The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Friday 9 November 2018

Botley Hill (270m, TQ387551) and Detling Hill (200m, TQ804586)

Looking at my blog, it looks like I haven't been for a walk since the beginning of August. There has, of course, been some walking, but nothing of a nature worth writing about. Mainly I have been running, including, at the end of September, a trot that earned me a bit of bling (and much proudness for achieving a half-marathon time of which I didn't think myself yet capable):

I'm a bit limited for running routes at home, such that if I want to cover more than 3 miles, then the canal tow path is the obvious place to go. Heading north it is rough, grassy, muddy and rooty; to the south some of it has a reasonable surface. However, I've grown increasingly bored of that canal over the last couple of months (and have got too up close and personal with it on a couple of occasions, arriving home with bloody elbows and knees). So, it's nice to have a change of scene. Yestereday I took myself off along a nice Voie Verte (disused railway line, now a traffic free leisure route) near the town of Neufch√Ętel-en-Bray in Normandy.

There aren't any buildings like this on my local running routes.

Anyway, that's not what this post is meant to be about, which is the fact that on our travels this week I managed to tick off another two Marilyns. 'Tick off' is about the size of it too; neither of these was a hill that has any merit for a special visit other than its presence on a particular list.

The first was Botling Hill, and many a Marilyn-bagger has driven right up to the top. That wasn't a feasible option in Bertie and after a grand tour of the local roads from the comfort of my armchair, via StreetView, we opted to park in Oxted and walk the 1.6 miles each way.

If ignoring the noise of the motorway, it was a pleasant enough walk through farmland and woods, with some good views at one point. As for the summit, it was somewhat lacking in merit:

I do take Mick to some attractive summits!

Mick didn't join me as I trespassed into the adjacent field just incase the ground on the other side of the compound was higher:

Detling Hill, by Maidstone, is another of those 'if I'd known then what I know now' hills, in that we passed within 300m of its summit when we walked Kent to Cape Wrath in 2010. On that basis, I didn't feel too bad about not making this visit into a proper walk, but instead settling for a bagging-raid.

As Maidstone Borough Council has decided that vehicles over 2m high aren't to be trusted in the White Horse Woods car park (even though there are also gates that are closed at night, and substantial banks all around the car park to prevent travellers from accessing the grassed areas), we had to park in the large layby adjacent to the A249 - a road not dissimilar to a busy motorway. There Mick waited whilst I discovered that the nearest public footpath that leads to the summit (only about 100m distant) has obviously been unpassable for quite some years, resulting in a possible bit of trespass and an adventure through brambles and woods. I was glad that no dog walker (or indeed anyone) was passing as I crawled out (quite literally) from under this hawthorn bush:

Having visited the piece of ground that has been adjudged to be marginally higher than that surrounding it...

An even less inspiring summit than Botling Hill
...I opted for a longer return route, via the barred-to-Bertie car park and the verge of the A249.

So, two hills not worthy of this many words, but having put them off for so long on the basis of 'we pass multiple times per year, I can do them any time', I'm glad to have visited them.


  1. I had set off from my caravan in Salisbury and did four Ms on 23rd April 201 including your two - from my blog, unfortunately blogger has taken away the photos:

    "I was conscious of getting further and further east from my caravan, but reckoned I could squeeze in Botley Hill (TQ 396 553) because it was actually on the side of a road. It turned out to be about three metres from the road on the other side of a barbed wire fence which was easily straddled.

    It was now decision time. North Downs (TQ 804 586) is the most easterly Marilyn in south England and logistically a problem. If I tackled it now it would probably save me a whole day later but it was a long way - not far off The Channel Tunnel !

    Hard driving on the M25 and M26 eventually got me to this popular dog walking spot perched in the top of the North Downs.

    More hard driving for over two hours saw me back at Salisbury and welcome beers, thoughtfully stashed in the fridge before departure, with accomplishment of the statistics shown in the title herewith."

    I thought I'd missed one when I read your blog until I realised that Detling Hill had the alternative name of north downs.

    1. That corner of England does seem to have more than its fair share of 'Marilyns Lacking In Merit' doesn't it (although perhaps I'm being unfair, as the area surrounding these two was very nice; it was the summits themselves that were lacking). At least your trip (as I recall it) did include other tops that were more pleasing.

  2. That made me chuckle, crawled out from under a bush. You are in an area which I know little about, apart from recognizing names from years ago when passing in my lorry.

    1. As I crawled under that bush it put me in mind of all of the times (an embarrassing number) that I've found myself crawling through the dense conifers of a commercial plantation, every time cursing myself for the route I've chosen to take. Apparently, I'll never learn!

      What I didn't mention in this post is that, aside from having walked past Detling Hill during our K2CW walk in 2010, back in the 1990s I lived, for a couple of years, only a few miles away from it - so I was once familiar with this area, even if it is becoming more of a blur as the years go on.

  3. Nope, you will never learn, chuckle.

    1. I suppose I have learnt one importany lesson: that it is never a good idea to bash through a commercial plantation. I've just failed to learn that I should apply that knowledge always, without exception.

    2. *important. Where's autocorrect when you need it, eh?

  4. Won't hear a word said against Detling Hill - slightly surprised to discover it is a Marilyn though. Next time, if there is one, park at the Black Horse, Thurnham, and walk up past Thurnham Castle, for a much more scenic walk.
    Lovely to see you both, feel free to park up here on the way home

    1. My initial thought was that we walked the route past Thurnham Castle on our Kent to Cape Wrath walk in 2010. However, having no recollection of it, I've just referred to the relevant blog post and found that we stopped for lunch in the pub in Thurnham, then shortcut the next section of the NDW. I now feel better that I didn't previously miss this top by just 300m as I thought ... but then if I'd realised that three weeks ago, I would have made more effort to make this trip into more than just a stop-and-bag.

      Thanks for your offer, but this time we're returning early in a morning and heading straight for a booking we've got in London.