Last weekend for a few hours the sun came out and everywhere began to look a lot brighter. The evenings have been getting a little lighter and very slowly, it feels like spring might be around the corner. Ian decided that he wanted to do some work in the house but I felt the need to get outside and decided to go out for a ride on the bike. (It could also have been because the last time Ian and I did a ride from his house it was just before Christmas and there was a thick fog everywhere. I tried to convince him that it would soon clear, but an hour into the ride there was no sign of it lifting! In fact, it became freezing fog and by the time we made it home we were both so cold we could barely speak! We saw nothing and our bikes, clothes and faces were covered in a thick sticky coating of salt! Yuk!) Anyway, I didn't let the previous experience put me off and set out on my own. My ride took me over the M25 and along the Rivers Darent and Cray. You wouldn't expect to find a great deal of wildlife and history so close to such a built up area, but in places it is actually quite pretty and hidden among the old council estates are some interesting buildings and places. I stopped off in Farmingham, as it always looks so pretty and out of place as it is only about 100 metres from the A20. This is the view from the bridge looking over the river.
According to Wikepedia
"Farningham is believed to be home to Neolithic history - flint and other tools have been discovered and can be found in the Dartford Museum. The Romans occupied the general area after their invasion in the first century and, along with large evidence of habitation down the road in Lullingstone, there is also evidence of Roman habitation in Farningham. Three farmhouses and three villas have been unearthed. Charles Dickens was a visitor during his time for the trout fishing that the Darent provided."
If you look closely at this picture you will see that Charles Dickens would not have much luck today! The Darent is a tributary of the Thames and is also known as Dartford Creek, which doesn't sound so good! There are lots of old mills along the river, a sign of it past uses. Again, according to Wikepedia
"A mill has been on this site since Domesday. In the fifteenth century the mill was in the possession of the Roper family, Sir Anthony Roper being charged with "pulling down and allowing the watermill to decay and become uninhabited" in 1636. He was ordered to rebuild the mill within two years. The present building built by the Colyers dates to c.1780. The mill was a corn mill; the converted building survives. A curious feature is that the door on the north side of the east face is painted on, to look symmetrical with the real door. The mill was latterly worked by a turbine which drove a saw mill in its final years of operation. The mill last worked for trade in 1900"
I think watermills are great; such a good source of natural energy. It would be wonderful to think that one day these mills would be rebuilt and used again.
Anyway, I had a nice morning riding my bike and finding out all about the local history.
for more details!