A group of 16 walkers gathered at Tonbridge station for a 6/7 mile circular walk, my first effort at leading since major surgery 2 years ago! I was ably supported by Johanna and Mike. Although it remained cloudy all day, the weather was surprisingly mild and much better than forecast.
Our walk took us along the river Medway, past Tonbridge Castle which was built after 1066 to guard the route between Hastings and London. Once out of the town, we entered traditional Kent countryside, with open views, some fields still given over to fruit growing and several (converted) oast houses. The going was good and we arrived early at the pub which had a real log fire and excellent food.
After lunch we stopped at All Saints Church, Tudeley, to look at the famous Marc Chagall stained glass windows. These were commissioned in 1963 as a memorial to the local landowner’s daughter who tragically drowned at the age of 21. As an early Modernist, Chagall’s work is very highly regarded, but not necessarily to everyone’s taste. The equally beautiful Victorian stained glass windows were relocated to a church anteroom, no doubt to the dismay of some worshippers. The rest of the walk back to Tonbridge went through the grounds of Somerhill House, using an impressive stone-lined sunken lane. Somerhill is the 2nd largest house in Kent after Knole House and is now a private school.
Thanks to everyone who joined the walk and made my milestone event so enjoyable. And thanks to Christine M for photos. Sandra