Not knowing much about Plaxtol but having passed through it recently on the way to Ightham Moat we decided to explore the village. We stopped at the Paper Maker’s Arms and made it known that we were to walk around the village and come back for a late lunch.
The village is overlooked by the Cromwellian Church re-built and added to in Victorian times and although it is a magnificent edifice it is the village itself that is attractive. It has a local shop from where an excellent village guide leaflet can be purchased, a butcher’s shop selling game and enough olde worlde buildings to keep anybody satisfied.
We drove to Old Soar Manor knowing that it was closed until April but wanting out of curiosity to have a Gander. Plan: arrive en-route and have a look around the building when it is open and then go to the village and have another walk around using the myriad footpaths that criss-cross the area.
A bonus is that the Sevenoaks council has designated many of the roads around Plaxtol and Ightam as ‘Quiet Lanes’ and that is good because drivers, including us on the way there look out for pedestrians.
Plaxtol claims to have a 2000 year old history and this is borne out by the discovery of Roman remains and the identification of an Iron Age site. Old Soar Manor is a C13 site and around the village there is at least two recognised digs, a Roman Cemetery and a Roman Villa.
In the valley between Plaxtol village and Old Soar runs the river Bourne in spate when we arrived with evidence of flooding. The pathways were muddy so we were content to locate them and plan walks around the place for the future.
As for the lunch and the experience at the pub, it was excellent. Good food, the beer was good and the place was friendly with a local atmosphere. A worthwhile exercise and a most pleasant March day, cold at times but in the sun pleasant. The lunch was a touch of pleasure that topped off the day. The other pleasure was that most of the people we met were friendly and happy to pass the time of day.
Now that it what I call a good day out.
The village of Plaxtol, as we suggested at the beginning was a mystery to us and after an afternoon walking around we intend to make another visit.