Day 10 – The Pilgrim’s Way

I’m back on the Pilgrim’s Way. I took a break back in November, and restarted the journey today, on the first of April, which also happens to be Easter Monday. I restarted from Otford, which is near where I ended last time, and ended today at Wrotham.

Today, I walked about ten miles, with only six miles being on the Pilgrim’s Way itself. I had to walk to and from the Pilgrim’s Way.

Otford has a traffic roundabout with a duck pond in the middle, surrounded by a green verge. They have some big ducks, and there’s a duck house in the middle. Unfortunately, both the church and Sally’s Cake Emporium were closed, which were the two places I hoped to get a passport stamp for restarting the pilgrimage.

Leaving Otford, I got onto a road called Pilgrim’s Way East, where the North Downs Way separates after a short while. The road had no pavements and was fairly busy with cars, so I put on a hi-vis jacket for safety. After a couple of miles, I reached the village of Kemsing and took a diversion to see a lovely church with a wooden rood screen and bright alter. I left my name in the visitor’s book and got a passport stamp, and saw there’s someone else walking the way ahead of me.

The sun came out, and I sat on a bench and enjoyed the churchyard, with bird song and a tree snowy with blossom, despite traffic noise from a major road not far away.

From there, I took a footpath that led me back to the road, now called Pilgrims Way, which had become single track and was less busy.

It started raining, and my bag got wet, which seeped onto the book I’m reading, but it wasn’t too serious. The road vered off to the right and the Pilgrims Way then followed the North Downs Way ahead. I passed a couple of horses and then a family pushing a buggy, but it was very muddy. The family joked they regretted not bringing their off-road buggy.

I left the way at Wrotham, where I visited St. George’s church, which had a flag flying over the tower, a castle-like tower. Inside were lots of memorial brasses on the flagstones and a large Easter Garden display with figures. A man came to close the church and said that I was lucky to find it open because if it hadn’t been raining, he would have closed it earlier.

After that, I walked a mile or so to the station to catch a train to Maidstone, where I’m staying. Maidstone is a good hub as I can easily reach other places, and it’s fairly cheap. Overall, it was a good day despite feeling a bit sore in my ankle and knee. I met some friendly people, particularly in Wrotham.

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