Thursday, 17 May 2012

Windmills of my mind

One of the local landmarks is Ripple Mill.  No longer a working mill, nor even a museum, it's now a private residence, but when I heard a walk was planned to go up to the mill and beyond, I was keen to join in.  I've often seen it from a long way off, always a long way off and inaccessible.

This was the first sight of it this morning, right on the horizon.  Click on the picture to see a larger view if you don't believe me.

We walked right across all those fields and a main road to get there.

Beautifully kept and well shielded from curious passers by.  I thought I might be able to get a better picture from the other side but no.  The next thing I knew I was shoulder deep in rapeseed.

Either I used to be taller, or rapeseed has evolved into giant rapeseed.  This is a crop known as Canola in Canada, the name derived from from CAnadian LOw Acid, according to some, to protect Canadian sensitivities.  But also because it was developed in Canada from a fuel into a product fit for human consumption.  It had been used as a fuel in ancient times and still can be used for bio-diesel.  The "rape" in rapeseed comes from the Latin "rapum" meaning turnip.  I went on a walk and came back with trivia.

I don't like rapeseed in the fields.  It's an unnatural colour in this country but it seems to be everywhere.  This is the year of rapeseed.

We crossed the railway line, twice in fact, so I suspect we were walking in circles.

Lines of steel gave way to lines of new crops...

I suspect this is a very British thing, to have trees growing in the middle of your crops.  Is there a tumulus hidden under them?  I couldn't walk across all the newly sprouted cop to find out.

A village and its church.  We passed it by unfortunately. I believe there is a very good pub there but the leader didn't break stride.

Though I didn't realise it at the time, this was the gem of the walk.  It looked like an interesting old church with an interesting old graveyard and I would have like to have nosed around but it was, "Keep up at the back there", so I marked it down for a return visit.  Maybe not through the fields.

It turns out to be named the Blessed Mary of Walmer, built 1120.  It used to be the private chapel of the adjacent manor house, now in ruins. Although it is no longer Walmer Parish Church, it is still in regular use.  "Bring a torch and wrap up warm in winter..."

The bell is inscribed " joseph hatch made me 1635".  In the churchyard there are several yew trees, one of which is said to be 1300 years old.  Altogether, worth another visit.

After that it was downhill all the way home, literally, just pausing long enough to greet the sheep in the field next to Walmer Castle.


  1. You lucky girl! Blue skies and a hurrying team leader! I have never been that keen on windmills myself, aged though they be. Rapeseed is a big seller today, last time I flew you could see yellow fields all over the land. The fields thus planted here don't seem as tall as yours however. It's possible the trees once were a border of a field, today farmers like large fields don't they? The church is well worth a look, interesting stones standing there. What a good tour that was. Just like being there, without the desire to stop at the pub obviously.....

  2. Beautiful photographs, fantastic views. I am greeting

  3. I'll admit I didn't know Granola was really rapeseed. Boy, it sure DOES look like tunips, doesn't it? I've heard that Canadians carve rapeseed - WHOOPS! - I mean cranolies - for Boxing Day. You don't have to bother looking that up.

    The church was stunning. I didn't expect that. Would love a picture of that bell next time.


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