Thirteen ramblers arrived in Tudeley on a beautiful sunny morning, despite a train cancellation and delayed bus. They were met by another three who had travelled by car. We set off across fields towards the Norman St.T homas a Becket church in Capel. This grade 1 listed building is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. It is no longer used for regular services but is still consacrated. We admired the 13th century wall paintings which were discovered in 1927. As there were a large number of benches in the churchyard, we decided to stop for our picnic.
On leaving the church, we passed the 800 year old yew tree under which St. Thomas a Becket is said to have preached. The sun then disappeared and we were surprised by a, fortunately brief, fairly heavy shower. The next section of the walk took us through woods and orchards, where we collected delicious windfalls. There were quite a few stiles, some not very easy to negotiate. The leader managed to lose four members just before arriving at Tudeley, due to the difficulty of climbing the last one. We were, however, all reunited at All Saints Church where we were joined by another three members who had made their own way there. Our guide, Daphne was waiting for us. She treated us to a very interesting talk about the history and installation of the wonderful stained glass Chagall windows. If you have not seen them, they are well worth a visit. The colours are incredible and as Daphne pointed out, there are so many small details that the more you look, the more you see. It is the only church in the world to have all its windows decorated by the great artist. The last section of the walk took us through the grounds of the magnificent Somerhill House. This grade 1 listed Jacobean mansion is now a school and was painted by Turner in 1811. After what was quite a long day, we arrived at Tonbridge station in time to get a cup of tea or coffee to take on the train back.
Susan. Photos by Stuart, Chris and Susan