Kent, Sussex and more
Trip Start Jul 20, 2004
207Trip End Jul 20, 2014
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For the next six months, I shall have ample opportunities to get to know some of the best scenery, trails, estates, and historic towns Southern England has to offer. Working at Bedgebury International School not only offers a stunning backdrop but also provides me with a chance to get involved in volunteer work twice a week at the Bedgebury Pinetum. Bedgebury National Pinetum has the most complete collection of conifers in the world. The aim is to have 7 specimens of each conifer from different wild collected sources and having avariety of ages - thus providing a continuing genetic resourcehttp://www.bedgeburypinetum.org.uk/index.php
What's even better is that Bedgebury Forest is ideal for biking and running, which I eagerly took up again as I not only joined a local running club but am also preparing for some 10K runs a some half marathons.
On my days off, armed with an area OS map and compass, I try to be out hiking as long as daylight affords. On one of my first hikes I came across funny shaped houses which I had never seen before - neither in other parts of England, Wales or Scotland not in other countries. On a later visit to the Tunbridge Wells museum, I discovered that these houses are called Oast Houses. First time visitors to Kent and Sussex are often puzzled by these brick or stone built barns with their round or square towers. The history of the oast house is almost a microcosm of agricultural activity in 'The Garden of England' in the 19th century. Want to know more? Read on.
At this time of the year, the ground is wet and muddy which makes hiking a rather messy affair
My next short term adventure took me to Leek, to visit my friend Yvonne. Leek is close to the Peak District so I was excited to get a chance to do some hiking in the White Peak area. Three cold but sunny days of hiking left me yearning for the mountains of Wales and Scotland.
Winter eventually arrived in the south of England, in fact all over Europe. Bedgebury looked absolutely beautiful covered in snow. Now, I hope Spring is on its way so I can continue hiking around the south. I did make it down to Brighton, with stops in Lewes and Eastbourne which is close to Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters and the start/end of the South Downs Trail. In Eastbourne, I stayed at the wonderful Eastbourne YHA and spent two days of hiking around the area.
Spring has come and so I took to the trails again, running and hiking. Our running club, the Wadhurst Runners, has been pretty active in local races producing commendable results. Many of us run in the Tunbridge Wells, Eastbourne, Hastings, Lydd and Paddock Wood Half Marathons and some are preparing for the London Marathon on April 22nd. I run my best time ever in the Paddock Wood marathon at 1:45min. Hiking-wise, I took to the lovely Medway Valley Walk which runs from Tonbridge to a bit outside Maidstone.