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Blue Bell Hill
Blue Bell Hill is situated between Maidstone and Rochester in Kent,
on a chalk hill overlooking the upper part of the River Medway. The
picnic site, which has parking for about 20 cars, gives a
spectacular panoramic view over the Medway Valley. The grassy slope
leads down to a metal paling fence, behind which grow numerous
shrubby trees, and just visible at certain angles is the chalky
cliff face of a disused quarry.
Another quarry can be seen in the
near foreground, overgrown and no doubt home to much native
wildlife. With binoculars you may get a glimpse of rabbits living in
undisturbed seclusion. The quarries were worked in the 18th and 19th
centuries. On the far side of the meandering river is the village of Snodland.
To the right, long walks lead off along the North Downs Way with
more magnificent views of the "Garden of England”, contrasting with
the closer pleasures of the wild chalkland flowers, grasses, shrubs
A camera is a must in order to continue the enjoyment at
home, and there are many photo-opportunities to improve the
composition, with a framing of leaves and branches to increase the
sense of depth and distance.
At the picnic site there is a memorial stone, erected in memory of
three members of Kent Air Ambulance Service who lost their lives in
a helicopter crash near the village of Burham. The men's dedicated
service with Kent Air Ambulance saved the lives of many people.
I have never seen bluebells here, but the name possibly refers to a
blue bell which was used to summon horses to draw vehicles up the
hill between Maidstone and Chatham. This is a very quiet and
peaceful place and only the desire to avoid rush hour traffic
encourages us to leave and head for home. (300 words)
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Petts Wood in the London
Borough of Bromley was developed as a planned suburb in the 1930’s.
The railway station was built first and then the houses and
community grew up around it, aimed at those working in Central
London, providing high quality housing near to the City, but with
one foot in the country.
Unfortunately, with the spread of the
suburb, the open countryside is now a little further away! However,
it is still a very pleasant and green area, and its spaciousness is
very noticeable when one returns after driving through other areas
closer to the City.
Petts Wood is named after Phineas Pett who was born in Deptford in
1570. He became a shipbuilder at Chatham, rising to the position of
First Commissioner and promoted by King Charles to Principal Officer
of the Navy. Timber from Petts Wood was sent to Chatham for the
The woodland remains intact, covering 338 acres, and
is managed by the National Trust. This is a valuable recreational
asset, along with many other smaller parks and open green spaces.
“The Sovereign of the Seas” pub is named after a ship that Phineas
William Willett lived in nearby Chislehurst and is known for
promoting the idea of daylight saving. While out riding his horse in
Petts Wood, he noticed how many houses had their blinds drawn during
the early morning sunlight, and this inspired him to start his
campaign, with the aim of saving fuel costs.
The idea first
originated with New Zealander George Hudson, but Willett’s fame
comes from his successful promotion of the idea, persuading the
government of its benefits.
The adoption of the scheme in 1916 was
mainly encouraged by the outbreak of the First World War and the
need to save coal. Willett is commemorated by a sundial in the
woodland, the road name of Willett Way, and the pub "The Daylight
Inn." (317 words)
sign and Scadbury Park noticeboard
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