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This area was infamous for harbouring smugglers and minor criminals during the small uprising in the 1800s, although the area soon became a small settlement of families benefiting from the timber trade.
The infamous Battle of Boddenden was fought in this wood. The leader John Tom (aka Sir William Courtenay), who is buried in Hernhill churchyard, and his 35-40 followers fought a battle against 100+ soldiers. John Tom killed Lieutenant Henry Boswell Bennett. John Tom and 8 of his followers were then killed. One of his followers, George Branchett is buried in Boughton churchyard. Bennett was buried with full military honours in the grounds of Canterbury Cathedral.
The next section on this walk passes by Denstroude Farm – a previous isolation place for Black Death sufferers in medieval times.The last part of this walk consists of criss-crossing drove-ways or migration routes for swine herds, which characterise most of the North Downs. Farmers would lead their herds to pastures in Romney Marsh or the Wealdway and a subsequent consequence being the creation of “hollow ways” cut down into the chalk over centuries leaving narrow twisting routes.
Reaching the end of this fascinating walk, you will notice two things; one being the size of the woodbanks on either side of the road; a sign that one parish had more wealth than the other. The walk is relatively flat although the Blean is on heavy clay so can get wet and muddy.
The Blean – ancient woodland that captivates the history and beauty in all its glory
Close to Canterbury is an enchanting and historic place to discover, known as the Blean.For a thousand years, the Blean has remained one of the largest and most distinctive areas of ancient woodland in the South East, covering over 3,000 hectares or 11 square miles.
The expansive woodland is well recognised nationally and internationally as being an important wildlife site and many rare species successfully thrive throughout the area.There are four circular walks that we would highly recommend visiting which offer glimpses of history, beauty and nature at its best.