Location: Great Farthingloe Farm
Date: 6th September 2023
Blog Written by: Helen (Walk Leader)
A lovely sunny morning by the seafront.
We headed off towards Walmer Castle and immediately spotted lots of snails snoozing on the stalks of sweet fennel.
Further on, we looked at the wild carrot plants and how they curl up after flowering into a bird’s nest shape. We went towards the sea on a concrete path across the shingle and identified various native and non-native plants including a narrow-leaved ragwort from South Africa, old man’s beard and red valerian.
Laura told us that as a child in Latvia, she used to collect the velcro like seedheads from burdock and push them together to make things like teddy bear shapes. We both knew how to make itching powder from wild rose hips. A skill learnt by naughty children across all of Northern Europe!
Tony pointed out his summer residence to us (Walmer Castle - if only). The black canons looked resplendent with their red stoppers and we imagined what cocktails on that terrace would be like.
Turning back towards Deal we avoided the scarlet beetles crossing our path. Further research reveals that they were firebugs, a recent arrival from Europe and they live on tree mallow - also known as Lavatera. There were loads of mallow plants flowering either side of the coastal path. Apparently fire beetles are very stinky if you crush them, so it was lucky that Julie carefully navigated around the scampering critters.
We had a look at the monument to Julius Caesar, who attempted his first invasion of the British Isles in AD55. Local folklore held that this spot was where his thousands of soldiers came ashore to be fought by the Britons, however archaeologists now say he landed at Pegwell Bay.
We then carried on to the lovely cafe (a prettily converted Victorian public loos block) and enjoyed their delicious prawn sandwiches and sausage baps in the sun.
Suitably refreshed, we headed back to the car park, a good day had by all.
📸 Image credits: Laura & Helen
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