Lying four square on the A25 before reaching Borough Green in the region of Great Comp gardens is the village of Saint Mary’s Platt, known as Platt in the Parish of Platt. You pass through it noting, if you are observant, two things, the first is an active local primary school asking you to slow down, and the second is the niggling feeling that you are missing something. Well, you would be right, you are, unless you stop and take a look.
The weather on the day was cloudy and at times wet but with enough sunshine in bursts to make a pleasantly warm day although we carried woolies and light raincoats with us. It was a good day for walking and a good day for discoveries. Saint Mary’s Platt is a pretty place and within the parish there is a gem of a place to visit but more of that later.
There is a limited amount of parking places, some few outside the church, a few in the Stonehouse Fields and some at the Blue Anchor pub, where you should stop for a pint and lunch. The village is a mixture of modern and ancient but you need to take a stroll around and explore maybe admiring the neat gardens of the modern homes but taking a walk around the minor roads of the village and find those places tucked away in the quiet little nooks. The distinguishing feature of the older buildings is the dark sandstone and brick – there used to be brickfields nearby – from the local brick I should imagine. There was once a Brickmaker’s Arms but that space is now a small housing block off the main A25, and opposite is the place where once bricks were made although it appears that the activity was further along toward Wrotham Heath.
Visit Saint Mary’s church where from intelligence gathered at the Blue Anchor we discovered that Richard Hearne OBE the one time Mr Pastry is buried. We found his grave looking scruffy and neglected but with evidence that somebody cared, judging by the old Christmas wreath and plastic flowers left there. We later added a geranium in a pot and tidied up the weeds a little – the pot plant purchased at the village fete that was in progress.
But, lingering a little while in the churchyard, a peaceful and pleasant place, we explored a pathway that led up the hill behind the church. This was the hidden gem. Of course, it is marked on the map, it is well known by the locals and it is mapped with pathways and tidy walks with proper gates and such but we knew not of its existence, forsooth.
The woodlands were/are a delight and promise a wonderful springtime display of rhododendrons and with the greenery in full summer bloom even on such a dull day with occasional bursts of sunshine, we came upon mysterious looking glades and stands of trees – including forty larches planted by the Platt primary school children celebrating forty years of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. The pathways, overarched by trees and rhododendrons led us to glades that suggested a fantasy of fairy tales which any child worthy of an imagination should find fascinating. I know that I did.
We wandered across the Windmill Hill road to the close opposite, met some friendly dogs and people to discover a footpath that possibly led out to the woods and fields down to Great Comp. We walked back through the woodland choosing a different path and arrived back on the main road close to the school, again on the way meeting friendly dogs and people.
We had a light lunch at the Blue Anchor – a starter of whitebait and bread each with a dish of olives between us. Tasty. The beer was good too.
We wandered aimlessly it seemed to visit the fete which was winding down a little by then and was delighted to witness a couple of people from Eagle Heights were flying some of their large dicky birds, if you can call a Bald Eagle and Hawks and Owls large dicky birds, and dids’t tarry awhile. A good display.
I purchased two small Hebes to plant in my garden for the princely sum of one English pound and my sister did same with a geranium which we planned to put on Richard Hearne’s grave – saying thanks to his memory for all the fun. For those of you who do not know who he was then look him up on the net. Or just click on Mr Pastry and browse a little. The man was an actor but was well known for his silly slapstick routines and his children’s programmes.
Beside all that, the visit to another village we had often passed through proved to be a pleasant afternoon’s enjoyment.