Walk of the week – Perry Hill, Kent

The "pulpit" marks the spot where a semaphor tower once stood

The “pulpit” marks the spot where a semaphore tower once stood

We asked our facebook fans where they would like us to feature as walks of the week – and one of the answers was Kent. True to our word – today we’re giving you a walk of the week in Kent. Today’s location is Perry Hill, which is situated about 5 miles west of Canterbury.

Distance: 7.88miles (12.69km)
Time: 2 hours 45mins
Map: OS Explorer Map 149 – Sittingbourne & Faversham

OS Maps

Before we set off for our walk though we’re going to have a bit of history lesson. Before electricity semaphore was used to transmit messages long distance. A network of semaphore towers were created across the country (and abroad) where message could be transmitted along the route. The towers had paddles (also known as blades or shutters) that pivoted. When these were fixed in a certain position it was an encoded message to be passed from one tower to the next. Passing messages in this style was quicker that using an outrider and more expensive and less private than what would come next to replace them – the electrical telegraph wires. The system was also dependent on weather as you need good visibility between the semaphore stations.

There were chains of semaphore stations set up across the the country – from Liverpool to Holyhead, London to Great Yarmouth, London to Portsmouth, London to Plymouth, London to Sheerness and London to Deal. Today our walk is taking us to see where one of these stations was situated on the London to Deal line.

Sadly the original structure for the semaphore station no longer remains – but where it once stood is a wooden lookout tower known locally as the “pulpit”. From here you get spectacular views across the Kent countryside in all directions.

Our walk today is a circular walk that should take you just under 3 hours to walk. The starting point is the car park / picnic spot at Perry Wood (TR044556). From the car park we head south, into Perry Woods where we see the pulpit. From here we continue walking south along the footpath towards Shottenden. From here we head in a south-westerly direction, bypassing several farms as we head towards Molash where at the church we head north along the footpath. We’re walking for about an hour along this path (it’ll be about 3 miles) when we come to Hogben’s Hill. Here we head east, along Vicarage Lane until the footpath diverts us off the road and across the fields towards Selling. We’re back walking along the roadside in Selling until we pick up the footpath again that takes us back in a southerly direction and back to the car.

Let us know if you’ve spotted other former semaphore towers on walks that you’ve been on – where have they been?

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  1. Pingback : Into the woods, then out of the woods and home…before…dark | Artsmonkeys Blog

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