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Kits Coty

In the morning, I tacked down. I had been boxed in for most of the days, so as soon as it was clear, I moved forward, filling the space to keep anyone from boxing me in. There was also the issue of needing a wide swing to get out and turn right out of the car park. I had to make sure that no-one could impede me. Once Rowan was home, she settled in the truck, I strapped down the makeshift steps and we were off.


We headed back up to Challock, where I turned left. Within 100 yards or so, there is a farm shop called The Barn Shop, a lovely, friendly place. I pulled in and got some groceries. The Barn Shop is the farm shop where I had got my gas refill. The shop that is apparently also so badly treated by Calor Gas Limited.* I took time to chat with the staff and proprietor. Our farewells said, I continued on to Charring, where I turned London-bound on the A20. We continued on to Bearstead. The truck still didn’t appear to be running right. With that in mind, I stopped for fuel.


Opposite the petrol station, I followed a road called Yeoman Lane that heads in a northerly direction towards the railway. At the end of the road there is a staggered junction. On that junction is a tiny row of shops. The shop that caught my eye was the butcher. There was enough room for me to park, leaving plenty of room for passing traffic. I went in to get some offal for Rowan, some chicken to share and some sausages for me. There also happened to be a baker, too. So, I got some cakes.


Back behind the wheel, I turned up Thurnham Lane, under the railway and up towards my target, Thurnham Castle. A 12th. Century castle, now in ruins. The road soon becomes very steep. It didn’t take long before I was down to 1st. gear. At this point, the engine comes into its own. It just chugs up just like a tractor. Only this time, she appeared to be struggling! Inevitably, we came to a halt, unable to get up the hill. Then the clutch started slipping. I had no choice. I had to reverse my way slowly and gingerly back down the steep hill! Fortunately, there was a lane a short distance back that I backed into so that I could turn around.


I began to think that I must be overweight. In the meantime, I needed somewhere to park. I remembered that White Horse Wood on Detling Hill backs onto Thurnham Castle. Without thinking any more, I headed for it. Climbing Detling Hill was fraught with worry that we wouldn’t make it. Fortunately, we did. As the road is a busy dual carriageway connecting the M2 and M20 motorways, we had to transit the entire length from motorway to motorway in order to do a U-turn, due to the entrance into White Horse Wood being on the opposite carriageway.


But lo! This was not my day! Another frigging height barrier! I had forgotten that Michael and I had previously researched that and with the stress of everything going against me, it didn’t occur to me to check before I left Thurnham Lane. Fortunately, just past the junction leading into the woods, there is a layby. I pulled in. Carefully! Huge potholes littered the layby. I spent a good while searching on the satellite map for a suitable spot to park, nearby. Time was also getting on.


I found a layby that was off the road, just off of Blue Bell Hill. I headed straight for it. I found it quick enough. It wasn’t what I envisioned. To start with, it’s on a significant hill! Thinking that I’d had enough, I decided that I would put up with the steep incline for one night, I swung into the layby. Once parked up, I put the kettle on and skinned a much needed bifter. I started thinking about what had happened that day. I sat and worked out a guesstimation of what the truck and trailer weighed. I was shocked at coming to the conclusion that I was overweight by around 800Kg. I had to shed some weight! I concluded that the addition of the trailer that my caravan now sits atop has put the whole vehicle overweight. I contacted Michael and discussed it with him. Froggy, yet again, came to the rescue! He turned up a couple of days later and took as much as I thought that I needed to shed. He has space to store what was offloaded. We shed the weight by removing everything that I did not need; everything I was unlikely to need until my return to the area. The cubit space taken up is very small and I was assured that it would not impede on Froggy’s access to his own belongings.



The next morning, there was a knock at the door. Some people were outside. One asked me whether I had lost any dogs. There were two St. Bernard dogs, one of which was wearing a harness, roaming about. They were wandering in and out of the adjacent field and into the busy road, causing all sorts of traffic issues. I suggested contacting the police. They would organise them being rounded up and taken to safety. From what I could make out, the dogs had been roaming about since as early as 7am. They were finally caught around mid- afternoon and taken to a local vet to look after until the owners could be located.


The door was knocked upon several times that day. Including by some litter pickers. We chatted for a bit and I ended up handing out leaflets. Litter pickers are wonderful people. They voluntarily go out and walk the hedges and byways clearing all the rubbish ignorant people throw out of their passing vehicles.


Whilst stranded, I blew through the fuel line, checked the filters, etc. and tried to pull away again. Finally, I conceded that the clutch was naff. I hadn't considered it before as the clutch hasn't done 2,000 miles. It was likely the cause of all the issues the truck had been experiencing. Thinking about it, I remembered a strange squealing noise coming from beneath the truck about a month previously. At the time, I put it down to one of the prop bearings. Something that I was going to deal with while parked somewhere suitable, hopefully near my mum’s home.


Just a 150yrds or so down the hill, the North Downs Way crosses the road. The Pilgrims Way also crosses the road at this point, crossing the North Downs Way close by.



I walked down to it, then turned right onto the Way and headed up along the avenued footpath.



After a few hundred yards, a gap opens on the left revealing a path to a megalithic burial chamber.



Kits Coty is an early Neolithic chambered long barrow. Kits Coty probably means Tomb in the Forest. Kent would then have been primarily forest.




There are some great views from here.




In the distance Burham Downs can be seen.




Kits Coty is one of a number of barrows in the area, known as the Medway Megaliths. Three are close together. The Coffin Stone is surrounded by a vineyard. There doesn’t appear to be any easy access to it. The vineyard being entirely fenced in by an 8’ fence and locked gates of a similar height. The gates had the added protection of a padlocked chain!


I continued down the hedged road, keeping well in and facing the oncoming traffic. At a safe point, I crossed the road, where, through a metal kissing gate, access to Little Kits Coty affords itself. Little Kits Coty is another megalithic burial chamber. This one however, has long since collapsed.






*see entry Mountain Street

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