It was James’ birthday on Saturday and as is customary in our house, the birthday boy/girl chooses what we do for the day. James choice was a walk through the Oare Marshes, spotting birds. This would not have been my choice but fortified with far too many hot cross buns we set off for Oare, which is near Faversham in N Kent near the Isles of Sheppey.
The acclaimed gastro pub, The Three Mariners in Oare was fully booked for lunch so we drove on to Faversham. I have never been to Faversham before and what a lovely surprise it was. It has such a history and so many of the buildings here are very old.
The council offices are in this beautiful building in the centre of the high street. The market extended beneath the building. Look how charming this is. As you would expect in a town with a long history, there is a wide variety of architectural styles. Plus lots of interesting signs to read such as this one
Faversham is the home of Shepherd Neame, Britains oldest brewery which has been going since 1698. This was the old brewery building. Shepherd Neame has since relocated to larger buildings just outside Faversham.
We wandered around a little and chose to eat in one of the Sherpherd Neame pubs, the Bear Inn on the high street which has been here since 1487!
We chose a cosy corner in this ancient pub. You enter the pub along a corridor and then choose one of three sections to sit in. The bar runs along the length of the pub but the floor to almost ceiling wooden panels separate the seating area which makes it very cosy (not the blue painted panel, that just creates a booth). These panels which are decorated with dried hops. It was a delightful pub and one in which I would very happily spend a long evening another time. The food was not quite so delightful. it was ok and I would eat there again but I would not go there for the food. I had a fish pie with cheesey mash which was good but it was spoilt by the over boiled vegetables. I can never resist treacle sponge and custard! Again, more school dinner than gastro pub in quality but enjoyable nevertheless. Time to head to the marshes at Oare which are next to the Swale Estuary which separates North Kent from the Isles of Sheppey. It was sunny and mild but very windy and the current looked strong in the sea. Oops ! The landscape here is beautiful. Flat and expansive with water running in little inlets, some natural and many man made.Walking was easy along the sea wall and we all really enjoyed the fresh air and scenery.
Few plants survive the harsh winters out here but this one, Teasel, does well. So called because it was used many years ago to tease the wool in to long strands for weaving. This jetty has been reclaimed by the salt flats. The birthday boy enjoyed the views and managed a few snaps but nothing spectacular today. Bird photography is more of a solitary pursuit so success was always unlikely with the three of us as companions. Baa. As you would expect in this region, there were plenty of sheep. Penned in with a variety of charming fences. There was a wonderful sense of space out here which was very enjoyable and such a pleasant contrast to working in a big City. These were more surprising. We did not expect to see Highland Cattle in the Oare Marshes. Maybe they didn’t expect to see us either. This one blends in rather well with the colours here.
We all enjoyed our day in Faversham and walking through the Oare Marshes. We will definitely go back and next time, walk a different route as we realised at the end we had not walked near the lake in the centre of the marshes which would have given better bird watching opportunities. But we will all fondly remember the pub, the landsacpe and the lovely walk.
Have a very Happy Easter.