Our walk started at Selling train station, a rural stop between Faversham and Canterbury in East Kent.
As the walkers gathered conversation turned to the possibility of rain. A number of weather apps were consulted. Some people were sure it would stay dry whilst others opted to pack a waterproof.
A train pulled into the station from Faversham, a couple of people crossed the footbridge to join our group.
Our evening walk was underway and we would soon be in Perry Woods.
First we passed rows of polytunnels protecting flowering strawberry plants. A line formed to zigzag through a kissing gate. We entered a field with grazing sheep. Our footpath guided us through an
avenue of beech trees.
After crossing a road, meandering through the middle of a blossom heavy orchard we found ourselves crossing a stile into somebody’s front garden. The pure bliss of knowing it was our right of way mixed with an uneasy thrill washed over the group. Before we could linger on this we were entering Perry Woods – a Local Wildlife Site.
Perry Woods is a 150 acre area of primarily ancient woodland, this means that there has been consistent tree cover since 1600AD. There are areas of sweet chestnut coppice, scots pine trees and large beech trees in addition to other native broadleaved trees.
Our walk led us up a short, steep hill between pine trees to where a windmill once stood. We rested momentarily at a picnic bench. The high pitched song of a bird rang out overhead, prompted by the approaching dusk. The last few walkers reached the top of the hill asking if there were any more hills to come! Another asked if we were close to the pub yet!
The Rose and Crown pub sits perfectly in the middle of Perry Woods so essentially our evening walk was a stroll to the pub. Little did the group know that at this point we were in fact metres from the pub, but we headed off in the opposite direction to explore the woods fully.
We skirted around a gigantic beech tree boasting young fresh leaves, the ground littered with balls of brown blossom.
One last hill lead us to a collection of well loved beech trees, their rounded trunks and accessible boughs were smooth from years of climbing. From here the pub came into view at the bottom of the lookout but there was confusion about how to reach it.
We continued along an escarpment dappled in golden sunshine to The Mount, an outcrop with exceptional views across the countryside to the mighty Kings Wood. We rested here briefly to admire the view and eat homemade flapjacks before descending into the bluebell woods.
The bluebell season stretches from early April to mid May in this part of Kent. The flowers that we passed looked exhausted from their recent performance. Their petals shrivelled and the famous purple hue jaded, but still they clung onto the last of their days. The end was near.
A celebration rang out through the group as we arrived at the pub. Well deserved drinks were ordered and enjoyed as the sun set through the trees. The last few miles back to the station retraced our initial route and it was noted that although previously walked the views and footpaths felt distinctly unique. Perhaps we should walk backwards more often to enjoy both views!
To find out when the next evening walk is please follow this link: https://www.meetup.com/Kent-Outdoor-Explorers/