Day 8 – Peace, Tranquility and Mud on the Pilgrims’ Way – Maidstone to Lenham – 9.4 miles

June 1, 2018

We were blessed with mild weather and gray skies as we started our journey to Lenham. We went up a very steep hill to get off the road “Pilgrims Way” and get on the trail “North Downs Way.” We walked only a mile before we saw the sign:

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But before we took to the trail we wandered just a few feet more to see the ruins of Thurnham Castle. The Castle sets on a hill overlooking at the edge of North Downs and the whole span of the Holmsdale Valley. The area around the Castle shows evidence of an iron-age enclosure and a Roman presence. In 12th century under Henry II Robert Thurnham built the present castle.

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View from the top

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We walk toward the Castle through the park, but there was a more direct way.

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Up some steep steps

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But pretty wild flowers along the way

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Brian walking toward the Castle ruins

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Close up of one of the stones.

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A quiet peaceful step back into history although the gray clouds were diminishing some of the view over the valley. Back to the North Downs Way sign, we start our day’s journey.

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We walked for miles along this quiet road with high hedges.

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We see the Pilgrims Way is now running along the same trail as the North Downs Way

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We come out of the high hedges to open farm land again

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and rolling hills

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Love these red poppies

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About ready for a break we come upon a pub.

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They won’t be open for another half hour so we take our break in their back parking lot and keep walking.

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The grain is growing

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We ran into two or three of these mud puddles (ponds?) that were too deep to walk through and occasionally too wide to walk around.

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Very slippery, it often drove us into the bushes up steep slippery banks and along barbed wired fences. We braced ourselves by holding onto branches and twigs. Neither of us fell so it just seemed like a lot of fun to me.

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A bench along the way

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Goofing off along the trail

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Wild daisies along the trail

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We walk along this long field down into Lenham

 

We arrived into town from our easy walk early enough to check into our hotel, clean up and walk around the town before dinner.

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We saw this old building and walked across to read the plaque on it.

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Cute little house walking into town.

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St. Mary’s of Lenham, over 1000 years old

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Church graveyard but stones are unreadable.

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Inside the church

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Stained glass window

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Stained glass showing the life of Christ

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Zoomed in: conception, birth, baptism

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Carries His own cross, crucifixion, burial

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And ascension

It was here when I walked into this one thousand year old church that I felt my deepest most personal emotional and spiritual moment of the pilgrimage. As I said,  we had finished our journey on the Pilgrim Way for that day. I had seen many churches and Cathedrals on this trip so far. I am often amazed with their majesty, the beauty and the serenity of the architecture and the importance of their history in western civilization. But this time it was more personal. This little active community church has withstood politic and religious upheaval, and is still standing, important in this community. I was looking at the stained glass window above the altar and was touched to see the pictorial of life of Christ. I zoomed in as it told the story of Jesus, His conception, birth, baptism, crucifixion and resurrection. This was my Jesus, the One I talked to as I walked on the trail, His words, the words I read almost daily and are a part of my life. The simple story of Jesus, 2000 years old, displayed in a 1000 year old church told over over again in the lives of His saints continues to heal and change the world.  A love story. One life at a time.

(click the photos for comments)

Brian and I continued walking around the cute little village of Lenham thinking how much Lee would like it here. We were missing her.

The Dog and Bear Hotel was originally built in 1602 and visited by Queen Anne in 1704. Her coat of arms is still displayed above the door today.

Only two more days of walking before we walk into Canterbury and our pilgrimage will be over. They are forecasting hot weather for those two days.

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One comment on “Day 8 – Peace, Tranquility and Mud on the Pilgrims’ Way – Maidstone to Lenham – 9.4 miles

  1. Vicky says:

    Love the photos, especially the one with you and the friar on the bench😊

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