Panther Enthusiasts Club UK
North Kent/East Sussex /Surrey Spring Drive
Sunday April 11th 2010
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This was the drive out that should have happened last year, but which had to be modified because the roads were absolutely clogged by traffic going to the Biggin Hill Air Show. No Problems this year though, even the weather was kind to us. There was a chilly wind, but the sun was shining and as a consequence hoods were down! There were six cars (9 people) on the drive, Terry and Larraine Hockley-Moore, Alec and Mary Bradshaw, Les and Pearl Pratt, Colin Pratt, Duncan Goudge, and Roy Biddle. All were 30 minutes early at our meeting point, which was a garden centre on the A25, so we had a very leisurely cuppa in the tea rooms before setting off.
Note Duncan's new gleaming "Knock Ons". We tried our best to get them dirty for him throughout the drive, but somehow he managed to pick his way around the puddles and mud.
Our route took us through Oxted and Limpsfield where we turned right off the A25 and then via minor country roads to Crowhurst. We stopped at St. Georges church in Crowhurst to have a look at the Yew tree in its grounds. This tree has been designated by the Tree Council as one of the 50 great trees of Britain. Its age is uncertain, but, according to internet articles, is believed to be somewhere between 1000 and 2000 years old. It is hollow and an ideal photo opportunity as you can see from the following.
The cars parked in Crowhurst outside St George's church
The ancient yew is mentioned on many web sites
Photocall completed we returned to our cars and again via the minor roads completed our journey to Hartfield and our lunch time stop at the Hay Waggon Inn (no I haven't spelt Waggon wrongly). We arrived about 11:50 and did something I haven't done since my youth - wait for the pub to open!
We had our second leisurely drink of the day and then went in to dinner. There was a good menu choice and as is usual for this pub the service was good. However, we didn't finish our meal until well after 2pm and decided that there was insufficient time to do Penshurst justice, so opted for plan B, which was a visit to Groombridge Place about 15 minutes away.
Our merry group having just dined and looking half asleep. The separate one of Alec was taken to prove that he was there. he is so often the one on the end of the camera.
Groombridge Place is a fine old medieval moated house which replaced a castle on the same site. It has formal gardens which can be walked around in about 30 minutes and at £8.95 a visit it may not seem good value for money. However, if you fancy a good walk and want to get rid of the kids energy there are acres of non formal grounds with tree walks, dinosaur ponds complete with nests, Indian camps, birds of prey displays and a boat ride on the river which will save your legs a little. In its formal grounds is a little "hut" where Arthur Conan Doyle wrote several of his Sherlock Holmes novels.
However, we conserved our energy for the journey home and confined ourselves to the formal gardens and of course the tea rooms.
We don't believe you Les half that size maybe, but doubtful even then!
One of the peacocks in glorious colour but not in displaying mood.
This is what he can do when he is in the mood!
It was a good day out and our first of the recognised season. Thanks to you all for coming and of course to Alec for lugging around that great big camera and taking most of the pictures.
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