Saturday, 21 August 2010

Knole House (out and back) – (Kent) – 21/08/10 – 4.5 Miles – IVC

A recent IVC Summer walking innovation, is to have an additional shorter walk on a Saturday, combined with a visit to a National Trust property. As this was the first Saturday I have had free since …….. (oh I dunno, the Normal invasion probably) then here was an opportunity to support this new idea. Thus today’s event was slated to be a six mile walk combined with a visit to Knole House in Kent.

Starting at Sevenoaks station our twelve strong group soon found its way into the property’s Deer Park, which apparently in its entirety is 1000 acres (although the Trust only owns 43 acres worth). After a mile and a half we reached the driveway to the house where a small breakaway group went straight in, with the rest of us continuing our walk in the grounds of Knole Park estate. All around us there were plenty of young deer to be seen, as well as a number of golfers. So much so in fact that there were warning signs regarding the golfers. Thus in a brilliant flash of wit, I pointed out to everyone that the signs were there as it obviously must be the putting season.

As we headed off in the direction of the pub, the sky looked very overcast and threatening, yet this was one of the most humid days I can ever remember (or either I have some sort of fever) as I was sweating buckets. Lunch was at the Bucks Head where three of us had the last of the fish and chips, plus I had a pint of strongbow. After retracing our steps back to the house, those of us with National Trust membership or visitor cards got in for nothing, whilst the rest of the party had to pay £10.50 each.

Knole House has been in the residence of the Sackville family since 1566, although the heart of the building was built substantially earlier between 1456 and 1486. Now a lot of what one sees here, tends to be familiar to a lot of National Trust properties. Although I did particularly enjoy the erotic carving at the foot of the stairs of a lady reclining on a couch, the portrait of James 1st (when a steward pointed out to me how his eyes and left foot follow you around), and also had my interest piqued by the fact that this was where The Beatles made the videos (or whatever they were called then) for both Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane. Also I have just now looked on Wikipedia where the it says the property is known as a calendar house because it is reputed to have 365 rooms, 52 staircases, 12 entrances and 7 courtyards. Needless to say nothing like that is on view to the public, as the Sackville-Wests still own half the house, all of the gardens, and the majority of the estate.

So after buying an eco stapler in the gift shop I reassembled with everyone else in the tea rooms, where I had a mug of coffee and a slice of coffee cake (well I like coffee !). The plan at this stage was to follow the same route home, however a shorter more direct route was devised of about a mile and a half, through the main entrance and back into Sevenoaks. So overall an interesting and relaxing day.

Walks since last blog entry: 1 x 9.25 mile (9 kg ruckack walk) – Putney to Osterley.

No comments:

Post a Comment