Sunday, 18 January 2009

Roaming along the Greensand Way Day 8 Yalding - Sutton Valence

Twyford Bridge
I next managed to get out in early September for a fairly short section of the walk round the south side of Maidstone. By now the wheat harvest was in full swing and the fruit trees were abundant with apples, pears and plums making for a very attractive walk.
Yalding High Steet

Transport proved to be a bit of a nightmare as I misjudged how long it would take to get to Sutton Valence and this meant that I missed the bus into Maidstone I had intended to catch. I ended up waiting almost an hour for the next one and when it got to Maidstone it was a bit late which meant that I missed my onward train. In all I wasted over two hours that I could have been walking. Be aware of the frequency change of services when attempting this section of the route! The bus and train service that you need both appear to dry up a bit during the middle part of the day.
Buston Manor Oast House

By the time I did get out walking it was mid afternoon and I was anxious to get going. Luckily, this section is pretty easy and can be done in about three hours. Once out of Yalding station the path crosses the River Medway via a very old bridge, which is very attractive but potentially dangerous for walkers as there is no pavement. I made full use of the little refuges that jut out into the river.

Harvest Time
Yalding village is some distance from the station that takes its name. It looked like a very attractive little place although despite the fact that there were quite a few shops, it was absolutely deserted. Once out of the village the Greensand Way regains the ridge which recommences after the Medway gap. The path stays on the ridge for the rest of the day so after this initial climb there is a level path from here on.

The theme of the day is orchards! The path crosses successions of orchards on its way to Sutton Valence. The harvest was in full swing, but seemingly the days of apples being picked by hand were over with machines undertaking much of the work. Although the day had started promisingly, by now it was becoming quite murky and the views across the Weald weren’t anything like as interesting as they could have been. This was a pity as the views were uninterrupted for much of the route.

Linton Manor
Linton was the only village that was encountered on the way and the church could be seen from quite some distance away, with its spire poking out of the trees. Linton itself was quite an attractive village although spoilt somewhat by the very busy road passing through it. Beyond Linton, orchards are left behind for a short section of the walk as the estates of Linton Place and Boughton Monchelsea are crossed. The parkland made for a pleasant change from orchards!

Chart Sutton Church

I reached Sutton Valence in about three hours and by now the day was really quite murky and had turned quite chilly, so I was pleased that this was a pretty short section of walk.

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