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Pett Level

Updated: Nov 8, 2022

The problem with where we were parked is that it is also a very popular site, particularly for dog walkers. After saying that, every dog that I saw, and there were a lot, was well behaved. I had no qualms whatsoever. Unfortunately for Rowan though, it was far too busy! On the day that I wanted to move on Rowan had gone out in the early morning. As the hours ticked by I became more and more concerned. I started thinking all sorts of nonsense that I perhaps wouldn’t have a week previous.

By about 5 o’clock things had quietened down. It was the ideal moment to leave. Still no sign of Rowan, though. I grabbed a bag of cat biscuits and headed straight to where I felt that she would be. I reached a certain point along a quiet little lane and stopped. I felt that I had gone too far. I stepped back and started calling. All of a sudden, I heard a little meow. I called back, following her calls, which became closer as she also followed my calls, until we were face to face as she appeared from the dense woodland along the edge of the lane. Relieved, we trotted back together and were soon ready for the off.

We headed out, turning right onto the main road and dropping down Battery Hill to the Levels. Once through the little village there are a lot of laybys along the coast road. I spotted one that was particularly sizeable and away from the road. As I pulled in I slowed to a crawl, slower than walking speed. There were huge potholes. More like craters, really!

Pett Level is so called for the obvious reason that it is at sea level. I don’t know where the name, Pett comes from, though. There is also the village of Pett on the hill to the west-northwest of the Level.

Although there appears to be nothing at Pett Level, there is actually a lot. The beach is the location of the dance scene ‘Will You, Won't You Join the Dance’ from that brilliant interpretation of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ by Jonathan Miller. It is also the location that the David Bowie video of his 1980 hit ‘Ashes to Ashes’ was filmed.

What for me was a blustery walk along the sea wall back towards the village, reveals the wide open expanse of Rye Bay washing along the pebble shore and terrific views across the levels to the Rother Levels and the Isle of Oxney farther on.

Looking East is Dungeness Point and to the west is the chalk cliff of the country park I had just left.

Along the beach hundreds of Sea Kale grow. I picked plenty to keep me going.

At low tide, the wreck of HMS Anne is revealed. She was scuttled after being badly damaged in an engagement with the French in 1690. She lies on top of an 8,000 year old sunken forest, which is also revealed at low tide. The tide was in when I was walking by. I have seen them in the past, at a time when I lived in Hastings.

I walked as far as was possible, reaching the clff edge of the country park.

I crossed to the village and made my way back alongside the Royal Military Canal. The canal starts and ends here. It was constructed during the Napoleonic Wars and runs through the marshes to a place called Seabrook, near Folkestone.

There is a WWII lookout post sat on Toot Rock.

Below, there was an abundance of fruiting Hawthorn.

The next day we had squally rain. The lady who had given me the devastating news, Hayley, and her friend, the brave Angel, Val, who had witnessed the horror, came to visit. We had been communicating for a few days and it had been agreed that they would visit for a cup of tea. I think it did us all good to sit together for a bit, cathartic, even. They also brought treats for Rowan and didn’t waste any time meeting her, which of course, Rowan loved.


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