-the-mirror-blean

But on we push, toward Tunbridge Wells. Through various lanes, till we get lost after dark, and we nearly give up the challenge. But impelled by a fifth wind, we make it.

In Tunbridge Wells we sing for Radio Kent, and meet many kids and local people.

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Canterbury to Faversham

We stay by the pool, playing in the woods till afternoon. Then, along the stream to Tyler Hill, and into Blean Woods. It rains all night, and in the morning, ginger gets lost in the woods.

small-blean-woods-track

We then walk to Boughton Street, and on into Faversham. This is very much home-turf, so we stay on a floor offered by a friend.

In the morning we sing to the town, and meet many fine local folk. Then we hit the footpaths, and step on toward Tunbridge Wells.

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Home to Canterbury

We leave late in the evening, after spending more than a long time preparing. It feels very good, very promising, to be finally out and walking.

We head toward Canterbury, following the country lanes into town,and our planned footpath routes disappear in the dark. So we go other ways.

On the edge of town, we visit a friend, who has a farm and plays a fine accordion. We make music, eat blueberry jam, and then sleep in his hay-barn.

Rising early, Canterbury is soon under our feet, and we meet Alaric, our technical wizard pal, who ritually puts this website online. The day is glorious, full of good meetings and surprise kindness. Canterbury is always a fine place to be, and this is no exception.

small-pict0045

We busk in a sunny street, and meet lots of fine folk, including a Malawian pop star. A bunch of UKC drama students ask to film us, and ask intense questions about our political viewpoints. It is an odd meeting; one of them is genuinely surprised that our sign, and our backpacks and staffs, are not just props carried for marketing, to craft a better illusion: “What, so you’re actually walking to Wales then?”

We later visit the Cathedral, sing by the altar, and then say farewell to local friends. We encounter various small difficulties, even at this early stage, mainly due to our physical unreadiness, but we know we will get daily stronger.

The next morning, we leave town, and walk to the woods, to spend our first night in a beautiful place.

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