30 years on… #walking


29 actually. In October 1987 southern England was struck by a hurricane. A Thursday night of carnage. One woman went outside fearing for her new VW and determined to put it safely in her garage. As she let up the door, one of those tip up jonnies, the wind gusted past her and lifted the roof off its fittings. That removed the structural security and the walls collapsed followed immediately by the now unsupported roof. She was left holding the door with nowhere for her VW and a large building bill.



I was in Peru as it happened, unaware of the devastation but when we returned the loss of mature trees, the oaks and beeches was hard to take. In places the freak way wind twists, tornado-like meant long established trees were plucked from the middle of woods. It was tragic. And in the acres across Sussex and Kent the damage was awful. Sevenoaks became Oneoak, Chanctonbury Ring became Chanctonbury Stumps.


That was then. Dog and I and a friend, the Lay Trustee headed for Knowle Park, a rather glorious National Trust property just outside Sevenoaks (they kept the name and replanted the trees). Our autumn colours may to be as spectacular as in New England but they are still rather splendid so a walk did seem like a plan.


And what was really noticeable was the way the trees that weren’t uprooted have thrived in the more open environment while new trees are beginning to fill the gaps.


We wandered east along the Greensand way and then, reaching Ightham Moat we circled back along the valley for a late lunch.


You can’t beat Sussex for this sort of escarpment stroll in the autumn mists. Especially when there are deer a plenty to capture on film.



Sadly our pub lunch was disrupted by the local Hunt descending just before we arrived meaning the queue for food was too long by where there is a National Trust house a cafe is not far behind.


We were replete and suitably tired: perfect preparation for the theatre that evening.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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35 Responses to 30 years on… #walking

  1. Simon says:

    I remember the devastation where I was on the south coast. Even now there are fallen tress that have been left to rot. I also remember the dozens of beached boats on the shoreline, picked up and dumped wherever the wind wanted. It was incredible the damage that was done.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember that. Living in Beds at the time so I immediately confused Greensand Way with Greensand Ridge Walk. Would that have been one of those nice, legal, hunting without dogs hunts, or the illegal type that Leadsom and the Tories wish to bring back? Unlike more than 80 per cent of the British populace?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Phil Taylor says:

    It’s funny, in the States we hear nothing on our news about hurricanes anywhere but our own country. Does England get hurricanes very often?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on depressionwordpresscomblog and commented:
    I remember it well. The whole landscape changed and we were surrounded by fallen trees and new lakes for weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. trifflepudling says:

    The only time we went to Knowle, it was shut! A visit remains an ambition. The colours in this direction have changed dramatically in the past few days and are pretty stunning now. The change has taken its time, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. willowdot21 says:

    Sounds like a lovely day! I remember the storm! Husband was working in Belfast, children thought the storm was great. Lost ridge tiles off the roof, no one hurt so we did well!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Bun Karyudo says:

    It must have been terrible to lose all those trees, but if the photographs are any guide, the surrounding area still looks beautiful. I guess it won’t be long (in tree years) before the replacement trees have grown to such an extent, the damage is no longer detectable.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mother Nature is nasty when she’s angry. I fear her devastation. Awful the wreck She sometimes leaves behind. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. jan says:

    Sounds like a lovely day. I was in southern England a few years ago – loved it.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Gosh, memory lane!! I arrived in Kent just after that storm and huge trees lay about all over the place with their roots pointing heavenwards and providing hours of entertainment for adventurous kids clambering through said roots and boughs. They mostly slowly disappeared in the following years, but one remained in my vicinity as a kind of odd memorial.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I was living in Earls Court at the time. That night I was working behind the bar in a nightclub. Remember it being very difficult trying to get home (about 300 yards up the road). The next morning I woke and walked to work (Selfridges), only to find the store closed and told to go back home. Spent the day in the pub! 😃

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I slept right through it in Furzedown, ran nine miles to work, as I did in those days, and wondered why there was no-one else there 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Jools says:

    Amazingly, I slept through it. In the morning, my garden fence had taken a solid hit, end to end. Luckily, that was the worst of it from a personal perspective. But I well remember the acres of flattened trees.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I didn’t realize that England could be threatened by hurricanes – it must be like New York, a pretty rare thing. Looks like you had a lovely walk though!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Sacha Black says:

    Amazing deer shots Geoff ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  16. restlessjo says:

    For once the north east was the right place to be! Thanks for the reminder, Geoff 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : The Masmorra Trail | restlessjo

  18. simonjkyte says:

    I wasn’t living in the area at the time but I remember that night – all the windows blew out the greenhouse

    Liked by 1 person

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