In search of bluebells

In a week that had snow, rain, sleet and thunder, it was a bit of a surprise to wake up yesterday to blue skies and sunshine (on a Bank Holiday weekend – what?!). And just as well, because my friends and I had planned to head out for a walk and find some bluebells, after an aborted attempt a few weeks ago when we were still in the depths of winter.

We started in Chilham, a village between Ashford and Canterbury, with a pub lunch in the sun at the Woolpack Inn (no, not that Woolpack). Then we headed off on a six-mile walk inspired by Jane Austen, who apparently used to visit the neighbouring village of Godmersham and dined regularly at Chilham Castle. In fact I think the route was even called Mr Darcy’s Chilham Walk, although unfortunately we didn’t run into him.

It all started well; we set out from Chilham Castle, admiring the beautiful houses we could never afford, and into the woods where we finally found some bluebells. We crossed a pretty river, disturbed a flock of sheep and climbed over some very wobbly stiles. Despite a few wrong turns, we were well on track to make it back in the estimated three hours… and then we went quite spectacularly wrong. After climbing the world’s steepest hill* and continuing for quite a long way at the top in the stubborn belief that if we kept going long enough we’d eventually find a right turn to get us back on track, we realised that what we’d identified as a fence might actually have been a gate. (It was a gate.)

So what was supposed to be a six-mile walk ended up closer to nine, we ended up power walking the last mile (the last bit of which was also uphill), and my legs hate me today… but hey, at least we worked off the pub lunch.

*possibly an exaggeration