SANDWICH SPRINGTIME WALK

Springtime has emerged full throttle. Blossoms blossoming, flowers insinuating through the greening undergrowth, ducks ducking and ducklinging, with the trees shaking out their greening branches.

Its 5:00 and the sun, preparing to settle down in a couple of hours is throwing shafts of back lit horizontal gold across the lot. Time for a walk.

This preambulation starts at the end of Delf Street which plays host to the Delf Stream running along its length. The Delf Stream was, until 1894 when the Mayor died of typhoid, the only source of water for Sandwich. In theory it supplied the town’s drinking water, hopefully at the top end, and carried sewage away at the lower end, but in the unfortunate Mayor’s case, not always.

So here we are, at the bottom of Delf Street by HORSE POND SLUICE, one of the many sluice gates installed by Dutch Water Engineers in the 15th century so that fields could be irrigated, water diverted for brewing beer and, as the name suggests, a place for washing horses and cattle not just for sale but butchering as well.

No horses or cattle this days…. just a few ducks having a paddle.

DUCKS & DELF HR

Further up Loop Street and we meet the lazy Delf Stream on its way to join up with the BUTTS STREAM at SOUTH POLDERS SLUICE where it progresses on towards the Stour River and on out to the channel.

DELF STREAM 2  HR

Here is the BUTTS STREAM which runs alongside the present Cricket Grounds but back in 1384 it formed the western stretch of the old town defenses and used as a Long Bow practice field. Every man over 12 years of age was expected to practice the longbow on Sundays after attending church.

BUTTS CRICKET 1 HR

It is here, so it is said, that the English Longbow Archers had their final practice before setting off with Henry V in 1415 during the Hundred Years War to win the decisive battle of Agincourt. So legend has it, the famous reverse victory sign of two fingers stuck up in the air dates back to this time because if a longbow archer was caught by the enemy, the first thing that happened was that their two right hand digits were cut off rendering them useless for effective longbowing. Standing below the walls the longbow archers would hold up their two intact digits with a roar of challenging abuse.

LONGBOWMEN HR

Right, lets promenade along the butts which are what remain of the original defensive walls which would have been much higher and topped by wooden palisades to deter the numerous attacks on the town by our now friendly European neighbours.

After Brexit. Who knows?

THE BUTTS START HR

The slope down to the Butts stream which forms a lazy green lawn where many ducks, pigeons, gulls, moorhens and little grebes as well as gulls and pigeons vie for the attention of families throwing them bread crumbs which is where they must be down the other end as there are none visible here. Sorry.

THE BUTTS 3 HRTHE BUTTS 1  HR

The Butts end at the crossing of the Woodnesborough Road in a reed bed…..

REEDS HR

…. and the ROPEWALK begins.

ROPE WALK DOWN 2 HR

The ROPEWALK gets is name because after the defensive palisades were removed and Sandwich became the second largest trading port in England, this long straight stretch was perfect for ropemaking which required long stretches for ‘walking out’ the strands of rope and stretching them taught.

ROPE WALK DOWN HR

Along this stretch the bright sunlight back lights the trees and blossoms and lifts the spring blooms out of their leafy beds….. Lets enjoy some ‘impressions’ of the evening’s springtime glory.

BA8 HR

BA 4 HR

BLUEBELLS 2 HR

BA 3 HR

BA 9 HR

QUEEN ANNE LACE HR

One last look back along the ropewalk before…..

ROPE WALK BACK HR

…. progressing along King Street back into town with a quick look down into the turgid beginning of the Delf Stream’ s progression through Sandwich. Fortunately, the Mayor won’t have to sample this…. But the colours are lovely.

DELF RIVER HR

Right. Thats all for now.

CLAMATIS HR

Comments: 5

  1. I do hope lots of people see this glimpse of Sandwich wonderment at the most beautiful time of year, made possible because of the trees in early tender leaf and profuse blossoming! Thank you Jim Marshall for this magnificent meander along our delightful watery places!

  2. Fresh water for a town is essential so someone created The Delf Stream. This entered the town from the south from Roaring Gutter, fresh and potable, and made its way past Worth and along the Deal Road where it was used for washing animals to be ready for market.”

    “Northwards up New Street where it was used as drinking water, for human washing and for waste disposal.
    It flowed under No Name Street and then along Delf Street to Horsepond Sluice for equine watering and washing.”

    “Next around the corner to the Tannery where it was refreshed with leather dyes and mercury.”
    “Onwards past the abattoir where nourishing blood and guts were added, along the Butts where more animals were washed then under the Canterbury Road to Gallows Field to trickle past the corpses of executed criminals.”

    “Before it was discharged into the Great Stour some of it was extracted to be used to make the local Sandwich Ale; a rich brew known to put hairs on your chest (men only) and put an end to all ills. Usually by killing you.”

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