Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Hillyfields Walkabout

I was determined to go for a walkabout to and around Hillyfields Country Park in Gillingham today – and despite a series of obstacles, I actually managed to achieve this.

First, I was held up by a series of tweet to-ing and fro-ing with Medway Labour's Tristan Osborne regarding my previous-but-one post here.

Then, the 'bus I was on made a poor turn at the hospital turn-off from Rock Avenue and scuppered its suspension. After limping along (and juddering over rough bits) as far as St Mark's Church, the driver realised he had a real problem and that was the end of that. The vehicle was left there for at least two hours.

As I looked up when exiting the 'bus, I saw that the sky was much more 'dodgy' weather-wise than even the most recent forecast for the area had indicated, just a few hours earlier.

It was beginning to look as though my planned trip out was jinxed...


Yes, it is what I call a "Puff-Pack" after its licence number – in this case, it was Puff-Pack 272. Poor old thing! It's a hard worker too: I have frequently seen this particular vehicle in operation...

UPDATE 15 September: it is now back in operation, as I witnessed on Chatham Hill this afternoon.

Anyway, instead of my original plan to approach Hillyfields Country Park from the stop at the northern end of Richmond Road and walking around the corner to (and up) Rosebery Road, a hastily-devised Plan B took me along Gillingham High Street to a series of back streets (James Street, Jeffery St, Gardiner St, Saunders St and Victoria St) to Burnt Oak Terrace and along to Parr Avenue where the entrance I sought to the park was situated...


I found the park interesting: not so much its ground-level playing field...


...but certainly the elevated orchard, up these 42 steps (these are just the top few, and a view looking back down from the top)...






There's a good panoramic river view from up there, as this guide shows...






Now, what's in those woodlands back there...




Well, there was quite a lot, actually, including a fair amount of litter, I noticed. At least I was able to avoid most of it in the photograph above.

After exhausting all the little ways that were passable 'up top', I came back down the steps and headed south, toward the entrance at Greenfield Road. This is accessed via another set of steps, and has a poetical inscription set into the paving at their summit...




After exiting the park and wandering more back streets (Railway Street, crossing the road at Gillingham Station and taking the footpath to the south of the railway line) I ended up at Balmoral Gardens Community Healthy Living Centre, tucked away from general public/street view yet spectacularly visible once one came upon it...






That was quite a serendipitous find for me, so with yet another back street trek (Randolph Road, Gorst Street and Trafalgar Street) I found myself in Canterbury Street so decided to catch the 'bus back home. It had been an interesting enough trip out – and I was intrigued to find my 'incoming' 'bus still there where I had disembarked a couple of hours earlier – so I took that photo of it as shown at the top of this post!

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