Sunday, 3 September 2017

Bodiam Castle and Sandhurst Circular Walk 3rd September 2017

On Sunday the 3rd September 2017 Dan and I set off to drive to Bodiam in East Sussex. We arrived a little early and had to wait 10 minutes for the gates at Bodiam Castle to open.
After a while the gates opened and we parked up, being National Trust members we saved £3 on the parking fee and of course free entry to the castle later.
We started our walk and walked around the castle and got some pictures before the crowds arrive.

Now we walk around the castle and through some farmland.

We walk along a track that runs parallel with the River Rother, several fields away on our right.

After 3/4 of a mile we pass a house on our left and cross a bridge over the Kent Ditch that marks the Kent/Sussex border.

On our right is a pumping Station, we follow the path down and walk alongside a ditch to another bridge crossing yet another ditch.

We now head uphill past the Pylon and up to Marsh Quarter Farm and Marsh Quarter Lane.

It appears that it is here at Marsh Quarter that Land rovers go to die!

A little way past Little Marsh Quarter we take path on out left up a bank and across Old Place Farm.

A bit of where does this path lead as the field is divided into lots with horses in them. It appears that the electric fence has section you can lift and walk through. After seemed a maze we made our way to the stile.

We crossed more fields before reaching a road at Sandhurst and crossed to view Ringle Crouch Green Windmill.
Ringle Crouch Green Mill is a smock mill in Sandhurst, Kent, England, that was demolished to base level in 1945, and now has a new smock tower built on it as residential accommodation and an electricity generator.

Ringle Crouch Green Mill was built in 1844 by William Warren, the Hawkhurst millwright to replace a post mill which had stood at Boxhurst Farm that was blown down in 1842. It was the only corn mill built in Kent with five sails. The mill was built for James Collins, who ran the mill until his death. His son Edward then took the mill and ran it until his death in 1911. The mill was run for a short time by Edward Collins' sons Edward and Harry, then by C J Bannister, who also had a mill at Northiam, for about a year until the mill ceased working in 1912.
A sail blew off, and the mill quickly became derelict. The fantail and shutters were taken down, and in 1926 the stage was taken down. An iron windpump was erected alongside the mill, and three water tanks were installed in the mill to supply nearby cottages and cowsheds. The smock was demolished in 1945 The base was left standing and used as a Scout hut for a time.
In 1997, planning permission was applied for, and granted, to build a replica mill on the existing mill base, with the tower being used as living accommodation and a wind turbine for generating electricity. The new building was to replicate the former windmill, with five sails like the original mill had.

We walk up the road into Sandhurst Village itself, a former weaving hamlet.

The Black Death in 1348/49 is believed to be the cause of why the church in Sandhurst is so far from the main village, although it could also be explained by an increase in trade heading from Hawkhurst to Rye, where the majority of the village now rests.

We stopped in the local convenience store and post office where I got some Kent Crisps (very bland I may add) and some cash out from the post office within.

We reach the clock tower, which was built in 1889 in memory of Arthur Oakes and is a grade II listed building, and Sandhurst War Memorial, which was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and unveiled in 1923 and sits in an elaborate setting; it is also grade II listed. Viewed from the air these form a cross.

Some of the houses lining the main thoroughfare are from the 15th Century and still retain their timber frames.
The Old Post Office

We walk up to the tearoom in Sandhurst, sadly this was closed,so we walk back up to the Clock tower and walk on down the road.

We pass some gorgeous and picturesque cottages along the road as we walk on through Sandhurst Cross.

We pass a pond on our left with a fantastic tree house, the kids would love! 

Vineyards are plentiful around these parts

We cross over the Kent Ditch once more and then past Badger Oast Houses.

This detached Grade II Listed Twin Roundel Oasthouse was converted into an impressive family home circa 1983. Click on the above link to see pictures of the interior.

Now we take the Sussex Border path on our left just past the house above and up the hill.

Views back downhill to Badger Oast and beyond.

We walk on and down to a equestrian centre at Court Lodge Farm heading back towards Bodiam.

A rather large horse box !

Court Lodge

We now head downhill alongside another vineyard where we get a view of Bodiam Castle once more.

We reach the castle and cross the moat full of hungry carp that children are busy feeding pellets to.

