The second trip out in 2013 was a compromise. Not wanting to go near the coast or to wander over the hills and get frozen like a couple of penguins we decided on having a look at Farningham on the Darent River. We had passed through once or twice but never stopped to look. We discovered a small, charming gem of a village with pathways that lead to other nearby places suitable for a walk on another day.
Straddling the Darent, the village is set away from the main A20 and close to the M20 that at times intrude depending on where you are, but despite that it is a peaceful, pleasant place to visit with enough places for lunch and a drink to satisfy anybody.
We found a place to park but, take heed, there are not many places to stop unless you stop for lunch at the Red Lion and walk from there. We chose not to stop there although the building is attractive and I would say that in the summer, sitting by the river, lunch would be a most pleasant experience.
However, we wandered along a track to cross under the main road and follow a path which led us to the river and the Darent Valley Way. We walked back to the village from there along the river to enjoy views of the village as we approached and of course did what every other visitor will have done, discover the structure that is not a bridge but looks like one. Marked as an Historical Structure the blurb on the information board declares it either as a cattle stop or a Folly, the whim of a local landowner. It looks good.
We walked back across the bridge and wandered around the churchyard with its mausoleum and magnificently ancient Yew tree. From there it was a bowl of nourishing soup and bread in the pub, The Pied Bull, that has been a hostelry for a long time and is under a 500 year lease. It was a pleasant place to dine.
From there we wandered around the village to the Eynesford Road and cut back into the village to witness a local butcher in his shop, note a local store and a bookshop plus some ancient buildings including a Mill on the stream. This wooden structure is rather grand although neglected a little sporting two carved Eagles on its eaves – unfortunately it is on private property so visiting is out of the question.
Gosh! It was cold and my little pinkies began to miss the warmth of my gloves so we walked instead snapping shots and followed the road out to the A20. We were looking for a pathway back into the village but had to walk back up the hill to the Eynesford Road and hence back down to the car.
We were back on the road before the afternoon drizzle, sleet, began happy to have paid a visit to such a pretty place. Nice people too.
Although it was cold we had a pleasant walk along the river and discussed paying another visit later in the year to explore further downstream until perhaps we meet too much urban sprawl and give up.