Against the Grain

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British Wildlife

North Kent is a land of low lying estuary and grazing marsh shouldered by rolling chalk downs riven by the Medway, M2 and M20.  The mud brown estuary boasts gleaming oil refineries, grey power stations and a necklace of old port towns, tied together by new housing estates, and all stitched by endless pylon lines. Inland are chalk quarries, cement factories and paper mills.   Towns have names like Gravesend and Snodland (did some ancient name-giver just have a really bad day when the North Kent file hit the desk?).  This then is not a part of tearoom England.  And yet there are gems of outrageous beauty to be found (as well as a fine pint of Whitstable Bay Pale Ale).  Try these two: one on the Medway coast close to, but hidden from, the exposed sweep of road bridge crossing the Swale to link Sheppey to the mainland, and the other deep in the chalk downs but over the hill from Rochester’s hollow-eyed castle.

Lower Halstow – quayside on the Medway with Church behind.

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Church of St Margaret of Antioch in Lower Halstow-  this section built with red tiles pinched from the nearby Roman villa.

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Luddesdown – the manor house dates back to Edward the Confessor.

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The passing storms create interesting light.  The first image was taken from the north in a patch of brilliant blue and the second from the south just before a bout of heavy rain.  The double rainbow appeared afterwards.

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