Monday, 23 January 2012
A nice Teashop in Herne Hill
Teashop: The Woodrose Tea Rooms, Mount Ephraim, Staple St, Hernhill, Kent ME13 9TX
Tel: 01227 751168
Distance: 3 miles
Map: OS Explorer 149
Parking: The teashop has a car park
Public Transport Boughton Street is on Stagecoach bus route 3A from Canterbury. The teashop is about a 10 minute walk from the bus stop.
Conditions: This walk is short but strenuous as it goes up and down steep hills that offer fine views.
1) Leave the teashop and return to Staplestreet Road. Turn right and head northwest. When you reach the Three Horseshoes pub turn right along Church Hill. As you enter the village of Hernhill you will find a church on your right.
The little village of Hernhill had one of the earlier churches in Kent, it was certainly here by about 750. That early structure was of wood and in 1120 was replaced by a stone and timber structure that was dedicated to St Stephen, as the first church may have been. In 1450 the church was demolished and replaced with the stone and flint building that is to be seen today. Unusually the dedication was changed to St Michael, though no reason for this is known.
The church is a fine example of Kent Perpendicular Gothic style and has a square tower with a ring of eight bells. The main door and door to the bell tower are 15th century, and the rood screen is 16th century. Much of the furniture dates from a restoration of the church in the 19th century, and a Lady Chapel was added in 1928 - though in a very sympathetic style that does not jar with the rest of the church.
2) Pass the church on your right then turn right down Crockham Lane. Ignore the first on the right and instead take the first on the left, a lane which cuts back uphill.
3) After about 300 yards the lane bends to the left. At this point take a footpath off to the right that climbs uphill toward woodland. In the woods, the path bends sharp left, then hooks right to complete a half circle and emerge on to a track. In the woods to the right stands a semi-derelict tower.
This is the Holly Hill Tower. It was built by the local landowner in the 1930s, apparently so that he could enjoy the views north toward the Thames Estuary and its ships. It has been abandoned since his death and is now rather run down. It is not open to the public, but is an interesting example of a very late example of a folly.
4) From the tower follow the track south until it emerges on to a lane. Turn right along this lane, Dawes Road, to a skewed crossroads junction. Go straight on along Dawes Road to a T-junction.
5) Turn right into Staplestreet Road and return to the tea rooms.