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The sixth of our 2014 series of What’s On walks with expert Geoff Rambler this Saturday goes past a statue of Britain’s wartime PM.

Walk leader Geoff Rambler
Walk leader Geoff Rambler

There’s no better way to reflect on the role the county played in the two world wars during this commemorative year than by exploring the great outdoors amid a friendly, like-minded group.

That’s why What’s On has teamed up with seasoned expert Geoff Rambler – real name Geoff Ettridge – for a series of free, guided group walks. Each one has been carefully planned not only to take in some fascinating locations but also to look back on the impact that particularly the First World War had on the Kent landscape.

A statue of Winston Churchill, on the green at Westerham
A statue of Winston Churchill, on the green at Westerham

This Saturday’s ramble around Westerham area cannot help but pay some attention to the Second World War however, as it takes a route directly past a statue of Britain’s wartime Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill. But it will also focus on his First World War efforts.

“No war-related walk can pass Chartwell [the former family home of Sir Winston Churchill] without reflecting on Churchill’s contribution,” says Geoff. “Although Churchill did not move to Chartwell until 1924 we will use a stop at Chartwell to consider the contribution he made in the First World War both as a politician and a soldier, and also that of his wife Clementine, who volunteered with the YMCA that helped frontline servicemen keep in touch with their families.”

A bridge on the Westerham route
A bridge on the Westerham route

Geoff adds: “We will start the walk with a visit to the grave of Lieutenant Colonel Peter Nissen who, in April 1916, invented the semicircular corrugated huts that became known as Nissen Huts. These could be rapidly erected by six men in fours hours and quickly provided much needed accommodation for the large numbers of troops and equipment being moved to mainland Europe.

“As we walk through woodland the opportunity will be taken to explain why the Forestry Commission was set up. As we pass through Crockham Hill there will be an opportunity to visit the memorial to Octavia Hill, a social reformer, philanthropist, and co-founder of the National Trust.”

Crockham Hill village sign
Crockham Hill village sign

This weekend's walk


Saturday, August 30 departing at 10am

A 7.5-mile circular walk. Park and meet in the ticketed car park on the Sevenoaks side of Westerham, postcode TN16 1AS.

Geoff says: “Allow at least four hours for the walk. Even if we complete it quicker you may want to take refreshments or explore Westerham before heading for home.

“This walk is strenuous in places, which could be challenging for novice walkers, but the exertions are well-rewarded with some fantastic views.”

He adds: “This is a mixed ramble, taking in pastures, woodlands and Chartwell. We will take a short break at Chartwell. There will not be time to visit the house or grounds during the walk, but perhaps you can return after the walk?”

Ramble read

Geoff Rambler’s real name is Geoff Ettridge, but as an accomplished walking leader of more than 10 years, the nickname stuck.

This 2014 series of walks on the First World War theme features in his book If Walks Could Talk, available now for a minimum donation of £5. Proceeds go to the Royal British Legion.

If Walks Could Talk is available from www.geofframbler.co.uk and is also stocked by Cotswold Outdoor Leisure stores in their Newnham Court, Maidstone, and Orpington stores.

Walks diary

All are circular walks which take place on a Saturday and depart at 10am.

August 30, Westerham

7.5-mile walk from The Green.

September 27, Maidstone

4-mile walk from the East Maidstone railway station.

October 25, Throwley

4.5-mile walk from The Red Lion, Badlesmere.

November 29, Sheerness

6-mile walk from Sheerness railway station.

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