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Fowlmead, a Coal Mine & Buzzards Walk

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© Simple Life / Simon Pollard
© Simple Life / Simon Pollard
© Simple Life / Simon Pollard
© Simple Life / Simon Pollard

Walk Details
The walk is circular and passes through farmland, the old mine workings of Betteshanger Colliery and the estate lands of Lord Northbourne. Park in the public car park next to Betteshanger Social Club and head off along the path next to the club, you will see on your right-hand side the transformers on the old colliery site, still used and visible.

As you head towards Northbourne you pass the derelict buildings of the old packhouses which remain visible (just) and give an amazing insight as to how quickly nature will reclaim that which we miss.

Check out the huge holm oaks and the massive ‘N’s’ on the old gates in the massive old estate wall as you pass through Northbourne playing fields on the way into the village. You are passing through the ancestral home and grounds of Lord Northbourne and it was managed for shooting, now ended, and for salad crops, (packed locally for many supermarket chains). The walk descends to its lowest points passing through the old Fowlmead Estuary, now largely inhabited by cows and their calves.

The path wanders along the North Stream and is surrounded by many ancient hawthorn trees that tell by their existence of how the land use has not changed much over the years. Buzzards can commonly be seen and heard during this stretch of ground, along with herons and little egrets. The land frequently gets a little boggy during damp periods, although it is passable with good walking footwear.

Traditionally the sea used to come through these fields on its way to Mongeham and Ripple. As you return to Betteshanger you pass through the old spoil heaps, now rewilded with many colonising species of trees and shrubs such as silver birch, alder, gorse and buddleia, often a skeleton for the climbing fronds of old man’s beard and wild roses. There are picturesque lakes teeming with fish, carp and goldfish are abundant, A play area and a skate park have been installed for the younger generations. The old mine buildings are now used to host local businesses.

Author: Simple Life / Simon Pollard

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Carpark: Circular Rd, Betteshanger, Deal CT14 0LT

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