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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 end at the crossing of the Woodnesborough Road in a reed bed…..
…. and the ROPEWALK begins.
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.
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.
One last look back along the ropewalk before…..
…. 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.
Right. Thats all for now.