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Visit Shoreham, hidden gem of the Darent Valley

PUBLISHED: 12:46 12 June 2018

The Brown Argus has a row of orange spots along the outer edges of its wings (photo: Grant Hazlehurst)

The Brown Argus has a row of orange spots along the outer edges of its wings (photo: Grant Hazlehurst)

Archant

Walk in Samuel Palmer’s footsteps and enjoy the stunning scenery around Shoreham

The Darent Valley around Shoreham has an incredible past; around 15,00 years ago, after the Romans left the Valley, a group of Jutes made their settlement in the ‘ham at the slope’ – and so Shoreham was named.

Since then it has been a place for people to escape and enjoy the tranquillity and wonderful views on offer. The most famous resident of the past is undoubtedly the artist Samuel Palmer, who dubbed the area as his ‘valley of vision.’

Palmer lived in Shoreham for several years from 1824, moving from London for the sake of his health, and to seek solitude to focus on his art.

He painted many landscapes of, and from, Polhill Bank, including one of Sepham Farm, which still sits at the foot of the reserve.

Yellowhammers flit through the old orchard at the bottom of the reserve (photo: Tom Marshall) Yellowhammers flit through the old orchard at the bottom of the reserve (photo: Tom Marshall)

You can still walk in Palmer’s footsteps, through the valley, and see the sights he so treasured.

While you soak up the stunning views from the top of the bank across the Darent Valley and appreciate the rich array of wildlife on the bank, you too can see why the artist was so inspired by this landscape.

Polhill Bank covers around 40 acres and is home to some of our most treasured flora and fauna. You can see most common species of orchid there, such as the man, pyramidal, bee and fragrant orchid.

The chalk grassland habitat

at Polhill is incredibly species rich and because you can find more than 150 flowering plants here, it is also host to butterflies such as chalkhill blue, brown argus and the spectacular dark green fritillary.

You can also spot cheerful songbird yellowhammers flitting through the old orchard at the bottom of the reserve, as well as other birds such as whitethroat, blackcap and willow warbler.

Shoreham is a great place to visit for the day and you can pop into one of the village’s three pubs or the newly opened Honey Pot Tea Room for a bite to eat after a hearty walk.

You can also walk along the River Darent which flows through Shoreham and see the house Palmer lived in on the river’s banks.

Parking in the village is at Filston Lane car park (TN14 7SP). To access the reserve, when walking from Sepham Farm (TN14 5JT), turn right up Filston Lane and turn left on to footpath across fields to the reserve.

More information

Kent Wildlife Trust is raising £64,100 to extend and restore 40 acres of this treasured natural space. To find out more, and to help give Polhill a future, please visit: kentwildlifetrust.org.uk and donate if you are able to support this cause.

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