Against the Grain

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…

Butcher’s Broom and Privet

Walking up the narrow lanes from Horton Kirby takes me past dark ivy-clad hedgerows topped by trails of clematis. These hedges house ancient woodland species such as holly, privet and spindle together with a spiky, evergreen shrub which once seen is not readily forgot – Butcher’s Broom.  It was, apparently, used to sweep the blood and guts off butchers’ floors.  …

Darenth Fox 2

The fox was back in the field at 1pm on another sunny, cold day and hunting the old pasture with deep concentration and sloping pose required to keep his nose to the ground. One leap, after a vole perhaps, was unsuccessful. He (possibly a she but with a long winter coat) looked very well and only…

Higham and Cliffe Marshes

Yesterday, I walked from Higham railway station to St Mary’s Church on the edge of the grazing marshes. The old church with its short spire and overgrown graveyard had the appearance of Magwitch’s hideaway but that apparently is nearby St James’ in Cooling.  I walked on under a grey sky across flooded fields.   Horses…

Darenth Fox

I walked the footpath from home down to the River Darenth – cold, blue sky, low bright sun and frost lifting in the late morning.  Not much about until a dog fox (I think, since he appeared large) trotted the path in front of me.  He worked a wet pasture half-heartedly and only looked up when…