On a free day, we decided to travel towards Maidstone, Kent’s County Town, to take Ollie to The White Horse Country Park. From the website, it looked like the kind of place that he would enjoy, and would provide us with a place in pleasant surroundings, to enjoy a few hours in the bright weather.
As it turned out, it was rather small, so disappointing in that respect. The trails and paths took less than an hour to walk around, and there is no place to take any refreshments. However, the high elevation provided excellent views across the North Weald of Kent. Unfortunately, the view was too hazy for good photos, not helped by the busy M20 motorway, situated close by.
The big plus of the trip, was the presence of the ruins of Thurnham Castle. This was originally built in the 12th century by the Norman lord, Robert de Thurnham, who accompanied Richard the Lionheart to the Crusades, and had notable service there. By 1309, it was already in a state of disrepair, having been abandoned for more fashionable areas not too far away. In modern times, the Motte and Bailey fortification has become little more than a ruin. However, it is very evocative of the Norman invasion, and it is plain to see that it was sited in an excellent place from which to dominate the surrounding countryside.
Julie and Ollie, in what would have been a ditch, or flooded moat.
The old walls in close-up. They have been there since around 1133.
Despite being such a short walk, the park is well-maintained, and the castle alone was worth the visit.