Lost between Ightam Mote & Knole House (Kent)

It seemed like a wonderful idea: take the train to Sevenoaks, cycle up the hill to Knole House and then through the countryside to Ightam Mote, where I would wander and take lunch, before making my way back to the station.

But oh did I get lost!

Getting to Sevenoaks by train and then up the (steep, long) hill to Knole was fine.  I arrived, however, long before the house was due to open for visits and so I enquired of the visitor centre whether they had any maps of the routes between there and Ightham Mote, just under 5 miles away.  I myself had a rough Googlemap print out but no sat nav (for some reason cycle sat navs are very expensive and I don’t own an iPhone or a phone with 4G).

Knole produced a walking map and I set off around the side of the house (with the walkers) and up the hill.

I went round in a circle, missing the back exit and ending back up at the front door.  45 minutes later.  Over rough parkland on my tiny road bike tyres.  Mmmm.

 I set off again, found the exit onto the road and after another 30 minutes arrived back where I started.

Lots of people were crossing the road to take the walking route, and so I hitched up my bike onto my shoulder and joined them in walking through the woods and fields.  It seemed like hours, along the bottom of the valley eventually, and finally I did arrive a Ightam Mote, exhausted, a bit queezy (by now it was midday and very hot).  I locked up the bike, offered someone else queuing if they wanted to go in for free with my Life Member + Guest National Trust membership (they did, of course), stumbled down the path to the moated house and slumped under a tree by the lake.  For a good 30 minutes.

Recovery time.

So what did I learn?

  1. The walk between Knole and Ightam Mote is very nice.  It’s a full day trip there and back but I recommend it on a dry Spring or Autumn day.
  2. I need to invest in a sat nav for the bike if I am to take longer trips in places I’m not familiar with!
  3. It is very difficult to take attractive photos of either house.

The success of this story is that I did manage to cycle back on the roads from Ightam Mote to Knole.  On arriving at Knole over the undulating landscape I once again felt a little queezy, but I managed to go around the house before heading back to the station.

That was my only long cycle ride last year!  Roberto the Conder cycle only went out once.  I haven’t even been to see him since September, when I put him in his new storage box on the side of the street, 5 minutes walk away (prior to that he had lived in the lounge for 4 years and I finally gave in and put him in cycle storage).  Perhaps if I head out more this year I’ll build up my stamina.  Indeed, I have joined a cycle club, so there is hope.

When visited: July 2015

Websites: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/knole and http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ightham-mote

3 thoughts on “Lost between Ightam Mote & Knole House (Kent)

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