Sunday, 18 August 2013

Lullingstone Loop !

Lullingstone Loop is a way-marked  route around the perimeter of Lullingstone country park.

A favoured country walk with many happy memories of past times.

 From our early days, when our three young daughters were encouraged to enjoy the country side, and their constant pleas for reassurance, that this was actually a circular route, never dampened our spirits.

The girls have grown up and lead their own busy lives, probably never to return to this park,  but my wife and I still find time to follow that route, now with our dog, and still enjoy the open spaces and beautiful views over the Darent valley.

A former medieval deer park, and by all accounts, mentioned in the
 " Domesday Book".
Even the Romans appreciated the beauty of the valley as the remains of "Lullingstone Roman Villa" testify.
Nestling on the valley floor is a beautiful old manor house and gate house said to have been frequented by none other than Henry VIII and Queen Anne.

The park is home to many ancient trees, including Oak, Hornbeam, Ash and Sweet Chestnut, some said to be over 500 years old,

Expectations for wildlife sightings are never quite fulfilled, but there are always the views.

The route leads you up past some open meadow land full of wild flowers,  in early summer,there is a fine display of pyramidal orchids .

From the top of the path as you look back, you begin to appreciate the fine views across the valley.

The path now enters the woodland,  Beechen wood, good for woodland birds and butterflys.

As the path crosses the golf course ,it leads you to one of the high points giving you some excellent views across the valley, before dropping down to the valley floor where the roman villa is situated.

You can just make out the impressive nine arched red brick viaduct which carries the railway line to the " Bat and Ball Station, The viaduct being built by the independent Sevenoaks railway. Incorporated in 1859 to link the Chatham line to the market town of Sevenoaks.

As you reach the valley floor you can now head towards " Lullingstone castle" and the River Darent.

Much of the water in the Darent comes from springs which emerge from the local chalk and sandstone rocks.

Since 1993 efforts have been made to reduce the ammount of water extracted from this river for public water supply as there were serious fears that the river Darent would dry up.

Seems to be working !

This is a good area for dragonfly sightings, today we managed to see a Brown Hawker and fm Emerald damselfly  along the River, as well as the following damselfly's. 

The river path now leads you back to the car park, where you can enjoy  well deserved refreshments in the tea room.

Two hours of your time is all that you need to experience this lovely country walk.

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