Sunday, 16 September 2012

Peril at Ightham Mote

Stunning views - worth the peril??
I'm making it a bit of a mission to explore our local woods this autumn.

Autumn is just about my favourite season and I love the idea of seeing all the leaves changing colour, rooting around for blackberries and checking out weird fungi.

And as with every one of my missions, I have (of course!) made it my family's mission.

And so it was that we headed to Ightham Mote, in search of woody adventure.

Blackberry picking
There are three 'official' walks through the woods outside Ightham Mote. They're all free, but you do have to pay for parking in the National Trust car park. The upside of that is that there is a little cafe and a picnic area - a perfect spot to prepare for the perilous walk ahead - or recover from the perilous walk. Whichever suits you best.

The lady at the Ightham Mote reception told us that the longest walk (still only two and a half miles) had lovely views, so we decided to try that one.

What she didn't tell us was that the lovely views came with a huge drop (no barriers - eeks!) that actually made me feel a bit sick. I had to sit down. And hold onto both little no-price-taggers like a woman possessed.

Add to this the fact that you have to cross a road twice (with no warning), and that the path really isn't pushchair-friendly and I would say it is definitely not a walk for people with small children. Unless you don't mind heights and are prepared for a bit of unexpected traffic.

The views are really lovely though, and we all loved picking blackberries and spider-spotting (lots and lots of spiders). And we completely recovered after a post-walk drink at The Plough in Ivy Hatch - their beer garden has a sand pit, badminton, petanque and chickens.

It made up for the peril, but I think we might have all enjoyed it just as much without fearing for our lives.

Check out the Woodland Trust website to find out where your nearest woods are.

Ightham Mote
Mote Road,
Ivy Hatch, Sevenoaks TN15 0NT

Parking: £2


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