Bodiam Castle is a 14th-century moated castle near Robertsbridge in East Sussex, England. It was built in 1385 by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, a former knight of Edward III, with the permission of Richard II, ostensibly to defend the area against French invasion during the Hundred Years' War. Of quadrangular plan, Bodiam Castle has no keep, having its various chambers built around the outer defensive walls and inner courts. Its corners and entrance are marked by towers, and topped by crenellations. Its structure, details and situation in an artificial watery landscape indicate that display was an important aspect of the castle's design as well as defence. It was the home of the Dalyngrigge family and the centre of the manor of Bodiam.

Possession of Bodiam Castle passed through several generations of Dalyngrigges, until their line became extinct, when the castle passed by marriage to the Lewknor family. During the Wars of the Roses, Sir Thomas Lewknor supported the House of Lancaster, and when Richard III of the House of York became king in 1483, a force was despatched to besiege Bodiam Castle. It is unrecorded whether the siege went ahead, but it is thought that Bodiam was surrendered without much resistance. The castle was confiscated, but returned to the Lewknors when Henry VII of the House of Lancaster became king in 1485. Descendants of the Lewknors owned the castle until at least the 16th century.

By the start of the English Civil War in 1641, Bodiam Castle was in the possession of Lord Thanet. He supported the Royalist cause, and sold the castle to help pay fines levied against him by Parliament. The castle was subsequently dismantled, and was left as a picturesque ruin until its purchase by John Fuller in 1829. Under his auspices, the castle was partially restored before being sold to George Cubitt, 1st Baron Ashcombe, and later to Lord Curzon, both of whom undertook further restoration work. The castle is protected as a Grade I listed building and Scheduled Monument. It has been owned by The National Trust since 1925, donated by Lord Curzon on his death, and is open to the public.

Dalyngrigge's licence from Richard II permitted him to refortify his existing manor house, but instead he chose a fresh site to build a castle on. Construction was completed in one phase, and most of the castle is in the same architectural style. Archaeologist David Thackray has deduced from this that Bodiam Castle was built quickly, probably because of the threat from the French. Stone castles were usually time-consuming and expensive to build, often costing thousands of pounds. Dalyngrigge was Captain of the port of Brest in France from 1386 to 1387, and as a result was probably absent for the first years of the castle's construction. It replaced the old manor house as Dalyngrigge's main residence and the administrative centre of the manor. It is not recorded when Bodiam Castle was completed, but Thackray suggests that it was before 1392; Dalyngrigge did not have long to spend in the completed castle, as he was dead by 1395.

We sat and listened to some history being told by a knowledgeable and enthusiastic man.
Here we were sitting in the Great Hall. No important household is complete without a Great Hall. Sir Edward would have dined here, held court and conducted matters of business. Above the 3 arches was the Minstrels Gallery; entertainment was important as feasting as feasting could go on for hours!

We walked across to where the Kitchen,pantry and buttery would have been.
Two large fireplaces would have been working every day,all year round. One included a bread oven. Bread was an important part of the medieval diet (as there were no potatoes for another 200 years). Rich people had the best of the bread which was white, of course; the poor were left with the inferior brown bread! Leading off from the kitchen was a passageway to the Great Hall flanked by two important rooms, The Buttery was not for butter; it housed all the butts of wine and beer. The Pantry was for all dried goods.

We then walked down some steps to the well and dovecotes below.

The well was the main water supply for the castle. It was collected in buckets and used in the kitchens; but it wasn't drinking water. sensible medieval folk stuck to ale - including the children! The well is about 10 feet deep and fed by natural springs and moat water.

At the top of the tower was a dovecote, once home to about 200 doves. Only the wealthy could afford such luxuries. Eggs were used in cooking and young chicks (squabs) were regarded as a delicacy and eaten whole - bones and all.

Above the entrance passage is an arch in the gateway, although it leads nowhere. The ceiling of the passage through the gatehouse into the castle is vaulted and pierced with murder-holes. Murder-holes were most likely used to drop objects on attackers, similar to machicolations, or to pour water to extinguish fires.

We made our way upstairs after some effort trying to pass the hoards coming down the narrow staircase.

We sat in what was the Chapel and watched a video of the history of the castle before watching a demonstration of the weapons of the times.

We leave the castle passing under the portcullis and across the bridge.

We pass an area where you can pay to have a go at archery or falconery.

A Harris Hawk

A Barn Owl

We walk back and visit the National Trust shop before having a rather tasty Cream Tea before the drive home.

Not a long walk by any means at 7.5 miles but a great day all the same.

GPX File here............