Meopham Green, four square on the A227, in February is at first glance as dull as any other place at this time of the year. The trees are bare, there is no cricket on the green and with the wintry clouds suggesting there could be sleet or snow it was with some surprise and pleasure that we discovered a place to enjoy a walk and to pay a return visit later in the year.
The region off the North Downs beyond Wrotham has always been a step too close to the London sprawl for us but of late we have wandered in that direction and realised how pleasant the places are. The idea of visiting the towns or regions you pass through on the Victoria Line is attractive if only to discover whether or not the places are pleasant or ugly. Nice to be proved wrong.
Meopham is not far from Camar Country park, and is within walking distance of Trosley park and within easy driving distance of the Darent Valley. However, Meopham is one of those stations on the Southern line which you can pass through without thinking anymore about the place except that you are either closer to London or further away.
Try getting off the train and walking to Camar Park, or walking out along the A227 to Meopham Green where we started.
We stopped at the Cricketer’s Inn and had coffee before setting out. Wise people book or reserve a table for lunch which is worth doing as you will understand.
From the inn we walked along the main road, had a look along a path way to see where it went, returned to the road and walked to the church. We took a slight excursion along a road to look at the houses including the rectory and was treated meeting a fat tabby cat making its way across fields and the road to the fence through which it scurried, obviously going home. It was a nice little touch of the local.
From there, after exploring the road a little, we went across the main road to the Church which is a large building worth a look perhaps on a later visit. We discovered a tunnel under a driveway that was either the beginning or the continuation of a footpath or two. The ground was too muddy to comfortably follow the footpaths, hence the walk around the village, but we did have a look at the massive stone house behind the church. We returned via the road and took a walk along The Street to take a stroll around the back streets hoping to end up close to the green.
As it was we ended up back on the main road and headed toward the Inn and lunch.
The food and the service was excellent, friendly people with a restaurant that was filled in part by a 60th birthday party, couples and families. We enjoyed the food which was both well presented and of a proportion that, for a lighter meal, was just right. The place was crowded so it is a good idea to book a table beforehand or to arrive early and reserve one.
After lunch we wandered to the Windmill and then along the lane beside the green noticing the seats outside the houses in the small front yards from where in the summer the inmates can watch the cricket. There was none played that day which was a bit odd as it was Saturday and not raining. (Hang on, this is February – maybe they haven’t started yet) It would be a pleasant trip to arrive on a day when cricket is being played.
From the end of the road we followed the Bridal Way which is crossed at intervals by public footpaths tempting us to follow them, but except for a short deviation we declined. The paths led to ‘Hopeful Hill’ and down to ‘Happy Valley’ and when we continued on the Bridal Way, the going was better than slipping in the mud, we could see that pathways leading off would take us to Havel, or Camar Park as well as returning to the A227 and back to Meopham Green.
We climbed the hill to the Hopeful Hill path and from there we followed the path to the main road and walked back. There was a few times when we felt soft rain that might have been sleet or snow but as it was too warm for snow we decided it was soft rain. My sister had left her walking shoes behind so we confined our walk to the paved or more firm surfaces as much as possible.
However, as a first excursion to Meopham it was a pleasant afternoon. We have walked around Luddesdown and Camar Park, Cobham and Birling before but not actually decided that a winter walk around Meopham village was a good idea. It turned out to be worth it.
As it turned out when we looked back on the day we realised that we had a casual walk of about five or six kilometres which may not be a long walk but it was interesting and opened up ideas for further exploration.