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West Kent – Tudeley circular walk – 7th November, 2021

This month's walk was from Tudeley, near Tonbridge. A lovely sunny autumnal day for our easy 8 miler, meeting at the All Saints' Church. Luckily, we had the opportunity to look inside the church before setting off, to see the beautiful stained glass windows designed by the Russian artist, Marc Chagall. The East window is a memorial tribute to Sarah d'Avigdor-Goldsmid who died, aged 21, in a sailing accident off Rye.

Sarah was the daughter of Sir Henry and Lady d'Avigdor-Goldsmid; the family then lived at the fine Jacobean house, Somerhill (now a school), which is situated nearby. Chagall was initially only going to design this one window but, on seeing the church at Tudeley, was so enthralled that he went on to design the remaining 11 windows. The chancel windows were finally installed in 1985, the year of Chagall's death at the age of 98 (replacing Victorian glass, now cunningly backlit by a specially designed lightbox installed in the vestry).

I'm not arty-farty at all but if you get the chance, the church is well worth a visit, just to see the windows.

Back to the walk! We crossed typical Kentish countryside...arable farmland, wide fields and orchards before approaching the river Medway, where we stopped for lunch on a bridge. After lunch, we continued across the flood plains and near flooded gravel pits, now the home to many birds, before reaching the car park back in Tudeley. As is now customary, we had plenty of time for a drink, this time at the nearby Poacher & Partridge pub. Thanks to everyone that joined us who made the day so enjoyable. Thanks also go to Leo Sturgeon who expertly led the walk. What a great day out !

Colin Turner.


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